The Scalefocus Data team knows how to do magic. They can take raw pieces of information and turn them into gold. True masters of their craft and a tightly knit bunch of professionals who have a healthy obsession with growth. The team thrives on solving complex problems for clients and on pushing the boundaries of what Data can do for a business. Unlike other tech fields, the Data unit at Scalefocus has a strong female presence, which is super refreshing and makes for a great team dynamic. Learn more about the people who make the line “Data is the new oil” a valid point.
Introduce us to your team – how many specialists are there and what do you do?
Instead of our ‘team,’ it would be more accurate to say our ‘teams’ since we are more than 30 specialists divided into smaller units based on technical specialization and location. We have teams in Sofia, Burgas and Skopje but they are all like a big family. We deal with everything related to data and its subsequent processing. In other words, we give data value and turn it into information that speaks to our customers. Based on it, they can make business decisions. We are responsible for the entire lifecycle of data, or the data journey: collection, storage, processing, and analysis in OLAP and OLTP systems.
What technologies do you use?
If we had to list all technologies our specialists work with, it would take quite a long time. Generally, we keep up with new and rapidly developing technologies, such as Azure Stack. Of course, new versions aren’t necessarily better than older ones when we talk about technology, so we try to balance them to be of maximum help to our customers. Practically, we are technology agnostic, which means our clients’ needs and their infrastructure type determine what solutions we work with. We approach our tasks conceptually – first, we determine the desired outcome, and only then select the technologies we think will help us achieve optimal results.
What projects are you working on?
There are no specific projects we are intentionally seeking out. Ideally, a project would offer us the opportunity to apply our skills in the best way and build on them. In our portfolio, you can find projects for banking and FinTech organizations, airlines, automotive giants, insurers, tech companies, energy and telecommunications leaders, and food and beverage manufacturers. From a technology perspective, we are currently focused on Big Data, ML and AI.
How do you work and how often do you go to the office?
At the start of the pandemic, our company was among the first to introduce the Work from Everywhere Model. Even today, it’s convenient for most colleagues who balance their professional commitments with family obligations, such as dropping the children off at school and picking them up. People in the team choose the most optimal way to structure their day, and some of us prefer to work in the office almost daily. We have freedom, and each of our sub-teams has its own dynamic. We usually get together at least once a month, and if we can’t all be in the office, we choose an alternative time and place to see each other and catch up.
How does a typical workday look like for people in your team?
A cup of flavorful coffee is a must at the beginning of the day, sometimes more than one 😊. As programmers we are known for turning this divine beverage into well-structured code. The rest of the day differs for each specialist depending on what they are working on. Generally, however, we all review and respond to emails, take part in daily meetings, and document the completed work on our projects. The rest of the time we apply our technical magic to complete tasks set by the client.
What other teams and departments do you collaborate with most frequently?
In the majority of our projects, our work is most closely tied to the business stakeholders, our clients. They give us detailed information about the data they have, where it’s stored, and how they want it to be processed to get the most value out of it. This is also related to direct communication with our clients’ internal teams, including management. Sometimes we collaborate with Business Analysts, and if we work with other technology teams, it’s mostly Java, .NET or Python. We also interact with project managers and QA.
Tell us about something your team is proud of.
We are proud of the values we have made fundamental for every aspect of our work; we are proud of the trainees we help fulfill their potential. We are also proud of our team spirit that makes it possible to achieve our goals. We don’t give up in the face of difficulties and we take responsibility for our actions. Last but not least, we are proud that our customers are satisfied as confirmed by the dozens of successfully completed projects.
What do you like doing together outside of work?
Outside of work, we like to spend time together, we organize summer vacations where we take a break from our professional duties and have quality fun. We also do mountain hikes, and when the season permits, indulge in full-on skiing and snowboarding experiences. And of course, we love good drinks, movie nights and board games.
What brings your team closer together?
