Do you remember what ignited your passion for Computer Science? At VMware, our people are co-creators of a thriving community, empowering our people to take bold bets to forge change across the industry. Meet Ivan, a student of the University of Manchester and VMware intern in Sofia, Bulgaria, and discover the community that inspires him to drive what’s next for himself and for information technology.
Role: Member of Technical Staff Intern
Office Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
University: University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Twitter handle: @IvanKalchev1
What inspired you to study Computer Science at your university?
The first time I encountered computing was when I was twelve years old at school. It was the first time my classmates and I studied Information Technology as a subject in class. We solved trivial algorithmic tasks in the C programming language, and since my father is also a computer scientist, I could build on those studies at home and ask for help with the things that I couldn’t understand as a twelve-year old. Ever since then, I knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” Computer Science has always been like a hobby. I have the kind of fun that other fellow computer scientists can understand when tinkering with technology, and my interest and knowledge continues to grow. Even though the subject was not the primary focus of my primary school studies, when the time came to look for a university, I knew without a doubt that I should pursue Computer Science, as it was the most natural thing to me. I have not regretted my choice so far.
How did you discover VMware Sofia’s Talent Boost, and what are your takeaways from participating in the program?
Even though I’m studying abroad in the UK at the University of Manchester, I use every vacation to fly back home (Bulgaria) to have some fun with family and friends. This past year, I decided to grow my skills and started pursuing a career while being at home. I applied for an internship at VMware Bulgaria and was offered a place in the VMware Talent Boost academy as a course preceding my three-month internship.
Talent Boost academy was great fun, but also very challenging and involving. Even though the class was four hours each afternoon, I needed the whole day to prepare and work through the examples from the previous sessions. The material was clearly presented and the experience of the speakers, professionals from VMware, was unparalleled. There was even a challenge where every member of the group developed a program that had to interact with a server and do some clever computation in order to get as many points as possible. Overall, I can say that the academy not only helped me with my university studies, but also helped me get insight into what a real-world industrial standard development can look like.
You’re currently wrapping up a three-month R&D internship project here at VMware. Can you tell us a little bit about the project and what it was like collaborating with the team in Sofia?
My project was aimed at improving the VMware internal build system and automating several of the processes that the developers did manually. Scale is really a factor at VMware and the build system needed to provide more ways for the developers to observe, analyze, and act upon the great amounts of code and external systems being involved.
Working on the R&D team at VMware Sofia was very rewarding, as the team did not hesitate to share their knowledge and experience with me. As I mentioned earlier, scale really plays a part here and without my team giving me a hand from time to time, I would have had a really hard time adapting to the environment. But it wasn’t only the work that my colleagues helped me adapt to at VMware – we also went to lunch together every day, I participated in my team’s weekly meetings, and we had fun offsite during outings such as bowling night. Opportunities like this to connect beyond our work really made me feel like a member of the team and that my input mattered, which made the experience go by fast.
What is one of your favorite fun VMware memories?
When I was about to go back to finish my studies in the UK, the team organized a going away event specifically for me. We all went out to have a snack and get a drink. We had a really nice chat and there was not a single word about work, which made for a great evening.
What are you looking forward to within information technology, and what part do you hope to play in its evolution?
The world is getting more and more connected, and there is a need more than ever for reliable, scalable and adaptable distributed systems. Security in those systems is also an important factor that often stays neglected. I am passionate about contributing in this area and am fortunate that my team at VMware was working on this initiative.
What advice would you share with students looking to obtain an internship at VMware?
Go for it! My internship at VMware really changed the way that I thought about Computer Science within the industry and as a whole, the way problems need to be addressed, what to watch out for, and how good team work is needed to achieve high quality results. Be prepared to give your all, as it will definitely be worth it.
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