Blog: Internships Decoded: a Q&A with Red Hat Software Engineer Hema Veeradhi
For anyone who’s ever imagined themselves working full-time at the company they’re interning at, this article shares Hema Veeradhi’s journey to full-time employment through her internship at Red Hat, answering all of our questions about what that transition is like and how we can advocate for ourselves.
0) Before we get started, could you share a bit about yourself and what your role is at Red Hat?
I am originally from south India. I grew up in the beautiful city of Bangalore, which is now one of the leading tech-cities in India, home to thousands of start-ups and large IT companies.
I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from PES College of Engineering, Bangalore in 2016. I moved to Boston during Fall 2017, to pursue my Master’s degree in Computer Science at Boston University. It was during my journey as a grad student, that I was fortunate enough to launch my career with Red Hat in the emerging field of data science, AI and machine learning. My journey with Red Hat began with a summer internship that resulted later in a full-time role. When not at work, you will find me traveling to new places, learning Bollywood dancing, baking, binge-watching ‘Friends’ and surviving the weather of Boston.
1) You mentioned that you interned with Red Hat before you were brought on to full-time employment. Why did you want to work with Red Hat?
Yes, as my Master’s degree had a concentration in data-centric computing I was seeking an internship role in the areas related to data science, AI or machine learning. I had known Red Hat primarily as a Linux based company and it was during my university career fair that I learned more about their AI Centre of Excellence team which is part of Red Hat’s office of the CTO. The AI CoE team’s core mission is to lead Red Hat on a path to fully embrace the AI transformation leveraging momentum and strengths from existing product portfolios and unique Open Source philosophy. The team was looking to hire interns for the summer (2018) to work in the Boston office and I thought it would be a great fit for me!
2) What was the interview process like and how did you prepare for your interview?
The interview process comprised of an initial video call with different project leads of the team. The interview was mainly a walk through some of the projects mentioned on my resume along with a few technical questions. I also had a follow-up interview with one of the machine learning expertise in the team, who focused more on discussing the data science aspects of my projects in detail. As a preparation for the interview, I went through Glassdoor interview questions and reviewed basic machine learning concepts and computer science fundamentals. Hands on experience with projects related to data science and participating in hackathons will definitely give you more exposure and visibility in preparing for your interviews.
3) Can you explain to us what it was like to intern with Red Hat? What responsibilities were you given and did the company foster your development in any way?
Interning with Red Hat was engaging, fun and a great learning experience. I was working with the AI Operations team and my project involved the integration of different performance metrics for anomaly detection. Although we were interns, we were treated as equally as full-time employees and the team encouraged us to propose ideas, suggestions and provide active feedback. A fun, introductory internship boot camp was organized by the team, where we had hands-on workshop tutorials and sessions for the interns to get started. We were involved in all the team meetings and activities which helped us to not only understand the company better, but also promoted the sense of openness within Red Hat culture.
We had multiple presentations throughout the progress of our internship to showcase our projects, which enhanced our speaking and presentation skills. My project mentor was very supportive and provided constant guidance throughout my project. I was even more lucky to work from the new Boston office and participate in all the fun events happening both in and out of the office. To celebrate our internship, we were even taken to watch a Red Sox baseball game and it was my debutant baseball game at the famous Fenway stadium in Boston. I had a wonderful time during the summer internship, all thanks to Red Hat for making it enjoyable and worthwhile!
4) When did you start to consider working full-time at Red Hat? Could you share what was going through your head at the time and how you advocated for yourself to be brought on full-time?
Half-way through my internship, I considered the possibility of working full-time at Red Hat after my graduation. The company’s open culture, the scope for innovation, new technology, and growth excited me the most. I expressed my interest in a full-time role with my manager and made the most of all the opportunities provided during my internship. I believe that we should always voice our opinions and communicate our thoughts with the people we are interacting with. Do not wait for opportunities, create them.
5) What has changed now that you are working full-time with Red Hat? What is your flexibility like in terms of what you can work on and work-life balance?
To be honest, nothing has changed much because I was retained in the same team. Of course, as a full-time employee, you have more responsibility and work to carry upon your shoulders. The team is very accommodating in terms of the type of projects we would like to work on and foster active new learning. Red Hat is one of the few companies which offers both, great work-life balance and the ability to work remotely. Almost 25% of Red Hatters are remote workers and many of us work with globally distributed teams that are flexible with work hours and locations.
6) Is there a strong sense of community at Red Hat and do you feel connected with the core values of the company?
Hat’s core values are freedom, courage, commitment, and accountability. As a Red Hatter, we try to find a constant balance among these values which firmly roots us to strive for a greater purpose. We not only support our customers, partners, and shareholders, but also constantly contribute to the community and actively collaborate with each other.
7) Do you have any other advice for our readers looking to intern themselves?
Always be honest and open. If you do not know something, don’t be afraid to say so. People will appreciate your truthfulness. Always be willing to learn, grow and develop. Engage with your teammates and help each other to grow. Internships give you a great insight into the corporate industry and prepare you for your future careers. You also have the flexibility to explore your strengths and weaknesses during the internships. Most importantly, enjoy what you do and if at any point in time you find yourself at a standstill, never hesitate to reach out for support.
Thank you to Hema and Red Hat for volunteering your time to share this valuable information about navigating career paths with us! If you enjoyed what you read, follow TechTogether on Medium and subscribe to our mailing list below!