A day in the life of a Tech Lead: Diyana Dimitrova on building and leading a great team

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 share with you the story of Diyana Dimitrova. She has almost a decade of experience in the industry. In this interview, she talks about the development of her career and shares insights about being a Tech Lead. Diyana also speaks about how she manages to build a united team of professionals in Bulgaria for Covantis with the support of BICA.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

My name is Diyana Dimitrova and I have been developing myself in the IT industry for more than 10 years now. I started my professional path as a Java developer focused on backend technologies, then transitioned into frontend development. After that, I took the role of a full stack professional and later discovered my passion for leading a team, organizing activities and communicating with others. That’s how I became a Team Tech Lead and joined Covantis a few months ago.

In my spare time I like to read or have a walk in the park.

Can you tell us more about the role of Tech Lead?

My main responsibility as a Team Tech Lead is to coordinate and communicate constantly with all the different departments at our company — DevOps team, QA team, designers, security team, legal and commercial representatives of our business.

At the moment, another very important goal I have is to build Covantis’ team in Bulgaria. With the support of BICA, I am conducting interviews with people who want to join our company.

As for managing my current team, I am responsible for defining the architecture and different tasks that my colleagues develop. I also take care of keeping a good team spirit. Another one of my responsibilities is leading recurring meetings with my team where we discuss the current tasks and the possibilities for their professional development.

How does a day in your life go? Do you have a usual routine (waking up, coping with tasks; activities in your 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 and plan my tasks for the day. I strive to support my colleagues with different challenges they face throughout the day and share feedback with them.

Another main responsibility I have is making strategic decisions about the development of our team and company in Bulgaria. I participate in different meetings where I share the progress we’ve made so far and plans for the development with managers and higher-ups.

At the end of the day, I like to go on a walk in the park and reflect on everything that happened during the day.

What was your biggest motivation to start developing in the industry?

I have been interested in mathematics and logic, so it came as a natural decision when I had to choose a career path to develop my skills in programming. I’ve always seen the people working in this industry as the ones who solve problems using a wide variety of approaches and making a logical connection to the whole process. I spent my time at university learning different programming languages, different methodologies of software development, and all the processes of developing a great product.

During this time I realized how much I love presenting the finished product of our work with my classmates. Also, I figured out that I’m quite good at helping others organize and manage their time. At this time I discovered my passion to be part of building products that digitize different industries.

What are the main challenges you faced when looking for a new job?

The biggest challenge for me was building good self-confidence and realizing that all companies are different. In the past I thought that if my set of skills and abilities weren’t good enough for a certain company, they wouldn’t be good for all the other organizations. As time went on, I realized that different enterprises evaluate potential candidates on different criteria.

With this in mind, I decided to develop the skills in technologies that interested me and not in those that are the most looked for on the market.

How did BICA help you in the hiring process?

The professionals working for BICA were very helpful throughout the whole hiring process. We had a call where I shared my experience, my passions and my preferences for a future job. Taking these factors in my mind, they found a company that perfectly resonated with me and what I wanted to achieve. The communication between me and Covantis was also managed by BICA and the company’s experts made the process very easy for me.

I also have experience in collaborating with BICA on the recruitment process of Covantis’ Bulgarian office. Its representatives perfectly understand our company culture and are very helpful in finding the right people for our team.

As Team Lead and someone with the task of building Covantis’ Bulgarian office, what is the most valuable quality you look for in a candidate?

For me, the most important quality of a candidate is the desire to learn new skills and improve himself. This shows a person’s ambition to develop in the industry. I also highly value candidates who have good social skills and empathy. I think having these qualities helps with building a united team.

You have been a Tech Lead for about 2 years. What has been the biggest challenge for you while being in charge of a team?

I think the biggest challenge for me is managing people. Before taking the role of Tech Lead, I was solving mostly technical problems, but this process is very different to making sure everyone on the team is happy and everyone has good relationships with each other.

As well as that, since I started at Covantis, I have been responsible for choosing the right professionals for our team which isn’t an easy task. It requires not only to evaluate their technical skills, but also their character and how they will fit in with everyone else. My main goal since becoming a Tech Lead is to have a strong and united team where people feel free to collaborate with and learn from each other.

What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned in this time?

The most important thing I learned as a leader is how to delegate tasks and responsibilities to my colleagues. As time passed, I realized that these new tasks, they are responsible for, helps team members to grow as professionals and become better at what they do. Also, this means that the whole team is not dependent on one person. I believe that great leaders empower the people around them to be independent and use their knowledge and creativity to deal with challenges they face.

Last autumn you were a lecturer on a JavaScript event. Why is it important for you to share your knowledge and experience with others? How does that help the community?

I decided to take part in the event because I wanted to share my experience on tackling different problems I faced throughout my career so far. I strongly resonate with the saying that goes “There is no need to reinvent the wheel” and I want to help others find a working solution to the tasks they need to complete.

Also, I wanted to be a motivation for other women in the industry to take part in such events. I know most of the females in the IT sphere don’t want to be lecturers or speakers at these initiatives because they are not confident enough. I want to show them that both males and females can have insightful knowledge and they can share it with others.

What are your goals for the future?

As a short-term goal I want to help Covantis build a great team in Bulgaria and make people familiar with the company and its products. In the long run, I would like to help a lot of young people with no experience in the industry, to grow as professionals through different training and mentorship programs.

I would like to continue developing my leadership skills, as well as the technical ones. And I will aim to build a very good work-life balance, as it happens to be a bit hard in our industry sometimes.

If you are looking for a new career opportunity and are interested in joining Diyana’s team, check out the open positions for QA Tech LeadJavaScript Engineer and Release Manager.

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