What brings us closer together is our desire to develop and to constantly help each other. We do knowledge-sharing sessions and organize workshops on tech topics. In this way, we pass on what we have learned to colleagues who are looking for new and interesting information. The fact that we are in 3 different locations and of different nationalities is not something that separates us, on the contrary – we are looking for common ground to become an even stronger team. The other important ingredient that we simply cannot do without is our sense of humor. It helps us decompress and not take ourselves too seriously.
How do new people fit into your team?
We try to recognize the people who would be a cultural fit at the pre-selection stage, and then their inclusion in the team happens very smoothly. In most cases, new people feel settled in and relaxed by the second week. We make a conscious effort to understand their interests and the areas where they want to develop. The goal is to direct resources towards their development not only in the context of where the company wants and needs expertise, but also in the technology fields they are truly passionate about.
How would you answer the question, “If you are…….…, come join our team”?
“If you are an adventurer, come join our team!” The word ‘adventure’ conveys two important things: the ultimate goal we are pursuing and the steps we have to take towards it. The path is not always predictable, but the desire to achieve what we set out to do keeps us moving. When there is a common goal, the people you achieve it with often become friends who give you unconditional support.
Nikolay is among the young people who had the opportunity to build their lives abroad but returned to Bulgaria. In 2009, he went to France to study Economics and Accounting but realized finance wasn’t his vocation; instead, he discovered his passion for technology. It led him to his master’s degree and then to an internship that turned into his first job. He became interested in databases and worked hard on his tech skills and on developing his business expertise. This is how Niki created his dual competence and became a sought-after professional.
After a decade in Toulouse, he decided to come home because he believed he took the most from his stay in France and wanted to apply and pass on what he had learned. That’s how he joined the Scalefocus Data team at the end of 2019. What he likes most about his job is the freedom to explore disciplines different from Data, such as Software Architecture or DevOps. He likes to spend his free time with his friends and family, he knows the basics of wood carving thanks to his father and can grow a delicious Bulgarian tomato. When he left France, Niki took French people’s special attitude to food as well as their love for cooking, which he indulges in whenever he has the time.
Eva is curious about the world and takes full advantage of every opportunity life gives her. It’s important for her to learn constantly, “to keep the wheel turning.” This becomes obvious if we take a look at her schedule. In addition to her work in the Scalefocus Data team, Eva traches Informatics and Programming in Databases at the University of National and World Economy. She loves sharing her knowledge and discussing examples from her practice with students. She has been passionate about learning since her school years and is currently doing her PhD in Business Informatics.
Eva is interested in one day leading teams because she likes working with people and being a mentor gives her great pleasure. Her friends say that she is the life of the party, but the titles in her personal library might surprise you: she is a die-hard horror fan. She loves traveling around Bulgaria and exploring beautiful destinations that she photographs. Eva was recently fascinated by the Stob Pyramids, which she says you must see if you are a nature lover.
Nikola started his professional path with backend, Java and C#, but later made a turn towards databases and started working with Python. When talking about his team at Scalefocus, he says it’s rare to find yourself in an environment where everyone supports each other and grows together. Nikola describes himself as shy, but he does try to step out of his comfort zone. When he was 7 years old, his parents enrolled him in a Latin dance course, which he quit a little over a year in, but returned to when he graduated from university.
This time he fully dedicated himself to his passion and did everything possible to become great at it. His efforts paid off and he was invited to teach, and later decided to take part in official competitions. This is when Nikola became a professional Latin and ballroom dancer. He believes that dancing helped him get to know himself and develop valuable qualities that he carried into other areas of his life. Long rehearsals taught him how to structure his day for better time management, while constant movement and interactions with people helped him overcome his shyness. It was thanks to his dancing experience that Nicola decided to teach in the IT field as well, sharing his knowledge of Python.
Finally, how would you describe your team?
Perhaps the word that best describes our team is ‘inspiring.’ We are constantly drawing inspiration from each other and are constantly learning. It’s how we manage to achieve the results we strive for – a job beautifully done and customers who want Scalefocus to continue being a part of their technology adventure.