With over 50+ locations throughout the world, VMware is truly a global community made of passionate employees who thrive on collaborating together to bring industry-changing IT innovations to life. Each site also carries its own uniqueness, which is why we are highlighting office stories through our VMware Office Spotlight series. Get a flavor for what the VMware Bulgaria office in Sofia, Bulgaria is like today!
The VMware Bulgaria office is located in Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria. Sofia is the largest city in the country, situated in Western Bulgaria at the foot of the beautiful Vitosha Mountain. The city abounds in rich history and is an important cultural and historic center not only for Bulgaria but for the whole Balkan region. Today, in the backdrop of its rich history, Bulgaria is home to some major universities, cultural institutions, and thriving businesses.
The VMware office in Bulgaria was established in October 2007 when VMware acquired the leading Bulgarian consulting company Sciant. What attracted VMware in the first place was the talent of the local engineers, who at the time numbered 170 people.
Five years after the acquisition, VMware Bulgaria has doubled its team by attracting the best people not only from the Bulgarian market but also by tapping into the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regional talent pool.
As of August 2012, our Bulgarian office has more than 340 qualified engineers contributing to a number of global and local projects, enjoying ample career prospects and all the advantages of being part of the global leader in virtualization and cloud computing.
Due to its growing number of employees, the company had to move offices in 2009. It has gradually overtaken six floors of a modernly furnished business building, which provides top class working conditions, various recreational areas for tennis, fitness, chill-out zones, a spacious cafeteria with a stunning city view, car and bike parking lots, and much more.
The VMware Bulgaria site is the largest Research and Development center for VMware in EMEA, focusing on VMware’s future technologies in the Cloud Management and Automation space. Some of the best Software Developers, Quality Engineers, Technical Writers and Product Managers work for our team in Bulgaria. And of course, let’s not forget the experienced colleagues in Technical Operations, Finance, HR/Recruiting and Facilities.
Projects at the Bulgaria office
The team in Bulgaria is focusing in the areas of Cloud Management and Automation space and has a deep domain expertise in vSphere management, availability and disaster recovery (SRM), cloud management (vCD), orchestration and automation (VCO, PowerCli).
What makes Bulgaria unique?
VMware Bulgaria is the anchor R&D center for VMware in EMEA, providing high customer value through Innovation and Product Delivery in the areas of Cloud Management and Automation and through a close alignment with the EMEA market.
Some of the things that make our office truly unique are the expertise of our employees, the team spirit we share in Sofia and the international environment we all contribute to every day.
At our site employees come from diverse ethnic backgrounds (Bulgarian, American, Spanish, Greek, Polish, Syrian, Russian, and Israeli). We also work on collaborative projects with colleagues from our other R&D locations worldwide, which helps us enlarge not only our cultural but professional perspective. The collaboration with our colleagues from abroad takes place in the form of audio and videoconference meetings or visits to the other R&D offices worldwide. The time difference is always a challenge for international companies but thanks to the good will from all sides we always manage to find a solution that fits all.
Throughout the years the VMware Bulgaria site has managed to grow not only in staff numbers but also in importance to become the largest Global Development Center in the EMEA region and the third largest R&D site globally. We are also recognized as one the most successful VMware R&D centers throughout the world.
VMware Bulgaria’s team is often described as being very focused, result-oriented and very cohesive. Over the years the team in Sofia has built a deep domain expertise in some of the company’s strategic products. Working on these innovative and break-through technologies creates unique opportunities and a constant knowledge and career development for our team.
How do VMware’s core values come to life at the Bulgaria office?
Our culture is all about Passion for what we do, innovation in everything we do, perfect execution through unfailing teamwork and collaboration, while continuing to learn as we develop and as always giving back to the communities that we live in and to the honorable causes that we care about.
Our passion comes from the realization that we are working on products that are best in class. How do we know that? Through our direct contact with the customers. A most recent example was a technology preview event, which took place in Sofia in June. During the event we had customers come from all over Europe to meet our developers, test new products versions and provide us with feedback. It was really invigorating to hear what they had to say about a feature you’ve been working on for quite some time. It was not only motivating, but eye opening as well.
The innovation spirit is something that we share in Sofia as well. Being one of the most mature offices outside of Palo Alto we are privileged to work on some of the most innovative projects in the company. We showcase our innovative ideas during a number of events – for example, the annual Open House Day that was organized here in Sofia focused on innovation.
Our progress as an R&D site would have been impossible if we had not worked as a team in an environment, which is open, collaborative and promotes continuous learning from each other. This is why we organize internal technology events where apart from stage demos and presentations on innovative projects from Sofia teams, we have an expo with booths and poster sessions where teams allow others to get hands-on with their products, thus able to learn and provide feedback to each other.
Teamwork goes hand in hand with team play – apart from having multiple sports group activities within and outside the office we recently managed to win the VMware global sports contest – Amazing Race. All these seemingly little things and achievements can do miracles when it comes to getting one to feel apart of a community where people care for each other.
Last but not least giving back to the community is a top priority not only for the local management but within the hearts of the Sofia employees as well.
Staff and management join forces in organizing technical conferences and contests aimed at local expert groups in Software Development, Quality Engineering and Technical Publications. This is not only beneficial for the local expert groups but it also has a great internal team building effect.
We cannot miss the local academic community. We will soon be introducing the VMware IT Academy into the leading universities in Bulgaria. On a purely self-driven and volunteering basis we have colleagues who teach virtualization courses in the universities where they have graduated from. Others prefer to provide career counseling to local high schools where they present the various career prospects in the IT field.
We take it as our personal responsibility to serve the underprivileged groups of society who do not have the opportunities that we’ve had. We carry out lots of environmental, school renovating and fund raising campaigns. With time we came to our biggest project, led by one of our Senior Software Engineers. For a second consecutive year we are organizing a computer camp for kids aged 9-17 from an orphanage about 100 km away from Sofia. We started last year with a camp for a small group of 15 kids, financed by staff donations, and today, thanks to the financial support of the VMware Foundation, the work of about 30 volunteers from the Sofia R&D office and the cooperation with local NGOs such as the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Hope for Us foundation, we can now organize camps to cover all 70 of the children from this orphanage.
The Year ahead
We are very excited about 2013. We are planning for continued growth by adding some of the best professionals from EMEA to our team, new and even more challenging projects, lots of innovative opportunities and last but not least carrying out more social and voluntary projects and knowledge sharing community events.
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