From Academy to ASOSer: the journey
Three months of being an ASOSer… 😀 We caught up with Sarah, Andrew and Emma from our Northern Ireland Belfast office, to hear more about their recent experience of the ASOS Data Academy, in partnership with the Department for the Economy NI and Invest Northern Ireland.
Let’s meet them…👇🏽
Emma M: Associate Platform Engineer
Andrew E: Associate Engineer
Sarah M: Associate Platform Engineer
- Tell us a bit about your background, what were you doing before joining ASOS?
Andrew: Before I completed the ASOS Data Academy earlier this year, I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics (certainly not related to computer science or software development!). I worked in various roles after graduating, but when I saw that ASOS was coming to Belfast and that the academy was an opportunity to join ASOS without a previous IT background, I jumped at the chance to apply and I was very grateful to get a place!
Sarah: I have a pretty mixed bag of experience. I completed my undergrad in Marketing and worked in sales and marketing roles for around six years. In 2020, I was due to start a new role, but my contract was withdrawn a few days before my start date due to Covid. It was then that I decided to go back to university and do a Master’s in Software Development — something I had considered for a while and was finally brave enough to do!
Emma: After graduating with a degree in French and Spanish, I initially trained as a language teacher before working as a travel agent and eventually deciding on a career change into technology — it’s always been a hobby! Before joining ASOS, I was working as a French and Spanish translator for the Surveillance in the banking sector, while completing a conversion MSc in Software Development. I was delighted when the opportunity to apply for the ASOS Data Academy came up!
2. What made you apply for the ASOS Data Academy?
Sarah: Firstly, I am obsessed with ASOS. It was the first online order I ever placed! I’ve also always had an interest in tech, from studying ICT at A-Level, working closely with technical teams during my time working in marketing, and more recently during my Master’s.
Andrew: I felt it would be an incredible opportunity to gain experience and begin my career in the software development and data engineering industry. I’d heard great things from a friend who previously participated in another Assured Skills Academy so I knew first hand how successful the academies were. I was so excited to hear that ASOS was coming to Belfast and when I read about the Data Academy, I applied right away. It’s a real statement of confidence in Belfast that ASOS decided to set up an office here and I really wanted to be a part of it. And lastly, of course, I’m a huge fan of ASOS and have been a customer for years!
Emma: I applied for the ASOS Data Academy for many reasons. I’ve been an avid customer for years and the idea of possibly working for the company was really exciting. I also think it’s incredible that ASOS have invested in Belfast given the tech scene is really growing and flourishing here. The Data Academy course plan detailed exactly the areas that I hoped to work in when I graduated from my MSc, so it was a great opportunity for me to apply and be able to interview with ASOS at the end.
3. What was your favourite aspect of the academy?
Emma: My favourite part of the academy was meeting all the other people on the course. Everyone was so helpful and supportive of each other and the ASOSers were always on hand when we had questions or needed advice. It’s not often you do a course with people who you form great bonds with and then have the opportunity to work together when it’s over. This was such a memorable experience and has made for a lovely working environment.
Sarah: It sounds cliché, but my fellow cohort. I got to make friends with people from so many different backgrounds that I would never have otherwise met. We all brought something different to the table and were able to learn so much from each other.
Andrew: There were loads of great aspects to the Data Academy! It personally exposed me to coding and working practices that I’d never seen before or certainly had any formal training in. It opened my eyes to the importance of data and how it’s really key to how successful modern businesses operate. We had networking lunches every week with people in different roles within ASOS which presented an ideal opportunity to ask questions and learn more about other areas of the company. The Data Academy showed me you can break into the IT industry without a formal background in computer science. Lastly, I’ve made so many new friends which has made work even more enjoyable!
4. What’s it like working in Tech at ASOS?
Andrew: No two days are ever are the same! There is always something happening, be that working on tickets, shadowing senior colleagues, training or getting involved in the many social events at ASOS. You get a real sense that ASOS are committed to their people and will always help you to grow and develop.
Emma: ASOS is an amazing company to work for and the Tech department is a really exciting environment to be a part of. The support is incredible, and everyone is so approachable and available to offer advice and answer any questions. It’s a busy department, with a lot going on within all the teams and this makes it the perfect place to learn. There are also plenty of opportunities to gain new skills and get involved in interesting projects and that’s something that’s very important to me.
Sarah: Busy, busy! There’s always something going on, whether it’s working on tickets, getting involved with the Women in Tech community, training, our monthly learning and development initiative called Tech Develops, or even taking part in an ASOS NI Showcase to demonstrate what I’ve been working on — every day is different.
5. Three months in, what most excites you about your future career?
Emma: I have settled into the team I joined really quickly and already feel like I’m adding value to the projects I’m involved in. I’m excited to further build my skillset, learning alongside my colleagues from the Data Academy. I also can’t wait to learn and train in new areas that I’ve always had an interest in — working for ASOS has presented me with the opportunity to make this happen!
Sarah: I love working for ASOS because I can honestly say that everyone I work with encourages and helps me to grow and improve my skillset. I’m looking forward to providing that support to other team members.
Being creative is important to me — I like coming up with new ways of doing things. I’ve already been able to add new ideas within my team and the wider NI tech hub. I was recently encouraged to follow my passion and start up a charity committee, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with more activities!
Andrew: In the immediate future, I’m really excited to see ASOS grow and expand its operations in Northern Ireland. Belfast is becoming a real tech hub and ASOS is going to be at the forefront of that. I’m really looking forward to working with new teams on new tech, continue my personal development and training and share in the successes that ASOS will have here going forward!
If this sounds like something that interests you, applications for our third Assured Skills Academy are open until Friday 10th June 2022. If you’re looking for an opportunity to break into a career in software engineering and benefit from cutting edge training in areas such as Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft Logic Apps, SQL and Programming Fundamentals, you can find out more and apply here!