Career Journey University Talent

Gabriela Georgieva, VMware, takes podium at the Hack AUBG 4.0 hackaton

Gabriela Georgieva is a full-time employee at VMware and this is her story about the hackathon
event, as well as her journey to VMware, right after her second year at university.

The Hackathon

In the beginning of April, HackAUBG 4.0 took place at the American University in Bulgaria
(AUBG), located in Blagoevgrad. HackAUBG is an annual competition, organized by The Hub
the Computer Science club of AUBG. The Hub is founded in 2016 and represents the IT
community on campus. The club helps students participate in global tech competitions, work on
projects together and meet like-minded people interested in technology and entrepreneurship.
HackAUBG is designed to challenge young developers to solve real-life problems using software
solutions. Every year the topic for the competition is different, with this year’s topic being Life
Optimization. 12 teams were competing, and after 48 hours of coding and brainstorming, 3
teams won the judges’ vote. Among them was my team – Team Upgrade. The team won 3rd
place with our mobile application called UPSave.

After the topic was announced, we had around an hour and a half to come up with a solution
that… well… optimizes life. In the brainstorming phase, we iterated ideas ranging from
healthcare improvement, through facilitating university application to what we, as students,
struggle most with – saving money and time. Our focus was to create something that is easy to
use and requires little to no interaction, while being helpful on a daily basis.
This is how UPSave was born, a mobile app that relies entirely on mobile notifications to
operate. As a member of the team explained it – “an app that comes to you, and not you to the
app”. The idea of the app is to track transactions from all your bank accounts and to notify you
when you spend some percentage of your daily budget. The app only requires initial
configuration such as registration, connection to the bank accounts, and setting the daily budget.
From there, the user can track their daily spend, without even checking the app. A feature that we
thought would be helpful to the user is the generation of a monthly report that provides
personalized financial advice based on data from a third-party API service – Plaid API. For
example, the user can see how much they spend on clothing, groceries, gas, and entertainment
compared to their income. The technologies we used are Android Studio, MERN stack, Python,
Firebase, and Plaid API.

Throughout the event, we had the opportunity to meet like-minded people and learn innovative
technologies but the most valuable of all – receive guidelines from professionals in the field that
The Hub managed to attract for the event. Called “mentors”, their knowledge and experience
helped us shape our ideas better and made the process of development easier. Our team was
especially inspired and motivated by one of the mentors – Gavril Tonev, R&D Manager at
VMware, who gave us valuable insights and guided us throughout the event. An important part
of the competition is developing a business plan and showing how your product can be helpful to
society. Gavril helped us understand better the problem we are solving and how we can solve it
in a meaningful way.

VMware has supported The Hub and HackAUBG for 3 years now. Through The Hub and the
immense involvement of the company in our student activities, I got the opportunity to learn
more about the focus of the company, get a glimpse of the culture at VMware and the team
behind it.

Joining VMware

I began my path in VMware by applying for the Talent Boost Academy. I was given the
opportunity to learn from engineers and developers with extensive experience and knowledge
about core concepts of Computer Science but also about the latest technologies in the field. I was
introduced to some of the best practices one must employ when developing reliable, secure,
robust, and maintainable software. The curriculum was designed for university students who had
a good understanding of the theory but lack practice and experience.

After I finished the academy, I accepted an offer to join the CMBU DevOps team in Sofia as an
intern. At VMware, interns work on their own projects guided by their mentor and their manager.
After 6 months, VMware organizes an intern expo where all VMware employees have the
chance to see what the interns have been working on. This is a wonderful opportunity for interns
to both practice their presentation skills and share with the company a project they have devoted
their time to.

I was lucky to work on a quite an interesting project called Secrets Tracker. It is a tool that scans
repositories for a predefined list of words, usually passwords, credentials, and other secrets, and
generates a report with information about where these words were found. Our goal was also to
create a user-friendly web application that makes it easy to use the tool, i.e., scan repositories,
see the results, and share them. The technologies used in the project are Spring Boot, Angular,
Postgres, and Docker.

My first significant achievement at VMware was winning the popular vote for the best-presented
project at the intern expo. This achievement, however, would not have been possible without my
mentor Kostadin Samardzhiev. He guided me throughout my 6-month journey, shared with me
his knowledge and experience, showed me what skills I was lacking, and helped me improve
them. It is safe to say that he still stimulates my professional growth and encourages me to do
better every day.

Currently, I am a full-time employee in the CMBU DevOps team in Sofia and I could not
express enough my gratitude to VMware for giving me the chance to work with such inspiring
people on such interesting projects!

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