What is it like to work in the IT industry in Bulgaria? This is a question many people interested in a career in the sector ask themselves. So, we, at BICA, gathered some of the people that we helped find the right job to share their stories. With this series of interviews, we are aiming to show people how everyday life of a person working in the IT sector goes. We hope to break some cliches about the professionals employed in the industry and inspire more individuals considering a career in IT.
Today, we will tell you the story of Tihomir Galov, a Full Stack Engineer at SessionStack. He is a young professional who started his career about 4 years ago. In this interview he shares how his passion for software engineering and the tech industry appeared. In his previous job, Tihomir was Team Lead and he explains what it is like to manage a team while you are just 19 years old. He points out his preferences when looking for a new job and how BICA helped this process to find the right company.
Can you describe yourself in a few sentences?
My name is Tihomir and I’m a Full Stack Engineer at SessionStack. I’m 20 years old and currently studying Computer Software Engineering at Sofia University. My desire is to continue learning new and interesting technologies, and delve into new adventures.
Can you tell us a bit more about the position of a Full Stack developer?
Developing our product called “SessionStack” is my main responsibility. I’m involved in developing both the backend architecture of it and the frontend view of our clients. Our complex analytics platform provides web applications with comprehensive and actionable insights into their users’ journey to improve product quality, adoption, and user experience.
How does a day in your life go? Do you have a usual routine (waking up, coping with tasks, activities in your spare time)?
Having a routine is important for me. That way I deal with tasks in a faster and more efficient manner. I wake up between 8 and 8:30 every morning. Next on my list is breakfast. It takes me about an hour to prepare it and have a cup of coffee. That’s the best preparation for the day ahead. Then I get on with my work. We have daily meetings in the morning where everyone shares his tasks, then I start completing what I have to do.
As a fan of the hybrid working model, I like to go to the office every Wednesday and Thursday. The experience there is very cool. We’re a united team, and my colleagues are always ready to share their knowledge and experience with me. They are always there to support you.
In my spare time, I usually hang out with friends, play guitar and go wall climbing.
You started programming when you were 12 years old. How did your passion for it appear?
Since I was a little kid I was always interested in Mathematics and Hardware. I always knew that I’ll be involved in the tech industry one way or another. Also my father is an electrical engineer, so I grew up surrounded by cables and pliers. And I spent my summer vacations with him, while he was doing his job.
When I was in 5th grade I started going to competitions in Informatics. That was the moment I realized that a computer can be used for different purposes, except gaming.
Me and a friend of mine were more interested in the hardware section, so we developed a smart home system in 8th Grade. In the next few years, I switched between hardware and software, but my passion for technology was always there. In 10th grade, I lаnded my first job as a Software Developer.
What is the biggest challenge you previously faced when looking for a job?
My biggest challenge when looking for a job is a recruiter’s attitude toward me. I’ve had a few meetings with different people and they always seemed uninterested in my requirements for a future employer, and what my skills are.
How did BICA help with the process? Tell us more about your experience with the company.
BICA’s main advantage over other HR companies is that they managed to fully understand what I am looking for in an employer. They offered positions that are suitable for me and companies that match my criteria. Every step of the process was very easy and they were very professional.
The two things that made SessionStack stand out from other companies were the interview process and the product it develops. During the interview, the main focus was on the way I think and my problem-solving skills, not what will happen if I write a certain code. I did research on the company and saw what they are developing, what is the plan for the future and that sealed the deal for me.
In your previous job you served the role of a Software Developer Team Lead. What was the most rewarding thing as a team lead? What was the biggest challenge you faced in this position?
Leading a team was a very exciting adventure, especially as I was just 19 when I took the role. I was responsible not only for myself, but also for the people around me. It was a very good experience, which made me more productive in my job. It also taught me how important it is to help my teammates and the significance of a great team. Managing people and being in charge have been two of my strong qualities in my whole life, so leading a team brought me a lot of personal satisfaction.
The main challenge was the lack of experience. At some points, I had to tackle problems that I had never faced before. But I went through this period and the help from my team was very important to overcome the challenges.
You’ve just started your university education. How do you manage to balance between uni and work?
I believe in the saying “the more occupied a person is, the more free time he has”. This means that when I have a lot of tasks to complete, I manage my time better and get to finish everything on time. With the right attitude and motivation, everyone can find time for the things that are important to him.
What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to continue my growth and someday switch to a more management-related position. But to reach it, I need to continue to learn about different technologies and fill the gaps, if what I currently know. For now, I’ll dedicate some time to improve my skills both in university and at work.