Meet the speakers: Igor Stoyanov, Sr. Director, R&D

In a series of interviews, we are introducing our colleagues who you can hear at “Back to the Source” event in London on October 24th. They will share their perspectives of what it feels like to be back home after years of building life and career abroad. Take the chance to ask questions, engage in open discussions and gain insights “from the source”.REGISTER FOR THE EVENTIgor is well-seasoned technology leader, software manager, architect and hands-on developer, with deep knowledge and expertise in cloud scale distributed systems, resource allocation and orchestration. He has over 15 years of experience leading, building, mentoring and managing teams as well as developing large scale distributed systems infrastructure software for compute intensive workloads using Java and other technologies.Igor is currently Sr. Director of Engineering for the Cloud Automation Platform at VMware. Before that he worked as Chief Technical Architect for Cloud Automation product lines that powers cloud service lifecycle automation for VMware’s Software Defined Datacenter.  In the early years of his career, Igor worked at industry influential companies like ThoughtWorks defining the trends in XP programing, Agile, Lean and many other engineering practices well known today as Continues Delivery and DevOps. Igor holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from Loyola University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the UNWE in Sofia, Bulgaria.

What is your international work experience?

I completed my education in the USA and stayed there for the following 15 years working for companies in both Chicago and the Silicon Valley. This is where I started my family too.

When did you start thinking of returning to Bulgaria?

We were doing well careerwise but we’ve always had an attachment to friends and family back home. As I was watching the IT sector in Bulgaria grow, we started discussing the option to go back. Lots of international companies now have representative R&D offices here working with advanced technology and innovative projects. Among these you find VMware, SAP, Financial Times, Uber, Docker, the World Bank is coming too.

What factors did you consider when making the decision?

For us there were 3 main factors to consider, which I think apply to most people.The first one is career opportunities and good remuneration. In the IT sector in Bulgaria we have both. There’s the presence of big enterprising companies and a flourishing start-up ecosystem. Bulgaria is one of the start-up hubs of Central and Eastern Europe. You can find lots of interesting and well-paid career options. The IT industry is one of the driving forces behind the economy in Bulgaria.The second one is your partner’s wellbeing and career. My wife, who has a background in pharmaceuticals, was able to find a good career opportunity as well.The third and probably most complex one is children and their education. Our two kids started their studies in the USA and I can say that the primary and secondary public education here is times better. It is no surprise that the Bulgarian math and physics school teams win tons of recognitions at international Olympiads.All of the above, plus the fact that our relatives and families are here gave us the courage to take the step back. Of course, there is room for improvement here and there (like the infrastructure) but everyone living abroad is aware there are positives and negatives to anything, and it is important to consider what matters to you most.

How did your career at VMware progress?

One of the advantages at VMware is that you can choose to develop in either a technical or a management track. I started as a manager, responsible for a team developing a new company product. Then I switched to the technical track to become the architect of the company’s main cloud automation product. Today I am Senior Director responsible for the entire Cloud Automation platform business unit.The dynamics of the development of the IT market in Bulgaria allows for rapid career growth in different directions and companies like VMware provide challenging opportunities.

What differentiates VMware from other employers?

Even though VMware is as a company with 21 years of history, it has kept its entrepreneurial spirit. Our clients are among the 500 largest companies in the world, which allows you to work on products that transform entire industries. The other unique thing about VMware is the amazing people you work with.

How do you evaluate your decision to return to Bulgaria?

This is actually the second time I have returned to Bulgaria. Going back to the three factors: my career has evolved incredibly, I’m not sure I would have been able to progress so quickly in the US. My wife is happy with her work. My kids have taken the entry exams in some of the toughest schools, studying and achieving higher scores than they would have achieved in America. It will take a few more years to do a full flashback, but at present we are really happy where we are.REGISTER FOR THE EVENT