Jason Hiatt of Evansville, Ind., began his relationship with open source technology titan Red Hat as a college student in the late 1990s. "I used Red Hat Linux as part of my final projects in engineering and computer science," Hiatt said. It's been a fruitful relationship for Hiatt, who was declared the Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year at Red Hat Summit in Boston earlier this month.
The recognition at this year's event closed out a full-circle journey of sorts for Hiatt. A lead infrastructure developer for personal lending firm OneMain Financial, Hiatt earned his first Red Hat credential, Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack, while attending a prior Red Hat Summit, also held in Boston, in 2015.
Each year's Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year is honored for using his or her Red Hat-certified skills to improve or enhance results for their company or its customers. As a developer, Hiatt is primarily responsible to build tools and automate tasks that help OneMain's datacenter and remote sites function more efficiently.
"My team automates everything around the lifecycle of Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems and we are also heavily involved in managing our distributed platforms such as Hadoop and OpenShift," Hiatt said.
OpenShift, a virtualization technology created by Red Hat that helps developers work with containers, proved particularly challenging for Hiatt and his team. OneMain began using OpenShift in 2017 gradually integrating it into company operations. In 2018, Hiatt decided he could improve the process by becoming certified in OpenShift.
After setting up a Red Hat Learning Subscription, Hiatt powered through five certifications, including Red Hat Certified System Administrator, Red Hat Certified Engineer, Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration, Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Application Development, and Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation. All of that learning paid off.
"Without the extra training and knowledge, our OpenShift project would have taken a lot longer to implement and may not have been as successful," Hiatt said.
After writing about his experience and entering the Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year contest, Hiatt heard nothing until days before the announcement of the winner, when he got an e-mail with a $25 Red Hat gift card. Thinking he'd gotten a consolation prize and nothing more, Hiatt went about his preparations to attend Red Hat Summit.
(He wasn't entirely wrong: Everyone who submits an entry to the Certified Professional of the Year contest gets the $25 gift card.)
Then a follow-up e-mail came from Red Hat executive John Allessio, this time to inform a surprised Hiatt that he'd be getting the big prize. "I couldn't believe it!" Hiatt said. Hiatt ended up sharing the victory with his youngest daughter, Berkley: "She was featured in my certification video that was played at the Summit because I had gone to her school to teach coding classes."
Father and daughter got matching Red Hat fedoras, and Hiatt is excited to sport his new look at future IT events. He's also excited for the next certification mountain he intends to climb: "My goal for 2019 is to become a Red Hat Certified Architect."