With small steps to success - Vasil Mihaylov IT career start in Schwarz IT Bulgaria after 10 years abroad
Teaching abroad - working from Bulgaria: the formula for success of Vasil Mihaylov
The experience of our colleague Vasil Mihaylov, an IDM administration consultant at Schwarz IT Bulgaria, shows that on the road to success one should not stride, but take small, calculated steps, filled with determination and an unwavering stubbornness to pursue one's own curiosity and interests. Vasil is unable to name a specific moment when he came to the conclusion that IT was his path.
He says he can trace his love of technology back to his childhood - "I remember the excitement of installing new DOS games from floppy disks on archaic computer systems, and how long it took me to get over the fear of the "control panel" on the home computer." In his school days, he was a person who always loved mathematics, and he is convinced that it was that very love that sparked his interest in technology.
A master's in London
Vasil took his first conscious steps towards IT in London. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in electronics from Plovdiv Technical University, he decided to go abroad and continue his education in England. His first study abroad experience was at a local college, but after finding the level of tuition unsatisfactory, he decided to seek master's programs at universities in London.
However, the high tuition fees at Imperial College of London put him off, so he opted for a more modest institution where he would be exposed to the latest IT technologies. He enthusiastically recounts his experience with the college: "The labs and library seemed like a true miracle - they were all accessible 24 hours a day. The classes taught me the importance of understanding the basic approach to gaining effective insight into new technologies, as well as many of the fundamentals I refer to in my daily life."
However, after 10 years in England, Vasil never really took up a job in the IT sector. His job was selling various types of building materials, and he says that the intense travel associated with his job gave him the opportunity to meet a variety of different personalities and acquire a wide range of important skills.
The start of an IT career in Sofia
For Vasil, the decision to return to Bulgaria is a rational one - he says that he simply feels more comfortable here. He doesn't want to give up enjoying the hot Bulgarian summer, the beautiful nature and all the other natural wonders he can experience at home, and besides - he says - the anonymity of the huge metropolis of London started to get on his nerves at some point, even considering that the big differences between England and Bulgaria started to shrink when Bulgaria joined the EU.
Eventually, Vasil started his IT career in Bulgaria without many expectations, working for an HP outsourcing company. After about a year and a half, he decided that he had the necessary know-how and skills to advance in this field and started his next outsourcing project, working on access management for a large multinational company based in the US. There he deepened his knowledge and honed his skills, which gave him the opportunity to move to Schwarz IT Bulgaria (then Kaufland IT Hub).
Schwarz IT Bulgaria
To quote his motivation for applying to Kaufland IT Hub, "The main reason for accepting the offer is my lack of knowledge in this field - Schwarz is a global company with almost half a million employees. The opportunity to work in such a company is rare, especially in Bulgaria, and even more so as an internal engineer rather than a contractor."
He shares that he is pleasantly surprised by the intensity and nature of the work at the company. Another advantage of his new position is the people: "My colleagues are wonderful and there are some very highly qualified professionals among them. This makes me very happy and confirms my feeling that there are some very capable professionals in the IT field in Bulgaria. What's special about Schwarz IT is that the company offers a particularly wide range of technologies while actively retaining its employees."
Vasil's main role is to maintain the systems that contain the digital identities of Schwarz IT Services' more than 500,000 global users - Lidl and Kaufland's customers, as well as a number of smaller companies operating in more than 30 countries. He explains, "The IAM system is at the heart of any large enterprise. Working on its maintenance and proper operation is dynamic and involves a high level of responsibility. At the same time, the environment provided by Schwarz is very large and connected to a wide range of other end systems such as SAP, Active Directory, AzureAD. I honestly sometimes tend to think of it like a living organism that's moving, changing shape and constantly growing."
As his time with the company and his responsibilities grow, it remains paramount that his work remains interesting. The team he is a part of has grown from two to seven people in the last two years, which he sees as a clear sign of trust from management. He himself holds his team in high regard, noting that it has great potential, responsibility, and cohesion.
What about 10 years from now?
At the end of our conversation, Vasil jokingly announced that he dreams of traveling the world carefree after retirement, even though he admitted, "In ten years, I would still like to be associated with the IT industry and surrounded by the same hardworking and ambitious people I am now.