From Intern to Graduate: How Stela Discovered her Passion for Software Development

Meet Stela, who recently graduated from University, and is now a junior software developer at IBM Bulgaria. Hear more about her life as a software developer, her career journey so far, and her top tips for landing a graduate role.


Tell us more about what you do in your job.

I am a Z back-end developer, part of a team focused on specific components of IBM’s mainframe systems, where we design and develop unit tests and deliver offerings for IBM z/OS.


Talk us through your IBM journey and what lead you to your current role.

Last summer, I was a part of the internship program at IBM for six months, where I had the opportunity to broaden my professional view and solidify the career path I wanted to take. IBM enabled and encouraged me to explore different horizons and assisted in furthering my knowledge in areas I was passionate about learning.

I graduated University with two bachelor’s degrees – in business administration and computer science, and for a long time I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with them. After completing my internship at IBM, I quickly realized I wanted to be a software developer at an industry leading tech company, so I went for it, and now I’m here!


Tell us about an interesting project you’ve worked on.

Currently, on the mainframe component I work on – ISPF (Interactive System Productivity Facility), we have this significant knowledge transfer project, acquiring new skills and knowledge about the component. This is a development tool that provides host-based software development, including software configuration and management. We’re a new team working on this, so we must try to stay open to new things and learn as much as we can because projects like this can be very challenging and unpredictable.

We feel empowered knowing that IBM completely trusts us and has given us full control over the decisions we make and are all motivated to attain a desirable outcome.

The software team in Sofia working on the project is very diverse, which has allowed us to come together and co-create innovative solutions.


Thinking about what you’ve done so far at IBM, what has been your biggest accomplishment?

I would say my biggest accomplishment was, and still is, finding what drives me in my professional life. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t sure what field I wanted to pursue as a career after earning my degrees in different fields.

I’m now very happy, and proud, to say that even though I just began my career journey, I’ve already landed my dream job!


Why do you love working at IBM?

The big thing that stands out to me is the community of inclusive individuals and the chance to network and meet people all over the world from different backgrounds and cultures. I have an incredible opportunity to learn from people on my team, who have an acquired knowledge of 30+ years in the field. This is something that isn’t very common, and I’m so appreciative I can do this at IBM.

I also love the dynamic atmosphere that I’m lucky to be a part of daily. Something new seems to happen every day and I don’t think I’ll ever have a boring day here. There’s always something exciting to do or get involved with at IBM!

Beginning as an intern has also shown me the endless growth opportunities IBMers have to grow their skills. IBM has an amazing learning portal, which is where I found my love for software development. They have a ton of courses and learnings that really enhance your skillset and can be applied and used everywhere inside and outside of your role. IBMers are encouraged to complete a minimum of 40 hours of learning throughout the year and are empowered to learn even more by earning digital badges and becoming learning champions. This shows just how much IBM wants you to do well and succeed alongside with them.


What is your work life balance like?

IBM definitely allows a healthy work life balance.

Right now, I’m working from home, but the option is there if I want to go into the office for any day of the week. It’s all about your individual wants and needs and IBM is happy to provide the flexibility to fit your work into your personal lifestyle and accommodate for how you work best.

For example, I have the chance to spend the entire day with my dog while working, which I’m very grateful for! I also have the chance to spend more time with my family, and less time commuting to work, thanks to my flexible working hours.


What advice would you give others considering a career in software development?

Many people are afraid to step into the technology field if they didn’t graduate with a technical education, and this may cause them to hesitate to go for a job they’re interested in. But I’ve met a lot of people with different backgrounds and experiences who are still successful in the technology field. For instance, they’ve been working as a pilot or in the travel industry and one day decided they wanted to work in technology, and they went for it and have had much success!

So, my advice to you is to not be afraid and realize that although technology can sometimes be overwhelming since its growing and transforming every day, there’s something magical about being part of a growing industry and working at one of the largest tech companies in the world.

Just believe in yourself. Our own thoughts are more powerful than we think.


Discover your potential as an IBM Software Developer

If you’re interested in the work Stela does as a junior software developer or want to learn more about our other developer and engineering roles, please visit our careers website. If you don’t see any open roles that align with your skills and interests at the moment, consider joining our Talent Network to receive updates on new job opportunities and future career events.