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Red Hat's Products and Technologies organization is doing game-changing work in the IT industry, so we're taking a closer look at some of the talented Red Hatters from around the world who are enabling our continued evolution. In showcasing their unique stories, it's clear that there's no one path to finding success as a Red Hatter. For each of us, it's about open collaboration and building something together.
"It didn't happen accidentally," Priyanka Nag, Associate Manager, Technical Support, says when asked how she came to work at Red Hat. "I got to meet a lot of Red Hatters in college. They'd come in to help facilitate hackathons or technology festivals, those types of events. I met a few Red Hatters and was really impressed by how innovative and creative they were.
"They were all smart and very passionate about the work they were doing. Not just engaged, but eager to talk about it," Nag says. "I just felt that I'd found what I wanted to do and the kind of people that I wanted to work with. After that, my heart was set on Red Hat, and I'm so lucky that I've been able to be a part of this nerdy, creative, passionate group of people."
Nag's open source journey began in college. "I started working with different open source communities during my third year. My first exposure was a course on operating systems where we were introduced to Linux. Since then, I've volunteered with the Mozilla community for about eight years now. I've worked with the Drupal community a bit. And I interned at the Wikimedia Foundation. Even before Red Hat, open source was a big part of my life."
Nag brought her wealth of open source experience with her when she joined Red Hat in 2015, as a technical writer. "I was in that role for four years, and I really enjoyed it. But I found myself pulled in a couple of different directions. I realized a drive within myself to take on a leadership role. And I wanted an opportunity to work more closely with customers. I just love working with people. I enjoyed writing, but I soon found that I was much more engaged by the pull toward other types of work."
Finding her path
As any Red Hatter can tell you, sometimes the best course is to ask for help. "I talked to my manager about what I was feeling and the path I wanted my career to take," Nag says. "And it was amazing how he really coached me from that point to where I wanted to go. My manager helped me identify what these interests could really mean for my career and how I could best take advantage of them. He literally laid down the path for me. He told me exactly what I should try to do and who I should meet with. He helped me make that transition."
"Unfortunately, there wasn't a team lead type position available on that team, but my manager gave me the opportunity to learn those skills regardless. I became a de facto lead within the team on certain projects. My manager gave me the freedom to drive a lot of things within that team. I got to learn a lot about leadership, even without the title."
Nag eventually found what she was looking for in her role. "I'm now an associate manager on the Support Delivery team in Pune, India. I lead a team of nine, and all we do is solve problems for Red Hat's customers. I've been able to satisfy both my inclination for leadership and my desire to work more closely with people.
"When a customer comes to Red Hat support, they expect to have the best engineers helping them solve business-critical problems. Sometimes this can be challenging, but it's also really exciting. We're seeing new things all the time. Often the problems we're solving for customers have never been seen before. We're innovating in new ways.
"And Red Hat as an organization is moving into exciting new areas like the automotive industry or real-time machine learning. It all feels like the future, and I'm super excited to be a part of it. There's going to be a big need for new talent and new ideas as Red Hat explores new ways to serve our customers."
Making a difference
Nag's drive to work closely with customers gives her a unique perspective on the impact of her work. "It's very evident during a time of crisis, like the one we've experienced with COVID-19," she says. "We have a lot of customers in the healthcare industry that Red Hat serves. And we realize each time we solve a problem for one of these customers, we're helping hospitals care for patients. It's really rewarding.
"For Red Hatters, there's no shortage of ways to make a difference. Red Hat gives us the freedom to do what we really want to do, so there isn't the need to look outside the company for new opportunities. There's such a wide spectrum of ways to contribute within Red Hat. It's like a buffet where you can have whatever you want."
Anything and everything
That motivation to find her own way can be seen in a hobby that Nag recently returned to. "Painting was something I did as a kid, but I haven't had much time for it since I finished school. I've found myself coming back to it during the pandemic, and it's really helped me. There's no specific genre of art that I'm trying for. I paint anything and everything. Every time I pick up my brushes, it puts my mind in a different mode, and it's really relaxing. For someone like me who loves being around people, the isolation of the past year has been difficult at times, but like my career at Red Hat, I've been able to find my own way to navigate it."
What paths could you explore in Red Hat's open organization? Join us to find out.
About the author
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.