- On Wednesday, Rubrik launched a new open source community, called Rubrik Build, built around its cloud data management platform.
- Rubrik Build is led by principal technologist Rebecca Fitzhugh.
- Before Fitzhugh came to Rubrik, she had served in the Marine Corps as a data systems analyst — an experience that she now says was the perfect preparation for the new gig leading Rubrik Build.
- Fitzhugh now hopes that people with nontraditional tech backgrounds, like herself, will find Rubrik Build an easy platform to get started in contributing to open source software projects.
When Rebecca Fitzhugh was stationed in Japan’s Okinawa Island during her service in the Marine Corps, she found herself having to coordinate communications for military stations across the Pacific.
This experience, she said, helped her get to where she is today as principal technologist at $3.3 billion startup Rubrik, where she is leading Rubrik Build, a new open source community launched on Wednesday, built around Rubrik’s cloud data management platform that just launched Wednesday.
“I quickly became in charge of a data center and a large amount of human beings that reported to me,” Fitzhugh told Business Insider. “How do I balance lives and their family’s lives with delivering communication? It was a project I was unprepared for and I learned the most from. Looking back at that period of time in Okinawa, it prepared me for this project.”
The idea behind Rubrik Build is that it makes it easy for contributors to create new open source applications, tools, and integrations that work with the main Rubrik product. It’s intended to make it easy to get started — even for relative newbies — with pre-built templates, quick-start guides, and integrations with popular programming tools.
The idea, says Fitzhugh, is to encourage an open source ecosystem to flourish around Rubrik, though the company’s main offering is not offered as open source.
“We’re already helping them build this software fabric,” Fitzhugh said. “We’re taking these projects and collecting them into an open source community.”
That ease-of-use is a big priority, says Fitzhugh, because it could encourage people without a traditional background in tech get started with Rubrik.
Fitzhugh herself took a nontraditional path into the tech industry. She enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school. During her five years of service, she focused on technical communications.
“I did not have the opportunity in terms of finances in attending college. The military would allow me to acquire a degree,” Fitzhugh said. “The Marine Corps is perceived as the most elite, the baddest of the bad. I wanted to go where I perceived was the biggest challenge.”
She didn’t consider herself a technical person before joining the Marine Corps. However, she had to take a skills survey when she started her service, and it placed her in a data systems analyst role. She ended up liking it, putting her on the path towards a career in technology.
While serving in the military, not only did she gain a college education and technical skills, she also had the opportunity to spend time in Cambodia. There, she worked with the U.S. Navy to supply healthcare and medical support by providing communication support.
To date, her duty in Okinawa is the biggest challenge she’s tackled, but it taught her to lead a team and encourage collaboration. That’s served her well at a fast-growing startup like Rubrik, which just closed $261 million in Series E funding in January, with promises of more growth to come.
“Everyday you wake up and you don’t know what it’s going to look like. It’s exciting because it’s unknown,” Fitzhugh said.