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Meet the Team – Yavor (Full-Stack Developer)

7 min read
From a table tennis champion through freelancing to a full-stack developer at 3veta. This is the story of Yavor Belakov.
149. Meet the Team - Yavor

Yavor is the youngest member of our team. Just 22 years old, he has already worked on numerous projects and is now tackling his most challenging one to date – being a full-stack developer at 3veta.

Hi, Yavor! It’s a pleasure to finally talk to you. It took me almost a month to get you to interview for our blog. To begin, please tell us a bit more about your background.

Hi there and thanks for the patience!

I’ve always loved exact sciences. In fact, solving different problems and puzzles is my passion. I am extremely happy I’ve found a sphere where I can make a living doing what I like.

I graduated from the High School of Mathematics in Plovdiv and I am currently finishing my Computer Science degree at Sofia University.

Recently, I joined 3veta as a full-stack developer. This is my second full-time job in the IT sphere, but I’ve known Iliya and Masha for many years. Thanks to that, I’ve been following the growth of 3veta even before it was live.

I remember you were one of the first people to create an account with us! Back then you were reporting bugs… now you are the one creating them.

Haha, it’s a part of the job description, I guess.

I am still gaining experience. Next week it will be exactly one year since I have been working as a full-time software developer. Before that, I had been freelancing and had worked on quite a few projects, including two for 3veta.

The first one was the Chrome extension, which I am particularly proud of. It is a product I developed completely on my own.

The funniest part was that it started like a joke. I had published a Chrome extension before and Iliya joked: “Hey, Yavor, why don’t we hire you to make a 3veta Chrome extension for us?” I agreed, two weeks later they sent me the design… and the challenge was on.

I think it turned out quite well and I am using the extension every day.

💡Interested to see what Yavor is building right now?

Feel free to create an account with 3veta – the all-in-one software for remote communication.

It is definitely a great addition to the core product and we are thankful for it! Is there anything else you have worked on before joining our team?

One of the most thrilling projects I have worked on is a desktop app, used to generate table tennis tournament draws.

There is this table tennis club, which organizes competitions every week. They wanted to automate the group stage drawing process and the elimination stages. The problem was – it used to take 2 hours of manual labor per tournament.

Since the app was released (at the end of 2019), it has been used for over 130 tournaments. That means 260+ hours of human work saved! That’s what automation is about.

Apart from programming, I spent around 2 years repairing mobile phones as a side gig. During high school, I had plenty of free time and was always reading about tech. The first phone I repaired was my own. I was so impressed with myself that I started fixing the phones of people I knew. It was a great way to stay occupied, learn new things, and earn some money.

I am always looking for a problem to fix!

Wow, so you are not only a software engineer but also… a hardware one!

I wouldn’t call myself an engineer but rather someone who is interested in engineering.

It doesn’t need to be tech related at all.

Last year my father and I decided to build a professional ping-pong table.

We play quite a lot but a professional table is very expensive. We thought about it and realized that the manufacturing materials themselves were not expensive at all.

So we wanted to see if we could make one ourselves. After a few months of experimentation, we finally built a table that was identical to the top models on the market.

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So far we’ve manufactured over 15 tables and I would say their quality is getting better and better! The players like them a lot and clubs are happy to support the only table tennis table manufacturer in the Balkans.

I love the entrepreneurial spirit! Maybe that’s one of the reasons why you decided to join a start-up. How does 3veta differ from your previous software experience?

3veta is a product company. This means it develops its own product(s).

Prior to this, I was a part of an outsourcing company – where we created software for many different clients.

They differ quite a lot.

I believe I prefer developing a single product rather than switching projects all the time (as happens in outsourcing companies).

Working for several clients means a lot of deadlines, pressure, and weird requirements. Often you don’t have much freedom while developing and most of the time you have to use technologies specified by the client.

At 3veta I have the opportunity to use my problem-solving skills and suggest different ways to tackle the problems. Generally, the requirements do not change but can be influenced by my point of view. This is what I find most valuable and rewarding.

You are still young and could be considered a junior developer. What is the difference between a junior and senior developer in your opinion? What makes a senior developer better?

I have the pleasure to work with one of the best software developers and mentors I’ve met – Iskren. He is a Senior with a capital S.

Every time we discuss a problem I learn new things. Our relationship is the perfect comparison between a junior and a senior developer.

That’s obviously a bit abstract so here are several examples.

  • Time

The first thing that comes to my mind when comparing a junior and a senior is time. A junior developer would probably need a lot more time to solve a problem while a senior one should deal with it faster.

