Joined in: 2019
Job title: Junior Web Developer
Kliment joined Advanced as a CMS Admin with no previous experience in the industry, but a desire and aspiration to develop himself in tech. From there, he has moved into a Junior Web Developer role, and talks to us about his journey to Advanced and what the future has in store.
My name is Kliment Paskalev and I am a Junior Web Developer in the Web development team within Marketing Services. I look after the website and participate in all projects which lead to the creation of new pages using our Content Management System (CMS). Being a Junior Developer, I also aim to implement new functionality to the CMS and fix any issues that may come up.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and journey to Advanced?
I was born and raised in Bulgaria. There, I finished GCSE and A levels but decided that I wanted to study in the UK so I moved to Portsmouth to do a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Finance and Banking. I chose that because I was pretty good in mathematics and was interested in how the mechanism of a country works and its economy. After finishing that course, I went for a Master’s course in International Relations (IR) which finished in September 2019 and it turned out to be quite enlightening with regard to developing a global outlook, learning about politics and diplomacy. During my studies I had the chance to participate in valuable activities: A year-long internship at IBM in my Economics degree, take part in a simulation of Brexit political talks and a whole day spent inside Parliament with a Prime Minister. However, economics and politics was not something I could see myself doing long term since I was always interested in technology, web development and all IT 'stuff' I was never able to study in my higher education. So, I decided that programming is what I wanted to do and I started looking for a company and a team where I could learn and grow. At that time, I found Advanced was the place I wanted to start.
So how did you start off in Advanced?
I applied for the role of a CMS Admin at Advanced. The role required no previous knowledge or experience with the CMS software so I saw this as a great opportunity to enter the industry. Even though my higher education courses were not explicitly helpful for the role, I learned that Advanced hires for potential and it turned out to be so since in my interview I could talk about my aspirations and motivations to learn and develop myself in tech. I had a chance to share my previous experience and the projects I worked on during my studies. This included analysing large amounts of data using software, working with NGOs to acquire data, speaking with government agencies to support my dissertation on corruption and collaborating with people from different sectors. After the interview I was lucky enough to be offered the position.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to start their career?
A real valuable piece of advice I would like to share is something I’ve certainly proved for myself. Before applying at Advanced, I had applied for other positions which were mainly around finance, since my Bachelor’s was in that area. I was offered three other positions at three other companies. After thinking about each opportunity I was given, I took the courage to reject the offers. I knew I was not going to be happy doing those jobs. My advice is – “Do not settle. Do not compromise. Always look for the right opportunity even if it takes time and requires sacrifices.”
What are your career aspirations?
I would like to become an experience Full Stack Developer.
How do you keep learning and developing yourself in your role?
The first 10 months in the role I spent doing training courses on working with the Episerver CMS and Episerver Find. When the CMS became my second nature I started self-studying programming. I did courses on LinkedIn, Pluralsight, FreeCodeCamp and W3Schools. In summer 2020 I was already in a place where I could fix basic bugs and write some new functionality, and most importantly - I was happy doing it! Then I decided I wanted to invest in studying even further so in September 2020 I applied and started a Bachelor’s course in Computer Science at University of London. The course is a full-time course which means all of my time outside of working hours goes towards university, but it is a distance learning course which makes juggling between work and study a bit easier.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
To always be curious. Curiosity gives us the urge to learn why something is the way it is. In other words, never tread in one place and always learn new things.
What are you must looking forward to in your new role?
In my new role as a Junior Web Developer I look forward to writing even more substantial pieces of software which will make the CMS an even greater tool. The sky is the limit and I can't imagine being bored in my new role my new role or not learning new things online.
What’s been the most challenging part of studying whilst working?
Time. It is never enough. The trade-off between having a hobby, going out with friends or doing sport and studying is never an easy decision, and it usually leads to choosing the latter as it is a higher priority. Working from home has made things easier for me with regards to managing time as I save up to two hours per day just from commuting. During lunch break I also try to quickly catch up on a lecture or topic at university, so that makes it three hours a day, five days a week, leading to a total of fifteen hours a week I can spend on studying more.
What is the best part about working for Advanced?
Flexible working. As mentioned above, working remotely or flexibly does save me that extra chunk of time which I can gladly use somewhere else in my career or personal life. Since my relatives are still in Bulgaria, it would be hard not seeing my family for prolonged periods of time and only fly back once a year. Now, with flexible working, I can continue working on all our team projects and not miss out on the most important thing in life, asthe pandemic has taught us, which is family.
What did you want to be growing up?
The last memory of an 'I want to be' profession before I finished A levels was either an Architect or a Software Developer. Nowadays, I dream of having an old lodge somewhere in the mountains which I can restore and fix myself and work on software in the evening on my computer. I guess that Architect and Software Developer dreams never went away. Currently working on one half of the puzzle, hopefully the best is yet to come.
What hobbies do you have?
I absolutely adore being on long journeys in nature and discovering hidden waterfalls and strangely shaped rocks. I love spending hours walking through a forest and finding a small lake or climbing up a mountain and stumbling upon a herd of mountain goats. I try to climb a peak every year with the most recent one being peak Vihren in the Pirin mountains in Bulgaria which is 2,914 metres high (9560ft.) making it the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus.
Another hobby I used to have is being a spray paint artist. Rather than drawing on walls, street spray paint artists draw on canvas. It’s a form of art that is performed quite quickly since spray paint dries up fast. The idea is to draw different layers of colours on top of each other and then by using other tools mix them up, scrape them off or shape and texture them. It can be done at home or on the street so that people can watch.
Becoming a part of the Advanced team has really made me a happy person. All my co-workers are positive and ambitious people with a vision of their future. I can feel I have the freedom to take my role to whichever direction I want whilst having the firm support of my team and my manager. My work here is always valued and appreciated which motivates me even further. I would recommend considering a position at Advanced to every person who knows they have a lot to offer but do not feel acknowledged elsewhere.