A day in the life of a Senior DevOps Engineer: Svetozar Kolev on the importance of learning new skills, and the benefits of working at a startup

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 Svetozar Kolev, a Senior DevOps Engineer at emerchantpay. He has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, transitioning from different positions. In the interview, Svetozar shares how his passion for cloud technologies appeared. He points out the importance of learning new skills, and how BICA helped him to find the right employer. Based on his experience, Kolev shares some key advice for young professionals who want to develop in the industry.

Can you describe yourself in a few sentences?

My name is Svetozar Kolev and I have been developing myself in the IT industry for more than 10 years. I started my professional career working as a Linux Tech Support then transitioned into a Linux System Administrator. After a few years of managing server infrastructure, I became skilled in designing and automating infrastructures. That was the moment when I transitioned into a DevOps Engineer, and joined emerchantpay a few months ago.

In my spare time I like to read, test new technologies, have a walk outdoors, and play tennis.

Can you share more about the role of a DevOps Engineer?

My main responsibility as a DevOps Engineer is to maintain the current infrastructure which is related with everyday communication between different teams like developers, tech support, and other business departments.

At the moment, a very important goal for our team is the ongoing migration of our systems to the cloud. This task is very closely related with using edge technologies for automation, and of course integrating native cloud services using the best practices in that field.

How does a day in your life go — usual routine (waking up, coping with tasks; activities in the spare time)?

As our work environment is very dynamic, I wouldn’t say I have a strict routine, but I like to have a structure to my day. Usually, I wake up, have a cup of coffee, read through my emails, check if something important has happened during the night and after that plan my tasks.

We’re currently developing our cloud environment, which is connected to a lot of collaboration with different departments of the company. During the process I need to make context switching between the tasks.

I like to finish my work days while going over different newsletters I’m subscribed to. That allows me to follow how the industry is changing, and what are the current trends.

What is the biggest challenge you previously faced when looking for a job?

The biggest challenge for me was to find a company where I can develop new skills but not to become rusty in the areas I already have skills. So I struggled to find a company and a team that can offer me both aspects.

How did BICA help with the process? Tell us more about your experience with the company.

Everyone from BICA was very helpful in the process of finding an employer, especially Slavka, who I worked closely with. She was proactive and reached out to me with the possibility to develop as a Senior DevOps engineer in emerchantpay.

During the process she had an individual approach, and understood very well what my job requirements were and only proposed me opportunities that fit my criteria.

I remember how during the whole recruitment process with emerchantpay she kept me in touch with the progress, and gave me feedback. She also gave me a call during my first day to check on me, and wished me luck.

What is the one thing you look for in a company when you decide your employer — technology, culture, etc.?

Most of my professional experience is in product companies, so the first thing I look for is to work in such. Also I prefer smaller teams with a startup mentality. Their best quality is the technology stack they use, and the freedom they give you. Through them, I can jump into new challenges and I can gain new skills from these challenges. Of course the team culture and spirit are very important for me, I prefer smaller companies with a startup way of thinking instead of big corporations.

You mention that you have a passion for cloud technologies, especially AWS. How did this passion come up? What is so exciting about AWS?

When I started my professional path I worked with so-called On-premises architecture, and actually that was the way of doing infrastructures at that time. During that time I have faced a lot of issues and challenges to automate our infrastructure. Then the Cloud providers started coming up, and the hype around them appeared. At the beginning I wasn’t sure that they were going to be effective.

As time passed, I realized how cloud technologies help to solve certain issues and problems. That was the moment my passion for the cloud appeared. I specifically prefer Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it provides a lot of opportunities. As the biggest provider of such technologies, Amazon’s ones are very well adopted across the industry.

Can you share some advice with young professionals, who are at the start of their careers in the IT industry?

The IT industry is а very comprehensive field, no matter whether you’re a developer or QA engineer or DevOps. The first and most important advice I can give to young professionals is to find what field interests them the most, what makes them happy and start developing skills in that field. Another very important advice I could give them is to never stop learning new skills.

What do you want to achieve in the future?

I want to continue learning about cloud technologies, and eventually lead my own team in the field.

If you want to find the right position for you to thrive and grow, check out our website and take the next step in your career.

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