Red Hat's Products and Technologies organization is doing game-changing work in the IT industry. In showcasing the unique stories of Red Hatters around the world, it's clear that there's no one path to finding success at Red Hat. For each of us, it's about open collaboration and building something together.
"I came in hungry. I was very eager to become a people manager." Kate Carcia knew the path she wanted to take earlier in her career, but walking it wasn’t always easy. "I started out as a software engineer. Before coming to Red Hat, I was actually told that I wouldn’t be able to take on a management role until I had done that for at least 10 years."
Outside Red Hat, Carcia was discouraged from pursuing a management track. "I was even told I was too aggressive for pursuing leadership so early in my career. But I see engineering and people management as different career paths. Why should I wait to do what I really want to do?"
At Red Hat, Carcia has found the answer to that question: She shouldn’t. "I joined Red Hat in 2017. Within a year I was on a path towards leadership, from software engineering to project manager to team lead, and now I’m an associate manager of a team working in core kernel engineering within Red Hat’s Products and Technologies (PnT) organization."
Unique opportunities for unique individuals
"I really wanted to be part of a company where I’d still be able to use my technical skills, but apply that knowledge to working with others," Carcia says. "I was drawn to Red Hat because I heard you have the opportunity here to really own your work. It seemed like the best opportunity to grow my career in the direction I wanted it to go."
When asked how she feels about being part of Red Hat now, Carcia lights up. "I really appreciate that Red Hat has given me growth opportunities, but also the freedom to be myself. There are certain qualities that are expected of a leader, someone who’s bold and brazen. And that’s not me. I’m introverted and can actually be quite timid at times. As a kid, I cried every time my family would sing happy birthday to me. I just hated being the center of attention."
"But at Red Hat, those differences are OK. Maybe I don’t fit the traditional mold of what people think a leader looks like, but here I’ve been encouraged to be myself and embrace the unique value that I bring to the table, says Carcia."
In fact, diverse perspectives help us thrive at Red Hat. "Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that being different and having a different perspective can be quite advantageous—for your career, for your team, for your whole company. In my current role, I’m the only manager that came to the team without a kernel engineering background. I started as a user interface engineer, which is about as far from the kernel as you can get. But that allows me to bring in a new perspective and new ideas. It can be quite fun if you embrace your diversity and lean into the unique viewpoint that you can offer."
Connecting the world
Carcia is now applying her viewpoint to technologies that are helping our customers. "My team primarily builds the real-time kernel. The kernel is really the core of an operating system, and the real-time kernel is specifically optimized for predictable timing behavior—maintaining low latency and consistent response time. This technology has applications in many industries, from finance to the military, but the hot one right now is telecommunications.
"Our work with the real-time kernel is a core piece of 4G and 5G networks. I find that incredibly cool. The work we do every day is helping to connect people throughout the world. Technology has changed how people communicate, and that change will continue—and my team’s at the heart of it. It’s been a really interesting experience, working not only with Red Hatters around the world, but global telecommunications customers as well. And we’re always looking for new talent to join us in that work. It’s a really exciting time to be in the technology space and, specifically, at Red Hat."
Support and mentorship of all kinds
The work brings many challenges, but Carcia relies on the people around her to help navigate Red Hat’s open culture. "I have a great support system at Red Hat. I’ve got a couple of mentors that I meet with to bounce ideas off of each other.
"And my team is very supportive. We’re spread around the globe—Brazil, Italy, Canada and across the United States from California to Alabama to Massachusetts—and also at different points in our careers. Some are just out of college and others are experts with advanced degrees in this technology. My team has a mix of global perspectives, experience levels and passions. Working together with such a diverse team has really taught me a lot. My favorite part of working at Red Hat has been the people I get to collaborate with."
Among Carcia’s support system, one collaborator stands above the others. "My older sister is a Red Hatter, too. She’s been my lifelong mentor and she’s the reason why I’m in this industry. Growing up with a cool older sister and watching her work with technology, it really inspired me. I’m so thankful to have her and that our relationship led to such a rewarding career here at Red Hat, where I can be myself and help my team meet its goals."
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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.