I’m Alice Goldfuss, a Senior SRE/Infra/Systems engineer with years of experience working on high-throughput platforms at scale. I’ve been part of the larger tech community since 2015, and have driven industry-wide conversations around infrastructure design, incident response, on-call rotations, and team workflows. I’m a big believer in building tech that serves real user needs without burning out the engineers creating it.

With the spread of COVID-19, many tech companies are sending employees home to work remotely. As someone who has worked remotely for multiple companies, in different setups, I wanted to offer some assurances and tips for maintaining your mental health while adjusting to this new life.

This is a long post, but I hope it brings you some amount of comfort and support in the days ahead.

This will be a long post, because it was a long year.

I’m a very organized person. I know this because I love lists.

I write lists everywhere. In my notebook, in my Notes app, on empty envelopes, receipts, paper bags. As a kid I would write them on my wrists (my mother hated that). Periodically I compile the lists together, figure out which items to do first, and scribble them out when complete. And I know the system is working because everything gets done, mostly, eventually, at some point.

It doesn’t work very well.

I’ve been giving talks and ranting in tweets for several years now, and the same question crops up again and again: “How do I get into SRE? How do I get there from here?”

My answer is usually rambling and long. So long, that sometimes I don’t even write back. There is simply too much to say! Too much history. Too much context. Too many factors for each person’s individual situation.

So, here it is. My formal ramblings on how to get into SRE: what I think it is, how I got there, how you can get there, and how to do it. This post is a guide and meant for bookmarking, referencing, and sharing. It provides insights that you can map to your specific situation to get you started on your specific path.

I hope you find this useful in your journey.