Interning at Red Hat has been one of the most challenging summers of my life, but it's been well worth it. Being an engineering intern working on Red Hat OpenShift's GitOps workflow has forced me to grow and learn more than ever before.
My internship position on March 4th. A very short time later, COVID-19 caused companies to cancel their internships all over the United States. Thankfully, Red Hat announced that internships would go on in a virtual format.The Early Talent team made the necessary arrangements to make sure that our experience was impacted as little as possible by this change.
Prior to starting this internship I felt nervous about many things; the biggest worry was that I wasn’t sure if I was prepared for the internship after only having a three-month software engineering bootcamp as my background. I had many other worries too, including if I would work well with my new team and if I would have enough networking opportunities from a virtual experience. However, before I started my internship, my team made me feel so supported and welcomed and gave me the tools needed to prepare beforehand to feel more confident.
Now, after spending three months as a virtual intern, I’m happy to say that the fears I had initially subsided very soon after starting. The Early Talent team at Red Hat made sure that we were given ample opportunities to network, especially with other interns, through happy hours, games, Trivia Thursdays and challenges throughout the summer.
We won’t know what it would have been like had the internship been in person, but given the constraints of a virtual internship, Red Hat did everything in their power to make sure we were given the best experience possible.
What I've Learned
Interning at Red Hat taught me some important life lessons:
Stay engaged as much as you can. Doing my best to try to follow along in technically advanced situations helped me learn more and demonstrated that I was interested and committed to learning. My go-to technique for staying engaged during meetings where new information is being presented is to open up a Word document or my notebook and just jot down whatever notes I can - this will usually help me understand smaller pieces of a conversation that I can use later on to build a bigger picture. As a visual learner, being able to record meetings and then go back afterwards to take better notes on the conversations also proved to be extremely helpful for me.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. This applies to asking for help as well as persevering through learning even when you feel like you’re in over your head. This also meant finding confidence talking about new concepts to my team and stakeholders, and making sure the time I was asking from colleagues was valuable to everyone. I’m still working on getting more comfortable with both of these things; it’s certainly hard but so worth the effort.
You can do more than you think you can do. At the beginning of the summer, I didn’t know in what ways I would be able to contribute. But at the end of three months, I’ve contributed much more than I thought I would. I never would have thought that I would be one of the primary developers behind an entirely new import flow on the OpenShift web console, or that I would be speaking at sprint reviews about my work in front of more than 100 stakeholders. I’m so proud of what I’ve been able to learn and accomplish so far at Red Hat.
Fail Fast and Implement More. At some point everyone will fail, it’s inevitable. But if you can minimize the time you take failing and can have a faster turnaround time to pivot, then you’re in a much better place than if you spent all your time planning for “what-ifs.” And while planning is certainly important, it’s vital to planning to know what you’re getting into - which you may not know until you can get into actually implementing it. Red Hat also gave me an environment that made me feel comfortable with the potential of failing, which helped me get over my fears and try out new things.
Throughout the entire company, I feel like everyone embraces attitudes of openness, inclusion, honesty, and commitment, and has a passion for helping others. No one ever made me feel like I didn’t belong here or wasn’t capable of achieving my goals.
This has made me so grateful for this time that I’ve had at Red Hat so far, and I’m SO happy to say that my time here as an intern has been extended until December! I know that Red Hat will continue to prioritize my growth, value me as an individual and challenge me to be a better software engineer. If you are ever thinking of becoming a Red Hatter or are given the opportunity to be one, I hope you take it!