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Returning to Bulgaria: Young Professionals On Starting Over Back Home

Sofia, Bulgaria | April 27, 2021

by Aleksiya Kokolios

Zlatko is a Javascript developer. He works in a local product company. His previous office location was in the heart of London, one of the world's top tech hubs. Hristo is a Tech Lead at a leading German media entertainment company, whose R&D office operates in Sofia. His 15 years of IT and programming experience include several years in Dublin at Senior positions. Why did both of them decide to return to Bulgaria? What motivated them to leave their West-European life, that many dream of? 

In the past few years, a new social strata of highly-skilled IT professionals was established in Bulgaria. On one side, are the academic and educational institutions such as Telerik Academy, a private tech-ed organization, who continuously invests to grow and develop IT talents from an early age. On the other hand, is the Bulgarian startups ecosystem that doesn’t seize to expand. The startups field of operation is vast but they mostly specialize in big data analytics, machine learning, automation, platform building, and fintech. Speaking of fintech, in 2019 fDi ranked Sofia as the most cost-effective fintech city worldwide for 2019/20. Furthermore, local establishments are continuously attracting foreign investments. A recent, successful example is the Bulgarian SMS Marketing automation platform SMS Bump, which turned into a unicorn, only a year since it was acquired by US-Israeli Yotpo, accomplishing one of the biggest exits in the local ecosystem. 


The entrepreneurial mindset and community that has formed in the country is attracting not only investors but also local professionals who left to pursue better opportunities abroad. 


Zlatko worked in London for 2 and a half years in order to provide a higher standard of living for his family. His goal was to get a management role. Despite being very close to achieving it, he started evaluating his priorities, once faced with the western reality of losing 5 hours daily in commute and missing family time. Being financially stable was far from enough to keep him in the UK. 


My main motive to return to Bulgaria was the emerging product companies. I realized, there are not as many high-skilled developers in the western software companies, as there are here. People need to know that we have excellent IT specialists to attract investments and create quality digital products.


Both Zlatko and Hristo agree that the experience they’ve gained has strenghten not only their resumes but also their general cultural perspective. However, when Bulgaria’s added value consists of a good job offer and the opportunity to be closer to family and friends, all bets are off. BICA Services’ recruitment team has helped them find their desired job match. Mediating carefully between our candidates' expectations (Hristo, Zlatko) and client’s requirements (IT companies), our goal is to make both sides happy.

Nowadays, Hristo is confident that the communication with his German co-workers is going smoothly, thanks to his 2 years work experience in Ireland as a Marketing Automation developer. 

For many up and coming IT specialists, Bulgaria remains a desirable place of employment. Sofia is among the top 25 cities of the future, according to a report from 2019. The booming tech industry, plentiful IT and language skills, cost effectiveness and favorable taxes makes Sofia a desired destination for many. 


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