What does the future look like for the IT industry? What should we do to give it better prospects? What reputation do Bulgarian IT specialists have worldwide? Our CTO, Veli Pehlivanov, shares his vision on those topics.
Why is There a Stereotype That Programmers Are Short-tempered, Introverted, Non-communicative People?
Veli: We, the engineers, like to deal with abstract ideas and technologies. That is the opposite of being social, developing relationships, and communicating with others. For example, I’d be a sales expert if I didn’t want to deal with computers but with people.
However, as a software engineer, I must be able to talk to the people who assign projects to me. They must understand the quality of my work. That’s why I have to acquire the skills to speak at a high level, despite being introverted.
Both communication and technical work is essential, and if someone can combine them, that makes them a precious prospect in our field. Miracles can happen when a good programmer is also a good communicator.
What Are the Other Essential Qualities to Succeed in This Occupation?
Veli: The best engineers have good communication, technical, and analytical skills and, more importantly - are emotionally intelligent.
We are social beings, and our primary means of communication are human relationships. Communication skills and emotional intelligence allow you to understand the other person’s thoughts. Such people can advance in software development, benefit the business, and add value.
Is It Ever Too Late to Become a Programmer?
Veli: It’s never too late! One of our significant customers in the US has its software team, and some of the people in it are ex-police officers with over 20-30 years of experience in their previous occupations.
So, They must be Good for QA Engineers Because They Know How to Find Errors?
Veli: They are good for both programmers and QA. And they are an example of how it is never too late to do something you are passionate about.
There is a lot of growth, development, and improvement in technology.
Our team has people with experience in various fields - former lawyers, architects, and finance officers. It should always be possible to follow your dreams. These people show that they have made the right choice. They put all their enthusiasm into IT.
The Software Industry in Bulgaria is Attracting More and More Attention. Are There Areas and Technologies Where We Excel in Some Way?
Veli: We are very good at algorithmic knowledge and complex programming models.
The more technology develops, the more we become generalists as engineers - you know your platform and how it works, but you don’t necessarily understand the algorithm that lies “underneath”. More is needed. You need strong mathematical and analytical skills to cope.
Bulgarian engineers have those skills because of our vital education in mathematics and the abstract sciences, logic, chemistry, and physics. That helps us be better at algorithms than the average engineer anywhere else.
For example, a German client contacted us with a request to solve an algorithmic problem. Their architects and chief engineers had failed. We developed a model and a visual component and solved that problem in three months.
What Does the World Think about Bulgaria? Is our Labor Significantly Cheaper Than in the West, and is This Changing?
Veli: Five or ten years ago, we were in the “Eastern European programmers” group. High level of development at low prices, which even then was approaching the pricing level in Asia.
That is not the case today. The standard is rising, and so are the expectations, increasing employer costs. Many other countries beat us regarding price, and we need to be bigger in supply to compensate with quantity. What can set us apart is the quality of our work. We have the potential to show results at a global level.
Does This Mean a More Active and United Software Community - in both Companies and in the Programmers' Network?
Veli: Yes, here we are talking about a transformation in the thinking of the entire sector. It requires much more focus on personnel development, learning potential, high-added value, and quality of work.
Yes, it’s hard to find professionals in the IT industry, but that should not be an excuse to work with the wrong people. At Resolute, we don’t compromise on recruitment, no matter how urgently we need people. We only work with candidates who can demonstrate the technical and soft skills we require.
We value the high development potential the most, as the momentary capabilities of engineers are not constant over time. Today we work with some technologies, and two years later, we may work with others. The only thing consistent with us is developing and acquiring new skills.
"That is the secret to the success of our little IT society. A focus on quality at business, educational, and societal levels."
Why is There a Labor Shortage? Isn't the Industry Highly Paid?
Veli: Software development is growing at breakneck speed. We see a universal increase in the contribution of software to the quality of life. Accordingly, the demand for solutions is growing, and the supply needs to respond, especially in Bulgaria, where the industry offers a huge difference in income compared to others.
What is the Logic Behind the Decision of Resolute Never Growing in More than 100 Employees?
Veli: Team culture and cohesion are more important than the number of people. Our founders come from companies with hundreds or thousands of people globally, in which the team culture and the collective image are blurred.
We promised not to compromise the happiness and satisfaction of the people who work with us. That means we automatically excluded becoming a large company.
Why exactly 100 people? Studies show that a person can have up to 200 meaningful social connections. We spend half of our life at work, which means we can have up to 100 significant contacts there.
Where Do You and the Team Dream of Being in 10 Years?
Veli: We will still be successful, satisfied, working engineers and leaders. Creating software is a team sport and we are good at it.
We are not a startup that follows the typical, now trendy funding trends. We do business the conventional way, with independent cash flow that allows us to grow organically. We have the satisfaction of doing our job well every day.
So it’s no wonder that we will still be the same Resolute with 99 people after ten years. Just more successful and even more satisfied and happy than today.