Future Leaders: Mihail Petkov, Engineer
‘Future Leaders’ is a series of blog posts by the Financial Times in which we interview our team members and ask them how they got into technology, what they are working on and what they want to do in the future. Everyone has a different perspective, story and experience to share. This series will feature colleagues working in our Product & Technology teams. You can also connect with us on Twitter at @lifeatFT.
Hi Mihail, what is your current role at the FT and what do you spend most of your time doing at work?
I’m currently working as a Software Engineer in the FT’s Data team. Our team is quite new, we have been working in Sofia for few months. At first we were in a transition period but recently we have completed it and became the official owners of the whole Data Platform. I am currently working on analytics and a real time pipeline. My daily responsibilities include supporting, maintaining and monitoring every piece of the whole system. Meanwhile I am implementing new features required by our stakeholders which will improve the system and create benefit for our company on a daily basis.
That’s great! How did you get into the technology industry?
I owned my first computer at the age of 11 and since then computers have been my passion. Apart from playing games, I wanted also to learn how everything works so I started installing different software and trying different programs. I had a big influence from my cousins who are older than me and were already part of the technology industry. When I was in high school, I decided that it would be great if I go even deeper in my knowledge of computers. I used their old books and started even programming some small programs and created simple web sites. After high school my best chance to learn and work in the technology industry was to start learning in a university. That’s why I moved to Sofia, enrolled in Sofia University and got my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Meanwhile, I started working in my first year in the university because I wanted to learn even more and to receive professional experience. So far, it has been 8 years since I have been working as a Software Engineer in the technology industry. Most recent stop — Financial Times Sofia.
We’re glad to have you on board! What is the project you’ve worked on at the FT that you are most proud of?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far at Financial Times Sofia was with the hectic and thorough transition process we had in the beginning. My colleagues and I had the important task to take over the whole operations in a short time. I can say that I am most proud of the effort my team and I put in the sessions during these months, trying to understand every single component and how it works. It was a really crucial task and we succeeded in being able to operate effectively and I am very proud of that.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in recent years?
From a corporate note — I have learnt that one of the keys for success is establishing good communication with your team, colleagues and managers. Having clear and open communication, helps the whole organisation to set goals and to achieve them together. That is why I am always reaching out to my teammates for discussions and questions as I am always available to them to reach out to me as well. In the end we have all aim the same — to produce a quality product for our readers.
From a personal note — the most important thing I have learnt is that a person never has enough knowledge and should continue to educate their self every single day. This means to learn and progress not only at work doing the daily jobs, but also at home because the technology industry is developing with a high pace every day. If a person wants to have good knowledge, it requires dedication every day.
What would you like to do in the future?
My first goal is to help Financial Times Sofia improve the products on which we are currently working on now. Generating more and better data will be huge for the business because the business analyst colleagues will have more information about our readers. This is a must have in a technology world if we want to continue being one of the best if not the best media in the world. That way, I will prove to myself that my work is meaningful and has an impact on the whole company.
In the future, I will be glad if I am given the opportunity to pass on my knowledge to people around me and to mentor those who need assistance. I was a junior once and perfectly remember how confusing the programming could be at times. So my advice is to always be proactive and ask as many questions as possible in order to understand and learn.