Monday, October 23, 2017

These two millennials are taking over the world with open source

The Millennial generation is one of the biggest in history and those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s are now making their way into the business world. João Marques Lima talks to two Millennials working in the open source space.

In the US alone, there are 92 million Millennials, a much larger generation than the 61 million in Generation X and the 77 million Baby Boomers, according to the US Census Bureau.

In the technology space, Millennials are playing a crucial role in advancing the market and building the future, particularly in the open source space which has attracted hundreds of thousands of them.

That was the case of 23-year-old Mackenzie Burnett, product manager at container infrastructure software organisation CoreOS, and 24-year-old Dan Gillespie, software engineer also at CoreOS.

Burnett graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 with a double degree in International Relations and Government & Politics.

At College Park, Gillespie met Burnett while working on Startup Shell (an on-campus co-working space) and Bitcamp, Maryland’s hackathon that the two started together. Gillespie decided to drop out of school and work on Bitmap full time.

Burnett joined him months later and together they founded Redspread dedicated to solving the problems associated with deploying software collaboratively as a team.

In 2016, Redspread joined CoreOS to aid in it is mission of making software infrastructure teams successful. João Marques Lima has spoken to the two Millennials to get their view of the world.


What is your view of the industry you are in?

 Burnett: In the software containers and infrastructure industry, we are leaders of bleeding edge technology driven by a vision around how software should be built.

This industry is progressive and has a supportive culture, welcomes all ages and genders, and enforces a code of conduct to ensure this is a safe place for all to work and collaborate as a community.

Gillespie: As someone who dropped out and started working early, I was surprised how many doors were able to open to me in technology at a young age.


What has been your major accomplishment to date? 

Burnett: Convincing most of my friends to take a leap of faith and move to San Francisco to start or accelerate their careers in technology, as well as helping many of them find opportunities here.

Gillespie: While working on Redspread, I helped create the community solution for local Kubernetes development.


What are you working on right now? 

Burnett: Product and growth at CoreOS. This includes the growth of the product, CoreOS Tectonic, a self-driving software container infrastructure platform built with open source technologies like Kubernetes.

Gillespie: I recently finished managing the release of Kubernetes 1.6 and have been since managing automated testing for CoreOS’s version of Kubernetes, Tectonic.


What does your day normally look like?

Burnett: The day is fast-paced with a mix of working alongside others internally and externally. Typically this means: Read emails, answer questions from others, ask others questions, talk to prospective customers and current customers, scope out features with the product team, brainstorm and planning with coworkers, figure out how to optimise our growth funnel.

Gillespie: I usually start my day looking over email and test results from the past day to figure out where I should spend my time. From there things diverge pretty dramatically but it involves plenty of screentime and working alongside coworkers.


What do companies need to know about millennials? 

Burnett: Companies should be aware of how their work environments now especially affect their ability to recruit and retain people. Gillespie: Regardless of how many lifestyle stories that get printed, millennials in the workplace seem relatively the same as past generations albeit with more emojis.


What do you expect from the industry and the future? 

Burnett: Being all of the vendors in the container/Kubernetes/CloudOps space, I expect it to efficiently capitalise on the massive opportunity around securing data and infrastructure, making development and deployment processes cheaper and more efficient, and moving enterprise infrastructure to a more portable state.

From the future, I hope that this tendency to efficiently capitalise on economic opportunity does not come at the cost of our environment or stable human society.

Gillespie: I think we can expect waiting less for things. We need to figure out what we are going to do when we replace most human labour with automation, this will happen sooner than most people think.


Where do you want to be in 10 years time?

Burnett: In a much better position to understand how to apply technology (in particular, software) to tackle large, complex policy issues.

Gillespie: I want to be applying software to some of humanity’s most challenging problems.


This article originally appeared in the Data Economy magazine. To read more on data centres, cloud and data, visit here