This summer I worked as a marketing intern at Red Hat in the JBoss Middleware business unit. As you may expect, I learned a lot about marketing and middleware. But I also learned that open source is as much a culture as a software development model.
This internship wasn’t my first experience in a corporate environment. I worked full time after completing my undergraduate studies and while pursuing my Master’s degree in Informatics, and I have seen managers take a very micro-management approach. I've noticed how some employers treat employees as if they are numbers rather than assets with unique skills and talents.
Working at Red Hat has been different, and I think that’s because of the company’s open source culture. Anyone at Red Hat—whether they’re an employee, customer, or partner—has the opportunity to voice their opinion about the products being offered and the direction of the company. I saw the power of that during my internship. When employees are kept in the know about crucial events and plans, they are quick to point out the good, the bad, and the ugly. It can be a painful process, but no stone is left unturned and the community grows stronger.
Open source culture revolves around meritocracy and rapid iteration, and both qualities give interns a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. During my internship, I was given real projects to support and improve the company’s global web presence. I helped organized materials for field marketing, partner marketing, and customer marketing. Ultimately, I was treated as a member of the team and valued for my opinion and skillset from the start.