Life at Expedia Group Blog
Early Careers: The Apprenticeship Program with Tuyet Le
“The inclusive and supportive culture that EG cultivates has made it easy for me to collaborate, share ideas and connect with my EG peers within and outside my team.” We had a blast catching up with Tuyet to get some great in-depth knowledge of what the Apprenticeship Program at Expedia Group had to offer for her career journey.
I joined Expedia Group on their DevOps Apprenticeship Program in London during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Having felt quite stagnant in life leading up to this point, the opportunity to switch careers at the world’s biggest travel company was exciting! With a love for technology and coding combined with my obsession to travel, this opportunity was a dream come true. Almost two years on, I’ve now officially passed my apprenticeship and been promoted into a permanent position as a Software Development Engineer I with the Site Reliability Operations Automation team.
This quote by Tony Robbins was the key that ignited a fire in me to make the career switch and continues to encourage me today to keep learning and growing as a new engineer.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
Tell us about your team
I work with the Site Reliability Operations Automation (SROA) team, which is part of REO (Reliability, Engineering and Operations) of the DP&I (Development, Platform and Infrastructure) division – we love acronyms here! We’re a diverse bunch with some of us working from India, Australia, the US, and UK. My team’s overall philosophy is to develop products and automate complex and repetitive tasks to improve the NOC team’s efficiency in resolving and responding to outages at Expedia Group. We’re primarily a development team but also assist in the operations side of things.
My apprenticeship experience
After completing the initial bootcamp training courses in Software Development and DevOps by Makers, it was time to start my year long placement! I was warmly welcomed by my new EG team and the company despite everything at the time being over Zoom. I spent my first month learning about what my team does to improve reliability and resiliency concerns, learning about my REO organisation and its products, how we fit within REO and how our products impact the Incident Management (or NOC) team, who are our main customers. I was lucky enough to do a 2-week rotation with NOC where I got to do work shadowing with NOC engineers to get a deep-dive in how different types of outages are handled at the company and the various tools they use to fix incidents effectively. It was cool to see the NOC-Bot Slack chatbot being used, a tool that my team built specifically for NOC to automate their common operational tasks, such as being able to quickly create a conference bridge by typing in a simple slack command “.incbegin”. The rotation gave me invaluable insight on the bigger picture of why my team does what they do and made me excited to get stuck in!
I’m grateful to my team who have from the start always given me options for exciting projects that I could work on with huge room for growth and visibility. For my apprenticeship, I decided to join the Production Readiness workstream as it sounded the most exciting and was the team’s biggest initiative! Production Readiness is part of the EG common developer toolkit. It’s a framework of checks built by my team that assesses an application’s ability to be supported by NOC should there be a failure with it in the production environment. It does this by scoring an application out of 100% — an app with a score of 100% is considered “production ready” and can be supported from a front-line perspective.
I’ve since delivered two big projects within the Production Readiness workstream, each with its own Jira epic that I managed. The first project involved creating a long-term data storage solution to store the Production Readiness data and building data visualisation of the data stored. This required building a new Kafka stream infrastructure for the Production Readiness framework to programmatically send its data into EG’s centralised data lake via the stream, coding a Kafka producer within the existing framework, designing database schemas, and using Tableau to build reports to give stakeholders visibility on how their teams is doing in improving their Production Readiness scores. For the second project, I developed a new microservice that signals to the Production Readiness framework as to whether an application is currently in a test or production environment via an API. With the visibility into an application’s current environment, this helped Production Readiness achieve its main objective to provide tailored support to help applications still in development be operationally ready for production from the get-go, and reduce the possibility of customer incidents and impact as much as possible.
I’m thrilled that my team trusted me to deliver these projects that would have otherwise been assigned to a senior engineer. My apprenticeship experience has not only helped me grow my technical skills tremendously, but also on an interpersonal level. I’ve had to push any feelings of imposter syndrome to one side and confidently present my ideas and solutions to a wide range of teams and seniors within my department who know more than I do – all of which has helped me become a better engineer.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Expedia Group?
As an introverted person, the inclusive and supportive culture that EG cultivates has made it easy for me to collaborate, share ideas and connect with my EG peers within and outside my team. One example of this was finding a senior engineer to be my mentor (from Italy!) via the EG Mentoring Program who I connected with monthly. Finding out about the mentorship program was one of my favourite things about EG as I was able to get additional support from someone technically more experienced but also with years of experience working at EG as I was still finding my stride at the company. My other favourite things are the people and the super nice London office – I’ve met some awesome people and I continue to do so as we’ve switched back to returning to the office!
What technologies/tools do you work with?
The main technologies I use are:
- Python (for development)
- PyCharm (my current favourite IDE)
- GitHub (version control)
- GitHub Actions and Spinnaker (CI/CD)
- AWS (main cloud provider)
- Kubernetes (automates, scales, and manages the deployment of containerised apps)
- Docker (to manage my containerised applications)
- Splunk (a log-based observability tool)
- Datadog (a metrics-based observability tool to monitor the health of my services)
- Kafka (creating streams)
- Tableau (data visualisation)
- Jira (to manage my tickets and epics)
- Slack (main communication tool)
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my journey going from having no real technical experience in 2020 to now having a qualified DevOps IT qualification under my belt and a full-time software engineering position. I’ve proven to myself that with dedication and hard work to learn that I can achieve anything I want to!
What is your favourite piece of career advice?
For someone who knew nothing about DevOps and only the basics of programming before applying for the apprenticeship, I would recommend anyone considering switching careers to do it and apply! It’s the best decision that I’ve ever made for my life where I now finally enjoy my career and the work that I do. Some advice I would give if you’re considering a career as a software engineer:
- Apprenticeships are an excellent gateway into the industry to get professional training and learn on the job.
- Be patient when you’re learning to code or a new technology. It takes time and practice!
- Put yourself out there and join tech communities. There’s loads out there that hold free coding workshops and conferences where you can connect with like-minded people also interested in getting into the field. That’s actually how I heard about the apprenticeship with Expedia Group!
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