Deyan Slanchev (’15, EMBA'21) Selected as One of Top 20 Software Specialists in Bulgaria: Interview
Deyan Slanchev (’15), BA alumnus and current AUBG EMBA student, has just been selected as one of the top 20 software specialists in Bulgaria by DevStyleR, a leading tech media outlet in the country. Deyan, who studied Business Administration and Computer Science at AUBG and is now in his fourth semester of studies at the university’s Executive MBA, works as Delivery Lead at Saorsa Ltd.
We are republishing DevStyleR’s interview with our alumnus and former President of StartUp@Blagoevgrad, who talks about what it takes to be successful in the IT industry. The interview has been translated from Bulgarian.
How does it feel to be part of this ranking?
Great! I am sincerely happy that the people I have worked with rate my work so highly. Thanks to everyone who voted for me (willingly and unwillingly). Also, thanks to DevStyleR for organizing this ranking.
What are the qualities that a specialist in your field of work must possess?
I think that in order for a person to be classified as a "specialist," they must possess a range of qualities and must have the ability to apply them in their daily work. Still, if I have to list several qualities, I think a software professional should be:
* A team player - We all know the film stereotype of the shy weirdo who works wonders hacking governments for breakfast, yet has trouble fitting into society and communicating. As intriguing as this scenario may be for Hollywood, it simply doesn't work in the software industry.
The job of the software specialist is to solve problems and build products, not to write ingenious lines of code in the dark in the basement. He or she must be able to communicate with other developers, teams, PMs, QAs, customers, guarantors, and whatnot.
* Curious - Curiosity is the power that gets you to try and learn new things all the time. This quality helps people conquer peaks that once seemed impossible. It may sound cliché, but curiosity is what will push you to read that article about the new software; to rearrange things and see what will happen; to check out if that piece of technology would be interesting to you; to ask yourself how to make mobile or web or desktop applications. And so, little by little… you know how it goes.
* Attentive to detail - Strange as it may sound to non-technical people, computers only do what they are told to do - nothing more, nothing less. It is extremely important for us as "givers" of these commands to be sufficiently detailed and precise as we try to instruct the machine to do exactly what we want. A missed comma, an extra/missed distance or a loss of context can make even the most experienced professional's life miserable.
Do you have a golden rule that you follow in your work?
A golden rule I always apply is “Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.”
To be a good software professional, one has to perform their daily tasks without losing focus on the ultimate goal. The balance between short-term tasks and long-term goals allows you to easily find a solution to unexpected situations. You have to think about the ways the thing you create today will contribute to a certain product over time; the way it communicates with other components. Knowing why what I do today is important allows me to concentrate and give the best that I can.
What are the best ways to deal with the challenges?
I don't think I'll surprise anyone by saying that our industry is quite dynamic and I wouldn't exaggerate if I say that challenges lurk everywhere. Although the challenges are mainly technical, the story does not end there – they could also be related to problematic relationships with teams, customers, and stakeholders; management of expectations and resources; "Language barrier" between technical and non-technical people, etc.
For me, one of the best ways to deal with the challenges is: Simplify it! Technology is big, complex, and complicated? Simplify it by breaking it into small and understandable parts. Non-technical people don't understand why this works and can't be done otherwise? Simplify it - give an analog with everyday life or draw the working mechanism to demonstrate. You can always find a way.
I'd also like to add that I am fortunate to work in an amazing team that is always ready to help and take me through any huge challenge. I am grateful to them.
What’s your advice for the beginners in your profession? How does one become successful in the IT sector?
As in any other profession, becoming successful in IT basically requires a lot of work and a lot of learning. Although many people imagine it as sitting in an air-conditioned room in a comfortable chair and receiving staggering sums, the truth is that a lot of effort is required.
The only advice I can give is: be proactive, learn and try - technologies, methods, ways, whatever it is… it will work out!
Oh yes… And get ready to reinstall the operating systems of all of your acquaintances.