I have more passions than free time. However, my main occupation is writing (good?) software.
I started writing software back in school (2000-ish year). Being a math 🏫, software classes were part of the curriculum. That was not the best experience, though. Dark rooms, old 🖥️, bad 📚, old curriculum. Not much to attract a child. However, I started to enjoy out of class coding. I started coding simple 🎲.
When I 🎓 from 🏫, I went for a Business degree 🕴️ in American University in Bulgaria. I got a little tired of math. The 🏫 was 🔥🔥🔥, super different than what I had seen so far. Campus life, foreign students and professors and world class quality. On top of that, I could study new things as finance, marketing, HR, strategy from and with some of the 💡 🧠 in Bulgaria 🇧🇬 and the region. I was sold.
These were some of the best years of my life. 📚hard, 🎉 hard kind of thing. I also met extraordinary people, including my 👧. My 👀 opened for quite a few things.
After 🏫 I started 🔨 in my brother’s small family business. They manufacture, sell and install windows and 🚪. In the beginning I was just filling the holes (a lot of them) and gradually started to play an important role. I had to wear various hats as managing inventory, doing sales, sourcing raw materials, hiring etc. I knew none of these, so I had to hit the ground running. It was a very hard journey, but I learned a ton about operating with limited resources, importance of quality, navigating people’s problems, customer service and sales. I was also the main driver behind the digitalization of the business and that’s where the 👨💻 in me started to emerge again. I had the aha 💡 moment that software will make or break all businesses in the future. I started seeing the real use cases. I realized software is unavoidable. Good news, I even enjoyed doing it.
That’s how the second chapter of my professional career started. I went down the software engineering path.
First, I went for a coding academy. A really 🔥🔥🔥one. Modern curriculum, interesting challenges and dope instructors. Things had changes since high school for good. 9 months in and I knew what I wanted to do in the future. I felt the 💪to create stuff with my only two ✋and a 🖥️.
Not long after, I landed my first job in a small software service company. I was junior software engineer doing
.NET. Learning was cool but writing production code and dealing with customers and timelines was another 🌍. I enjoyed everything about my job and was always the sponge in the room.
Time passed by, and I got an offer from Telerik. The company was founded by alumni from my 🏫 and also owned the coding academy where I studied initially. The company had kind of a cult status back then so i didn’t think twice. I got to work on a product this time. It was a JIRA-like project management system. Again,
.NET stack with a bit more front-end work too. I saw what world class software development looks like. Cool stuff. Unfortunately, company was sold to Progress (large US public company), management changed, product was discontinued, and our team was split to other projects. I started to enjoy the journey less and less. In the meantime, Telerik bought my previous employer so my former colleagues became my current colleagues. Funny turn of events for sure.
I started searching for a new job. I saw a job ad in a Facebook group about a fintech start-up called Receipt Bank (nothing to do with 🏦). They were looking for
Ruby on Rails developers and the ad was posted by a famous guy on the Bulgarian software scene called Stefan Kanev. What got my attention was that it read something as:
Don’t worry if you don’t know Ruby. We will teach you.
I felt that was a quality company if they can afford to do that and I was right. I applied and got the job. My journey was worth every second. I learned a whole new tech stack -
Ruby on Rails,
AWS. All that while being paid 🤑, a deal is a deal. I also was exposed to business as one of the founders, was working very close with me on one of the projects. The impact was huge, and the work was meaningful. I witnessed what high growth and fast pace are.
In Receipt Bank, quite a few things clicked with me.
- Quality above all.
- Understand the use case very well before writing any code and push back changes if needed.
- Good processes make life easier.
- Iteration is key to a good result. Nothing happens all at once.
- Owning stuff is key. No “not my job BS”.
Time passed by and this time I decided I am ready to work on my own terms being a freelancer. What is more, I could source projects in the beginning, so things looked 🌹. I left Receipt Bank, started a company of 1 (LLC with me being owner and employee) and started picking up projects. It was on my own.
Projects were in the ecommerce domain for large retailers and they were solutions built on top of Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform. So, I had to change technology stack again. Main technology used is
CSS. Also, ecommerce domain was quite different for me. New words entered my vocabulary as PDP, PLP, conversion etc.
This journey had ⏫ and ⏬. I was on my own terms and earned good 💰. However, freelancers usually have to pick up whatever comes along in the beginning until they pick up speed. Insecurity is also part of the experience as you always have to source new projects. in bad times, freelancers are let go first too. But well hey, these are the rules of the game. No complains. That’s why you get all those 💰.
Due to Covid-19, insecurity layed its plot. I remained jobless as most projects came to a halt. The outsourcing industry that I was part of just stopped on day 1.
However, due to a lucky turn of events, new opportunity presented in front of myself.
I interviewed for SDE 2 at Amazon Dublin and I got the job. I never looked for this one, but it rather found me (recruiter got in touch with me via LinkedIn). I never excelled at job interviews, especially coding ones. I was rejected many times before. However, this time I knocked it down really bad and was proposed the job on my birthday, which happened to be also the last day of my freelance project, with no projects coming after.
There is a lot to like about this opportunity. Most importantly, the chance to work on super interesting problems with one of the brightest 🧠 in the industry. I talked to a few friends of friends that work there and this is not just a bumper sticker slogan but the truth itself. I also consider the relocation as advantage. I have a 3yr old 👦 and Ireland 🇮🇪 is known to provide really good environment to raise kids. So, I decided to give it a try and take this journey. Looking forward to it.
So here I am, on the verge of moving to Ireland 🇮🇪 with my family to work for Amazon in the midst of a global pandemic. Fun times ahead.
Apart from work, I am a sports guy. Jack of all sports, master of none. Lately, I do 🏃♂️ and 🚴♂️ along with some 💪. These are the easiest for me to practice. For example, I put on the 👟 and go 🏃♂️, no hassle. Compare that to 🏊♂️, which I also enjoy but is too time consuming to do regularly.
I also like to experiment with diets. Living healthy is one of the best investments one can do and eating is the easiest to knock down. I have gone through no-diet, 🌱, keto and 🍖. I have come to realize that the thing that works best for me is keto with some good slow carbs like beans etc.
I have strong interest in money and personal finances too. Money is the store of our excess value and energy, so I am super serious about it. I am fascinated by ₿ and big believer too. I think that ₿ is the answer to many problems that we currently have on our 🌎. Apart from that I invest in various things to grow my savings. My biggest investment so far is a piece of land in Sofia (Vitosha neighbourhood for the locals), where me and my brother plan to build a small residential building and sell units in the future. If that is too big thing to swallow, I will flip the land for profit(?). For now, I try to get its building permits right, which in Bulgaria is painfully slow process (years). In the years, I have been into stocks, P2P loans, trading etc. My start was very bad but gradually I learned my lesson.
Currently I am in the dad shoes too with my 3yr old 👦. He is consuming pretty much all my spare time, but boy, that is some quality time I must tell you.
This is it folks, I hope you enjoyed the long read. I will be glad if you come aboard and follow my journey.