Our Meet the Hiring Manager series allows you to get to know the people who grow teams at VMware Bulgaria. You will learn about our hiring managers’ career paths and what they look for in candidates during the interview experience. If learning and interview tips from our people interest you, we invite you to read on.
Meet Nikola Atanasov, a seasoned R&D manager, whose team delivers the Workspace ONE Intelligence SaaS solution at VMware. Their goal is to transform the way customers interact with the digital workspace.
Tell us about your career journey to date?
I fell in love with computers in 4th grade, it was the Bulgarian rip-off of Apple II – Pravets 82 and a book my mother bought me. I spent countless hours in my school computer room having fun with BASIC and a ton of games of course. FF 13 years later and I am now a junior developer in the Bulgarian office of a San Diego based hosting and ISP billing software company. I spent a few years there learning from the senior folks around me.
Then I moved to a service-oriented company where my team was building CRM solutions for UK telecoms. And again, I had the privilege to learn from exceptional senior engineers and a great leader who kept pushing me out of my comfort zone. Once I felt there was nothing else to learn nor contribute there, I moved to an outsourcing company which was gathering a team to build the software solution to support the core business of the first finance start-up in Bulgaria. Eventually, I became the team leader and as the project came to an end, I got an offer from that start-up to lead company software development. Later on, we got acquired by a large financial group where I spent six years expanding both the software solutions suite and the software development team.
At some point, I felt the need to change both the industry and the work model. I loved being close to my users and feel the pace of our software, but I was missing the dynamics of the product company. By that time VMware was the right place for me and 6 years later it remains the same. To be honest – I was not confident if I will be good enough for such a company, but my manager-to-be was very convincing so I jumped right in. I am grateful to him to this day – it is still an amazing journey! I had my ups and downs, I learned a lot and I still do. I love my work and my team here, as well as all the people I had the chance to meet, work with and become friends with.
How is VMware different from any other tech company you have worked for?
VMware stands out in many ways. For me though, the slogan that sums it up is “Force for Good”. For VMware, these are not just marketing words. Our company provides a broad range of options for everyone to join this force – starting from the technology which helps the world in many ways and ends up with community service where the company matches your donation. It is a powerful concept and an exceptional community of people making a real impact on society.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you moved upwards in your career?
I would name it - always keep searching for the ways to get better. That applies to both your professional and personal life. You must find the right balance and your pace, though. There will be times when you need to focus on the execution and business goals. There might be times when you need to focus on your family and slow down your career. This should not stop you from being creative and proactive in self-improvement. It will eventually pay you back.
Your team is hiring. Can you tell us more about your organization’s charter?
We are living in interesting times nowadays (and you can interpret this both as a blessing or a curse). With the broad diversity of devices used by companies and employees it becomes a real challenge for IT departments to keep up with end-user demands keep the assets secure. This is where the Workspace ONE platform comes in place and helps many companies around the world. My team delivers the Workspace ONE Intelligence SaaS solution. It gathers data from all the devices managed by the IT department and provides dashboards and reports. More importantly, it provides automated alerts and actions to quickly resolve a variety of issues – be it poor user experience, security breach or device crash. Considering the new normal of working from everywhere we must adapt now. It is essential for IT departments to be able to identify and automatically resolve an end-user device issue even before they find it out, thus keeping productivity and user experience intact. This is where our product helps.
If someone reading this was coming to an interview with you tomorrow, what interview tips would you give them?
Be yourself, be honest and real. Make sure you understand what we are doing and how we are doing it – ask questions. Make sure this is the right place for you – if it does not excite you, keep searching. We are a diverse team of open-minded people. We love what we do, and we strive to do it the right way.
Don't be afraid to share your mistakes from the past, and be prepared with your lessons-learned, because this is how we improve our team and our product each day.
And one more thing – bring your best technical skills – our engineering interviewers are tough, but cool!
Could you see yourself working on a team with a leader like Nikola? Check out the open roles in Workspace ONE Intelligence team: