Svetoslav Dekov, Principal Engineer at the News UK team at Questers
We love seeing people evolve and progress with their careers, and we like to share their success. Therefore, we’re excited to introduce to you our colleague Svetoslav Dekov who has discovered his passion for software development in high school and hasn’t stopped learning and growing as a professional since then. As part of the News UK team, Svetoslav has also achieved a lot – starting as a Machine Learning Engineer and evolving to a Principal Engineer. Read more about his career path, current responsibilities and challenges he and his team are facing.
How did you get here? What is your educational and professional background?
My journey in software development started when I was in my final years of high school. Back then, we were being taught to write programs using Visual Basic programming language. Although this was not the most popular or the most exciting language, it was all I've seen at the time, and it was enough to fire up my interest. Very soon, I was pretty sure that this was the professional path that I wanted to follow. Therefore, I joined what I believed was the best place in Bulgaria to develop my programming skills – the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Sofia University.
In the university, I had the luck to participate in programming classes taught by amazing professors. This helped me tremendously to gain a strong basis in programming, which I believe is crucial for becoming a good software engineer.
Somewhere in the middle of my university education, I started working as a Junior Software Engineer. For a couple of years, I gained experience working mainly as a Full-stack Developer on various types of projects.
After that in 2020, I joined the News UK team and here I am now.
Share more about your career path in the News UK team at Questers.
I joined News UK as a Machine Learning Engineer, which was a completely new position at the company at that time. My job was to work along with Data Scientists and productionise the ML models that they were building. That was hugely exciting work for me as I was able to be part of a team that builds cool stuff like personalization engines, customer lifetime value, toxic comments detection, etc.
A couple of months ago, I got the opportunity to apply for a Principal Engineer position in our team. I completed the process successfully, and this is my current role in News UK.
Now, as a Principal Engineer, what are you mainly engaged with?
As a Principal Engineer, my main goal is to ensure that our team is building software in a consistent way using the best standards and practices that we've agreed upon. I'm also involved in discussions around important architectural and infrastructure decisions. Last but not least, I have to make sure that all engineers in the team are happy with their work and we're on the same page about doing our job in the best way that we can.
Tell us more about the technologies you are using in News UK.
As I mentioned, we're trying to follow the best practices in the field for building software. Therefore, we're using tools like Github for version control of our codebase, CircleCI for our CI/CD pipelines and Terraform for defining our infrastructure as code. We're using the Google Cloud Platform, and we rely mostly on managed services for the software that we're building like Cloud Functions, Cloud Run, BigQuery, etc.
How do you tackle the tech challenges you face as a team?
In our team, we always try to fully understand the problems that we face from the beginning and then start thinking about potential solutions. We always aim to start with the simplest solution and to implement something more complicated only if it's really necessary.