What is it like to work in the IT industry in Bulgaria? 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 clichés about the professionals employed in the industry and inspire more individuals considering a career in IT.
Today, we will tell you the story of Stefan Grozev, a young software developer who started his career because it allows him to combine his two biggest passions — cars and gaming. How did that happen? What were the biggest challenges he faced when looking for the perfect job? And how did we help him with the process? This and many more you’ll learn from the interview with Stefan.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My name is Stefan, from Sofia and I am 22 years old. I am a software engineer for Digital Lights. I started my career in the IT sector 2 and a half years ago.
How did you become passionate about software development?
Ever since I was 14–15 years old, I had a passion for computers and specifically video games. When the moment to choose a sphere I want to develop came in, I combined this passion with my love for cars and started working in a sector where I can be a part of developing the vehicles of the future. At the company, we work on next-generation software mobility solutions, so I can say I landed my dream job.
As you are only 22 years old, how does a day in the life of a young professional go?
A usual day is very easy going for me. I start with a “daily” — a meeting where everyone on the team shares their progress on different tasks, challenges we faced, and what is needed from the rest of the team to finish a project. What I like about these meetings is that we are very open and the environment is very friendly. It’s not the usual stand-up meeting where you report your work. After the meeting, I start working on different tasks and projects. Also, we constantly communicate with other team members, which is very important when some people are working from home and others from the office. That way we stay very close to each other.
We also have very strong knowledge-sharing initiatives, as the company organizes a lot of activities where each team member can share something he/she learned or something that impressed him/her.
I try to keep a good work-life balance, so it’s important for me to spend some time on my hobbies. As I mentioned, I love cars and gaming, so I dedicate a few hours weekly on them. Also, I like taking part in cycling events, scuba diving, and skiing.
How do you manage to stay motivated and inspired while doing your job?
My biggest motivation is to see my work helps someone. For example, when I see that the code that I wrote gets put into practice for someone else. That is especially important for me because as a student I worked on projects that were short and the only important thing was to get a mark. But now you can think of a great idea, develop it and when you see it implemented and working, it’s very satisfying.
You have been in the IT sector only for a few years, but what is one lesson you learn during this time? What is something that someone starting a career in software engineering should know?
An important lesson I learned is how to create a good CV. It is very important to personalize it and direct it for the company you want to work for. While there isn’t a lot of experience to highlight, it is very important for me to show passion for the industry through your resume and ambition you have to learn new practical skills. For me, that is the way to stand out from the crowd, as there is a huge amount of people seeking entry-level jobs.
Also, I want to advise people starting their career in software development to not be afraid to talk with their manager about everything — challenges they faced while completing their tasks, and administrative questions like vacations, salary, etc. It probably sounds scary for most young professionals, but they should become comfortable having conversations with their managers, because they are not their school teachers. They are all part of a team and work toward the same goal.
What is the main criteria for you when you are choosing an employer?
The most important thing for me is the technologies a company uses. I really want to learn new skills and working with the latest technologies allows exactly that. I am extremely passionate about embedded software, so this really makes a company stand out to me. If the company doesn’t use the newest technologies, then there is no room for any further discussion.
Also, a big part of my decision is based on the hiring process, it shows me a lot about the company itself. The attitude of hiring managers and the way they speak is very important to me.
How did BICA help you in the hiring process?
I don’t have a vast amount of experience with job interviews, so I was quite nervous. But the support of BICA and my recruiter — Slavka, really helped me. She was very helpful with the advice she gave me. I wasn’t very happy at my previous job, so she helped figure out what I really wanted and how to achieve it. She was positive and made the process really easy, and I didn’t have to go through a large amount of job offers. I found the right place for me with the help of BICA.
Would you use a hiring agency in the future?
This really depends on the recruiter himself. I had great luck with Slavka, but in the past I had some not so pleasant experiences. What I saw was a lack of interest from the recruiter about the candidate and his needs and passion. I was getting the feeling that I was chatting with a bot that has a standardized list of questions. They were asking 3–4 questions and that was it, which is not enough, in my opinion, to understand whether a person can be a good fit for a certain company.
You previously mentioned university. How do you manage to combine work with going to exams and lectures?
What helps me in combining the two is my inner belief that what I’m doing is very important for me. The pandemic also helped the process, especially with the implementation of a flexible working time. This allows me to attend lectures and prepare for my exams, while simultaneously doing my job at a time that works best for me.
What are your goals for the future?
I really like the tech industry so I will continue to further develop myself as a professional and learn a lot of new skills. In the long term, I would like to experience managing and leading my own team.
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