Flashback: Kodar Through the Eyes of Kliment Mirchev, One of the First Solution Architects in the Company

Just a few days before the opening of our new office in Plovdiv we are looking back in time. Almost 10 years have passed since Kliment joined one small company and its cheerful team in the city under the hills. Since then, he has been a vital part of Kodar’s history, growth, and transition to a valuable addition to Strypes Group. Today we are curious to learn how Kliment developed his career as part of the organization and what lessons about change he can share with us.

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Kliment, you are one of our colleagues with the longest experience at Kodar. How did your career here begin?

A friend of mine referred me and in 2013 I began my career at Kodar as a full-time .NET developer intern. Just in 2 or 3 months I was hired at the company and started working on various tasks with .NET and front-end development. I remember one of my first projects being related to the support and improvement of an online education platform that was needed by one of the universities in Plovdiv back then.

What has turned into your favorite experience in these early years of your career?

What comes to my mind is the access to great and empathetic people who acted as leaders and helped me complete my first tasks as an intern. Later, we had the chance to work together on meaningful and valuable projects such as the creation of a web platform that was helping kids suffering from autism. Another great example was a fundraising platform that we created to support the donation process for people in need.

When did you manage to take the next step and grow your career?

Some of our next projects for clients in several industries put me in the role of a team leader and a software architect. I had the chance to mentor junior developers and interns and to add value to their career growth and development. At the time when Kodar and Strypes started collaborating I got an even more active architect role.

Mentioning this, how would you compare Kodar in the past with the period after joining forces with Strypes?

I remember Kodar as a middle-sized business with 20-35 employees, mostly software developers. Believe me, 7 years ago this was a significant number of people for a company in Plovdiv, since only few IT businesses had already entered the city. However, there was a major problem with the way the company was organized and managed with only 1 person leading the entire team. As your business is growing it is very difficult to scale considering the lack of middle management. Moreover, the company could hardly take full ownership on a software development project, since non-developer roles such as the ones of the Project manager, Product owner, the QA or the Software architect were not available in the organization. All this changed after Strypes introduced a new workflow and middle-management roles to add the expertise and skillset needed by the Kodar team to work on more complex projects. Another advantage of combining forces with Strypes was the introduction of employee benefits and engagement activities that help Kodar attract and retain a greater number of skilled developers.

We know that these challenges for Kodar have turned into opportunities for your career growth, haven’t they?

Yes, the lack of dedicated people in some roles made me take responsibility for multiple tasks and processes and drove my career into the software architecture field. I chose this direction, since solution architects (and technical people in general) are much more difficult to find nowadays and only few people possess the skills needed to take such roles. To the challenges we have faced I can add that transition from a small to a relatively bigger company that came in a period of a pandemic which didn’t make it easy, at all. Of course the entire situation brought to us new opportunities and freedom to take on new initiatives, to develop personally and professionally.

How do you take advantage of these opportunities?

I like mentoring and educating people and now I have the chance to give more knowledge to junior developers who join our teams. My mission is to help people transform and pass the most difficult stage in their software career growth – the entry one. I have already created and introduced a process for training and developing people, with all materials and resources, which is now being implemented and turned into an academy for larger groups of trainees led by other mentors in the company.

The career growth you mentioned…is that what makes the difference for preferred employers in the IT field?

Of course. In the past people from my generation were mostly attracted by the compensation when starting a job. Now you need to add an employer brand, a company culture, a certain environment, and a feeling of belonging to make a person from the younger generations want to join a company and grow their career as part of it. You need to offer that person care, entertainment, engagement initiatives, flexibility, and additional benefits to make them like the company and stay. And Strypes is a great example of a company that is doing it right and that can make people love their job.

One thing that you would change in your current role is…?

We are just about to enter our new office in Plovdiv. My ambition is to contribute further to the building of a powerful team which goes through even more live communication and meetings with my mates on site. I strongly believe that there are some emotions, feelings and processes that you simply can’t have and perform at home in front of your camera. The COVID-19 situation didn’t help a lot, but we will catch up on this in the next months.

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