Oliver started to work in Red Hat in January 2020. In an interview, he describes his onboarding process alongside some tips and tricks about how to get started more quickly in Red Hat.
Oliver comes from Slovakia, and he graduated from the University of Technology in Brno. In programming school projects, he assumed the role of organiser in the teams. One of his internships was in Microsoft where he worked in C# on the backend.
One of Oliver’s most interesting hobbies is Live Action Role Playing (LARPing). The group which Oliver LARPs with owns a small, abandoned city in the middle of the Czech Republic.
The first contact with Red Hat
Oliver came into contact with Red Hat associates in January at the big ball organised by Red Hat. Oliver’s girlfriend was working in Red Hat as an intern, and Oliver went with her to the New Year’s party. Seeing the community at the ball gave him the push to apply for a job at Red Hat.
He applied for multiple positions in Red Hat and got hired as a Quality Engineer. The team he got into had a new project. Oliver started working on this project alone. He was able to set up the working environment quickly with the help of his team. It may have been his first professional work in Python but he knows how to communicate with people. He believes that soft skills are more important than technical skills.
Oliver already knew a few people in the office when he started working. However, all of his team members are working remotely. He worked previously with remote co-workers, but not from different time zones. “It is about managing your time,” he said. He meets with co-workers from India in the morning and with Americans in the afternoon. After six months he is still struggling with the time zone differences.
First impressions of Red Hat
Oliver, like every new associate, went through the onboarding process in Red Hat. This process consists of reading various documents and attending a New hire orientation event in Munich which every new employee must attend. This event and also reading various documents helped him to understand the company’s goals. For understanding individual products, he recommended tutorial videos and presentations created for end-users. These tutorials and presentations can often be found in the onboarding documents.
To stay up to date with the events in Red Hat, Oliver reads emails from various emailing lists. He is subscribed to the company-wide announcements, the local office list, the regional organization list, and the memo list, which is a global chat list. He is also subscribed to some lists which are connected to his professional interest.
He highlighted the transparency and openness in Red Hat. He also likes the cooperation inside Red Hat. As he explains, “In many places, a Quality Engineer has to approve a piece of code before it can be merged. In Red Hat, the developers and Quality Engineers cooperate. They have the same goal: to deliver the best possible product.”
Oliver also likes how much Red Hat supports open source projects. He wanted to put his feet on the ground and help in the global pandemic situation. He found a team called Team19. They are working on a contact tracing application. (You can check it out here: https://pathcheck.org/.) Oliver spoke with his manager, and he is now dedicating four hours a day from his work time to this project. He hopes he can make an impact, even if it’s just a small one.
Working from home
Oliver started working in Red Hat just in time to be able to attend the event in Munich without issue, but not in time to enjoy the office too much. With the start of the pandemic, with few exceptions, all the Red Hat associates are working from home.
Oliver says that he likes to be in the office. When he works from home, he finds it harder to focus on the task at hand. Communication with his teammates remained mostly unaffected. They are located in India and the United States, so they communicate online, as always.
He says being in the office and talking on a daily basis with other Red Hat associates face to face gives him a feeling of being part of Red Hat, even if the people in the office are not on the same team as him.
The onboarding process is really helpful, especially the event in Munich. Unfortunately, interns are not invited. What everybody can do is to look up videos and tutorials on products and to subscribe to some of the emailing lists and read the emails. Understanding everything at once is impossible, but step-by-step solutions are helpful, as seen in Oliver’s example.