Welcome back to our column called “Meet the team”. Here you will find part of the talents, thanks to whom iCard is one of the best fintech companies in Europe. Our team and our common work are the reasons we achieve every success together. We can’t wait to meet you with the colleagues!
This month we will introduce you to Milen Vichev who leads a team of programmers in the “Card Schemes” department at iCard. He started working in the company in 2010 and shared that programming for him is not just a profession but what he really likes to do.
He says that he can’t do just one thing at a time because he gets bored. Maybe that’s why he has so many hobbies. Milen plays guitar and piano, goes surfing, snowboarding and rollerblading, and also shoots and edits videos.
Milen said that he manages to pay enough attention to both his work and all of his favourite activities, thanks to the strict control of his free time. See what he told us about himself:
Three things without which your life will not be the same?
The thing I really can’t live without is music. I have thought about selling everything many times when there were difficult moments. But I keep coming back to it. Playing the guitar is therapy for me, it calms me down, even if I do it for only half an hour.
Another thing I can’t live without is movement. I like to do different things all the time. Staying in one place is just not for me.
The last thing is my family and friends. I prefer to share everything with them – travelling, sports, and music.
How do you imagine the perfect day off?
The perfect day off depends on my mood. Sometimes I stay at home all day and up all night to write code or find a solution to a problem in programming. There are also days when I don’t want to code at all. Then I like to be in the woods or on the beach, go camping, and be in nature.
Tell us about your love of surfing. We know that you are also an organizer of a contest for amateurs. How did you start doing it?
I have been surfing for about 5,6 years. I used to practice other water sports but over time I became interested in surfing. The idea for the amateur competition “Light Amateur Match” came to me and Adrian Ognyanov, a very close friend of mine, with whom we surf together. Our goal is to improve surf culture in Bulgaria.
There are many fans of surfing here, but most of them are not familiar with the process of surfing. When many people are in the water at the same time it can become dangerous. Also, it is widely believed that there are no conditions for such activities in Bulgaria, which is not true. With this competition, we are trying to show the audience these things and we hope that we manage to do it.
How long have you been organizing a “Light Amateur Match” contest?
The third edition of “Light Amateur Match” was held in Varna in 2021. We are still making plans for this year. We are happy that iCard became the general sponsor of the second competition, which was in 2020. Thanks to the general sponsorship of the company we had the opportunity to give the winner a great surfboard, which was handmade by a man from Varna.
This is not the only race I’m organizing. I participate in the preparation of competitions in aggressive inline skating. I like to organize people and I think I do it well. I’ve been doing it since the beginning when I started playing in bands and was part of their organization.
You said that you also play in a band. Tell us more about this hobby.
The band, in which I play now, is called “Sanitarium Escape” and is a tribute to Metallica. Our name is a combination of two of their songs. We mainly play their songs, but sometimes we perform other ones, mostly heavy metal. We also have performances, about two or three concerts a month.
How did you get into iCard and how long have you been working for the company?
When I graduated from university, I decided that I would make a career in music. I received an invitation to play with a band outside Bulgaria and decided to accept. Then they called me for a job interview at the company. I had forgotten that I had applied for the position of PHP developer in iCard – something that was not interesting to me because I preferred applied programming – C, C++, C#.
However, I went to the interview without much hope, because I had already decided to dedicate myself to music. But Yavor Petrov, CEO of the company, with whom was my interview back then, saw some potential in me and offered me another position as C, C++ programmer – exactly what I wanted and was interesting for me. After I thought about it, I decided that it was better to pursue a career in programming. Music remained a hobby, which I did not want to spoil by turning it into a job.
What does your work in iCard involve?
I lead a team of developers and monitor whether they perform their tasks correctly and on time. Together we develop a big part of the iCard software. I am making sure that the system is working properly and checking if there is something that can be improved so that everything works in the best possible way.
My work is closely related to the head of our department – Snezhana Karakoleva. All tasks go through her, and she is a very organized person and a great specialist. This helps me to pay more attention to the technical part than to be entirely in the position of manager. That’s why I mainly deal with programming.
What do you like most about your work?
I like the programming part the most because this way I come to the decision on my own and I manage to deal with the given case. I also really like checking the code and giving guidance to the team. I come from a family of teachers, my grandparents were teachers and I may have this feature in me. I like to explain to people and give them instructions on how to do their job without the assistance of others, which is helpful for everyone.
What is your best memory in the company?
I remember one summer a few years ago. Then we developed the first platform for digital wallets. We worked every day, almost without a break, and as hard as it was, it was both enjoyable and memorable. We created quite big things in a short time. With the team that Yavor led then, we were strong and motivated, had spent a lot of time together and we had worked together incredibly.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
Honestly, I don’t look that far into the future. We all see what has been happening in the last few years. It is quite difficult to make any plans for 10 years. I hope that by that time everything will be much calmer, we will not have such worries. I also want to have more time for myself to go to warm places more often.
What is your biggest dream?
I’m a big fan of science fiction, I love space stories and stories about the progress. It is interesting to me and I have always dreamed to see the Earth “outside” and the Moon closer. I hope to live to see this moment when this will not cost so much.
Learn more about iCard digital wallet and our team: https://icard.com/en