At VMware, our student interns are empowered with the resources and tools to thrive while innovating what’s next for themselves and the information technology community. Connect with Mariela Kasovska, 2014 Technical University of Sofia graduate and MTS intern at VMware Bulgaria, and learn how her own inner drive to solve tough technological constraints combined with the encouragement of others inspires her to pursue her dream job.
Role: MTS (Member of Technical Staff) Intern
Office Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
University: Technical University of Sofia
Twitter handle: @marielakas
Who or what influenced your decision to study computer science in university and pursue a career in the field? Why are you passionate about this field?
Since I was a youngster, foreign languages have always been my passion. Therefore, I originally thought that my higher education and future job would be somehow connected to Philology. Contrary to my expectations, I began to discover an interest in applied sciences. My mother, who is a software developer, encouraged me to take some additional classes in mathematics and computer science. From where I am standing now, I can’t thank her enough for pointing me in the right direction. I remember how fulfilled I felt when I solved a trivial programming task in Pascal for the first time. Everyone should feel that way in his or her workplace, right? From these experiences, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the Technical University of Sofia, where I majored in Computer Systems and Technologies. The fundamental knowledge that I obtained while in university, as well as the practical skills that I developed in additional programming courses, convinced me that being a software developer was my dream job. Studying modern technologies, creating something new, and constantly facing interesting problems is what excites me and motivates me to bring my best to work each day.
What has empowered you to be successful in your technical studies?
In my opinion, many students have adjustment issues when first starting their higher education. The fact that they’re entering a different stage of their lives is stressful and a little bit scary (or at least it was for me). The motivation of pursuing what I love helped me overcome these issues and succeed in my studies. Additionally, time management skills and good study habits, which I don’t think are inborn traits but developed over time, were a key factor in my success. Moreover, self-discipline, self-confidence, and a positive attitude also played a huge role in my growth. Last, but not least, I made time to have fun and discover hobbies outside of programming to participate in so that I could clear my head and rest from studying from time to time.
You’re currently interning as a Member of Technical Staff here at VMware. Can you tell us a little bit about the project you’re working on and what it has been like collaborating with the R&D team in Sofia?
The project that I am working on with my mentor and another intern has been interesting and innovative. We are developing an exploratory next generation user interface for vSphere – VMware’s virtualization platform. Our goal is to experiment with new technologies such as the ECMAScript 6 standard, modern libraries like Facebook’s React.js and the Node.js platform in order to build a lightweight user interface application.
Collaborating with the VMware R&D team has been a wonderful and really useful experience. My colleagues, especially my mentor, have always helped me and shared their knowledge with me when I needed a hand. My internship at VMware is actually my first job, so if it weren’t for my teammates here at VMware, it would have be hard for me to adapt to the workflow and the new environment. I am glad that VMware gave me the opportunity to be a part of such a great team of professionals who are so patient and cooperative. Besides working together, we also enjoy getting to know one another better over lunch or other fun activities, which has made fitting in even easier.
Share a fun VMware memory. Why does this memory stick out to you as being fun?
A month ago, the Career Days event took place at the Technical University of Sofia, where leading companies from different fields presented in front of the students future internship and job opportunities. I had the chance to volunteer and share my internship experiences with students at VMware’s booth. It was a fun experience because I got to connect with a variety of people who had interesting questions about VMware, my role, and how I pursued a career in information technology. It was great to see how many young women were interested in pursuing careers as a software developer, which was not the case a few years ago when I was still in school. Since there are currently more men working in the technology space, a lot of the female students had questions around how it was like to navigate a career in the tech space as a woman. It made me happy to see that my personal experiences were having a direct impact in shaping female students decisions to pursue internships and jobs at technology companies.
What advice would you share with students looking to pursue a career in information technology?
After talking to students at the Career Days event, I noticed that most of them, who had the right education and wanted to pursue a career in the IT sector were scared to go to a job or internship interview. The most common answer I got when asking them where this fear comes from was that they wouldn’t be able to answer the interview questions because the companies’ expectations were too high. Well, of course they are, as they should be, especially when we are talking about a leading company like VMware. My advice to the students who are interested in a career in IT is to study hard, aim high, and believe in yourself because even the best software developers were students at one point in time.
What are you looking forward to in the New Year for information technology?
I am thrilled to see how Cloud Computing will evolve the next year in terms of using an application simultaneously on multiple devices. Additionally, since smart TVs and wearable tech such as glasses and watches, are becoming even more popular, I am excited to see how these developments will influence Web design in 2015 and beyond.
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