We have quite a few positions open here, at Red Hat right now. You may have seen some of our previous blog posts listing open roles. We even have two roles that just opened up in time to be included here: Product Marketing Manager and another Product Marketing Manager.
We wanted to take a moment and give y'all more insight into just what it's like to work at Red Hat. We sat down Alexis Solanas, a software maintenance engineer here at Red Hat, and asked him the tough questions about what it's like to work at Red Hat.
Red Hat: Why did you choose a career at Red Hat? How long have you been part of the team?
Alexis Solanas: I’ve been in Red Hat for nearly 10 years (joined in October 2011). I first started using Linux in 1996, and my first distribution was probably Red Hat Linux 2.1 or 3.
I always thought of Red Hat as the Ferrari of the Linux world, and I wanted to join Red Hat since the moment I started to use Linux. I thought that it would be a great place to learn lots of things, and I’m delighted that Red Hat is like that.
What are the things you have learned over the years being a Red Hatter?
I’ve learned countless things! I started as a support engineer for basic RHEL issues, then I specialized in kernel problems, doing mainly vmcore analysis and RCAs. Then I learned containers and Kubernetes, and finally moved to the OpenShift team. That has been quite a journey!
I have also improved my softskills. Interacting with customers from all over the world on a daily basis teaches you how to approach conversations in different ways and how to deal with a great variety of cultures.
What values does your team practice at Red Hat?
Collaboration is our greatest strength. You always receive help from your colleagues and also provide help to them. No one can know everything, and we are always there to help each other out.
We also love sharing our knowledge. The team becomes stronger when we teach each other the things we know, the tricks, or shortcuts we find.
What does your day look like?
I always say that every day is like Christmas day: You never know what problem you are going to be working on. There are not two days that are the same at this job.
First thing I do is planning my day, checking what meetings I have (not many luckily), and what cases I need to work on. Then I check the queues for new cases, 24x7 cases, and cases that need collaboration.
I also reserve some time to read other cases that are interesting and to create new or modify existing knowledge base solutions.
Any spare cycles that I have, I use them to get a better knowledge of the components I’m working with, or to learn new areas of OpenShift.
Can you share your experience with customers? Were there any challenging projects you faced these days? Any situations that make you proud?
We deal with a great variety of customers, ranging from very experienced and knowledgeable ones, to customers who are completely new to OpenShift and containers. It is a great experience to share your knowledge with the ones who are starting and sometimes learning new things from the very experienced ones.
The challenging scenarios are the ones where the production environment is completely down. Bringing the environment to a working status in the shortest possible time is always difficult, but very rewarding.
I’m always proud of providing a solution for any problem our customers have.
What would you recommend to candidates as they prepare for interviews?
That’s a difficult question. The most important thing is being aware that no one can know everything, and we don’t expect a candidate to have the answer to every question we ask.
We are more interested in the way a candidate thinks about a problem than the actual solution to the problem. If a candidate does not provide a solution for a problem but mentions several ways to approach the problem, that answer is very valuable as it shows that the candidate has many resources and experience.
Having a good knowledge of how containers and Kubernetes work is necessary. I always recommend knowing what the internal components of containers and Kubernetes are and how they interact with each other.
What are the best practices you can share with our candidates?
Always ask yourself how a component works, and why it works in a particular way. This will create lots of new questions, but it will also speed up the process to understand to a bigger extent.
If a candidate does not have previous experience, I always recommend playing with containers on your own computer (podman makes this very easy) and deploy a simple Kubernetes or OpenShift (via CRC) and start deploying applications and checking how each component works and behaves.
What are the important skills or capabilities the teammate should have? Are there any technical skills required?
RHEL experience is a must. Having production experience with Kubernetes or OpenShift is great, but not a requirement.
Being a team player is also important. Everyone needs help, and everyone is expected to help others when needed.
Being able to work (sometimes) under pressure, as everyone faces sooner than later a doomsday scenario with production down. And knowing how to manage the customer’s expectations in these situations makes your job much easier.
Being curious about technology and eager to learn always goes a long way.