A day in the life of a Data Engineering Developer featuring Surbhi Verma at Auto Trader UK

I am a developer in the Data Engineering squad in AutoTrader UK and have been part of this wonderful team for the past six months.

As data engineers, we provide automotive data to Data Scientists and Data Analysts. We are passionate about data-related tech and utilise cloud technologies to play with data.

I start each working day at 6am. I cook lunch for myself and my husband, say my prayers and leave for the office at around 8.30am. I travel to office in Manchester via tram. During the 45 minutes-long journey, I usually read a newspaper or chat to my parents on my mobile. Fortunately, Auto Trader has flexible working hours, so if for any reason I need to start later than usual, I can finish later, and vice versa.

My typical working day starts at 9.30am. On reaching the office, I skim through my emails and at 10am we have our daily team meeting. Here, we usually discuss tasks assigned to different team members and what needs to be prioritised for the day. Moreover, it’s a good time to discuss if someone is facing any challenges in their work.

At Auto Trader, we follow a ‘pair-programming’ concept. In pair-programming, we pair with different people within the team, which helps us to learn from people of different backgrounds and experiences. I’ll spend the morning working with my partner on a particular project.

You might have heard of the phrase: ‘the team that eats together, stays together’. At around 12.15pm, the entire team goes for lunch and we chit chat about random topics. I look forward to Fridays, not only because of the upcoming weekend but also because each Friday, we hold tech talks in the company where speakers from different backgrounds come and present their ideas, insights and inspiring stories. Additionally, on Fridays, I dedicate 10 per cent of my working day to enhancing my own knowledge and skills by reading books or articles. Auto Trader has a very supportive culture in terms of career growth and learning. If I am stuck somewhere either in my day-to-day work or understanding any topic, the team is readily available to help.

Auto Trader cares deeply about career growth and bringing people into the industry from all different backgrounds, to create a diverse working culture. Each year, we get two paid-leave days specifically for volunteering. As part of this, I am proud to be a STEM ambassador and on one occasion, I inspired Year 9 students to take up STEM subjects.

Every day I learn something new and that’s why I enjoy my work. I leave office at around 5.30pm in the evening. To stay fit, I spend around 1 hour in gym 2-3 times a week. I reach home at 7pm, then I cook dinner with my husband. At around 10.30pm, I go to sleep.

I moved to the UK in April last year. After coming here, I realised I had so much freedom to do as I wished. So, I stepped into unchartered territory of pursuing and learning data-related technology. A Data Engineer role inspired me to the core. Before Auto Trader, I worked with some multinational companies in the tech sector, but I had only dreamt of data engineering. I decided to challenge my comfort zone and started meeting people who were either working in tech or aspiring to work in tech. I acquired the technical skills that are required for Data Engineer roles. I participated in Hackathons and won first prize in one of them which boosted my confidence levels no end. LinkedIn helped me to network with women who are role models. I took a cue from these inspiring women to move forward in my career. Hard work paid off and I got selected to work for Auto Trader. As they say, the journey is very important and it has been a wonderful experience so far. I feel proud to be a part of Auto Trader.

Finally, my two cents to people who aspire to work in tech roles. It doesn’t matter which field you are from; it all boils down to having a keen interest in data and be comfortable in learning new technologies and tools. In my role, I work on a range of technologies such as Scala, Python, Sql, Airflow, Google Cloud etc. Every day, I learn something new about these technologies and tools. It’s so important that you understand the importance of teamwork, communication and collaboration as well. Good luck in all your endeavours.

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