Women in IT: Meet Kalina Zdravkova
Kalina talks about what inspires her and what it is like to be a mentor in Astea’s internship program.
My name is Kalina Zdravkova, 29, and I have been a software analyst at Astea Solutions for almost 9 years now.
Tell us how you started working at Astea?
During my second year at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, I had a professor who was already working at Astea. At the time, I didn’t know that Astea existed, but he knew me well enough to know that I would be perfect for this job. And he suggested that I go there for an interview the following day. I wasn’t looking for a job yet, because I wanted to finish my second year at university at least, but on the other hand, I was already eager to work. I went to Astea’s office and after a brief interview, I became a part of Astea’s analyst team, and that is how our long-term cooperation began.
Looking back, how do you find your current job at Astea?
It is more responsible, more comfortable, and more deliberate. It is still as dynamic and challenging, but in a different way. I’ve managed to learn from my mistakes and have become better at my job.
You’ve been at Astea for 9 years now. What was the funniest situation for you as an analyst?
I have worked with big and small teams, for big and small clients, and on various projects. There is always something funny. For instance, different ways of spelling or pronouncing our names by our American clients, messed up meeting appointments because of the different time zones, or someone dressed up in a Halloween bunny costume on one end, and a witch on the other, during a video conference call. Many times a dog, a cat (yes, mine too), or a toddler might make a cameo during a conference call.
But, regardless of whether we’re working with a small startup company, or a huge corporation, we always manage to establish a friendly relationship and a feeling of cooperation, in order to create something innovative and exciting for both parties.
If you had to explain in one sentence what your job was to a 5-year-old, what would you say?
My job is to help the people I work with to be calm and focused on their job, and to make sure that they have everything they might need, so that we could create something cool and useful together.
Name the three essential qualities of an analyst.
Patience, so that he could learn to work efficiently with different people. Curiosity, in order to be able to comprehend properly all the aspects of a certain issue, and to manage to develop the client’s idea even further. Calmness, so that he could make proper and logical decisions even in the most critical situations.
What inspires you?
I get inspired when I see that I have contributed to improving the quality of a certain process, product, and communication; when I have succeeded in improving the eagerness to work of our whole team; when the clients are satisfied with our results and they make sure that we know that.
What is it like to be one of the mentors in our Internship program?
Being a mentor is quite different from everything I’ve ever done at Astea. Communication is different, as well as the work dynamics. I keep reminding myself about the beginning of my carrier here, and I try to put myself in the place of my then colleagues and mentors.
In the current program, I play the role of a client, and it’s very interesting to be on the other side of the development process. However, at the same time, I get to see up-close all the development stages of the intern team and the project that they’ve been assigned to.
It is challenging and I would gladly continue to evolve as a mentor in our Internship program.
What would be your advice to the newcomers at Astea?
Communication is crucial. Every beginning is hard, whether in a new company, or on a different project in the same company, but we are all a team and we have the same goals. Talking to each other allows us to quickly identify the problem, find a solution, and fix it in an efficient way. This is valid not only for our colleagues, but for the clients as well. At the end of the day, we all want to create something exciting that would make us proud. There are no wrong questions.