  • Quality of code

The second and maybe more important thing is the quality of the code. A junior developer, by definition, has seen fewer problems. Therefore, when given a specific task they may struggle to find the optimal solution.

However, juniors should not be underestimated. If the person has the capacity and the motivation they can do a lot of good work.

It is important to note that developers learn new things every day no matter their seniority. The technologies are constantly being updated, upgraded, and replaced by better ones.

If you want to be a good developer, you need to keep up with the newest developments.

While you are at it, what is one piece of advice you can give to junior developers who want to build a successful career?

The most important thing for a junior developer is motivation. If you are motivated, you can achieve almost anything.

There are a lot of people who learn how to code in just a few months and they are a real example that motivation is the key. Watching tutorials, experimenting with new technologies, working on personal projects, reading articles, attending hackathons and workshops. All these will help you develop and grow.

I like to stay active, so I’ve doubled down on projects and this has taught me a lot.

Another piece of advice for every junior is to find ‘their Iskren’. Find someone to mentor you, guide you, and criticize you (that’s not always pleasant but trust me – it pays off).

The point is that it’s so much easier when someone shows you the best practices and explains how things are done. It is valuable to work alone but sometimes you spend hours and hours trying to figure out something which others already know.

Last but not least, bad habits are hard to change down the line. So, don’t wait too long before finding a coding mentor.

You are from one of the generations whose social life was most hit by COVID. Do you think there are some advantages that you gained from it?

I’ve always loved traveling, going out, and doing sports.

I’d categorize myself as an extrovert and all these COVID measures really affected my life. COVID is also one of the reasons for me to change from a freelance job to a full-time one (so I could meet and talk to more people).

On the other side, one of the biggest advantages we all gained is the home office policy. The ability to work from anywhere gives you a lot of freedom.

For example, during the next 2 weeks, I will be working from Sozopol, on the Bulgarian seaside. So, remote work is something I really appreciate and I think everyone who works on a computer should have the right to work remotely.

149. Meet the Team - Yavor-6

The whole lockdown phase was also awakening in a way. It made me realize how much I loved traveling and exploring. I missed it so much that as soon as the restrictions were lifted I immediately visited 3 new countries.

Thanks to the pandemic, I am now doing the same things as before – traveling, going out, and having fun with friends.

However, I appreciate all of them much more.

Most of our team is fully remote from Day 1. What’s your preferred type of work – remote, hybrid, in the office?

Without the option for remote work, it would be pretty hard to be part of 3veta, as I live in my hometown – Plovdiv. Therefore, I am glad that I can work remotely.

Still, I visit the office in Sofia from time to time and I use every opportunity to meet up with whoever is available from the team.

I actually like the office of 3veta a lot as it’s a very cozy place. Moreover, going for a walk or lunch with the team is much better than staying at home.

To sum up, I would love to visit the office more often, but at the same time, I am very thankful that I can work from anywhere.

Is there something interesting about the future of 3veta you want to tell us about?

There are many interesting things coming up, but I will share only one.

The last freelance project I was working on was a Slack integration app for 3veta, which I started working on in March. During the development of the application, I started a full-time job at 3veta, and obviously, my task was to finish the Slack application.

It is my second end-to-end developed mini-product for 3veta and I am very excited!

By the time this interview goes live, it should already be available. So feel free to install it directly in your Slack workspace!

Great job on promoting it! I thought I was the marketing person in this conversation but you could do it just as well 😊 Finally, enough work. How do you let the steam off?

I am not someone who enjoys chilling on the beach. I prefer an active break – playing sports, walking, hiking, anything but chilling.

I am a very sporty person and I have done many different sports.

My top sport is table tennis. I have been a professional table tennis player since the age of 11. During the last few years, I’ve been competing in the strongest leagues in the country.

So sports are a very big part of my life.

However, I also enjoy photography. I love going out and shooting landscapes. Here’s a picture I took a few months ago – the Roman Amphitheatre in my hometown (Plovdiv).

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Finally, I must also mention one of my biggest passions – the mountains.

Skiing, ski touring, hiking – all of these activities recharge me. Only a day or two in the mountains give me the required energy to work even harder during the week.

That’s me on mount Malyovitza (2729m) after a successful winter ascent.

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Well thanks so much, Yavor! You are one of the most physically active software developers I’ve seen. Great job so far and we wish you all the best in your upcoming projects.

Want to know more about the other people behind 3veta? You can explore other interviews over here.