Interview with Hristo Kostov, a participant in the “Spring Internship Program” 2022 of Esri Bulgaria.
Hristo Kostov graduated from the National Gymnasium of Natural Sciences and Mathematics “Academician Lyubomir Chakalov ” with a profile“ Geography and Economics with intensive study of English ”. After a short hesitation, he refused to take the path planned by his family – most of his relatives graduated from the University of National and World Economy. For three years now he has been a student at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”, a specialty in “ Geospatial systems and technologies ”. And although he chose geography over economics, he had considerable doubts at times about whether he had made the right decision. Not to mention that in addition to entering the field of GIS, he also has a career in the artistic field, where one of his big dreams will soon come true…
Here is what Hristo himself says about his professional path, which is already divided between two of his favorite areas.
When did you find out that you want to do GIS?
My first contact with GIS was at the university in 2019. But initially, the maps I made were not good and I was not satisfied. Maybe it wasn’t until my sophomore year that my projects really started to work.
Honestly, during the first 1-2 years of my studies, I still had questions about whether I chose the right thing, whether I came to the right place, whether I succeeded in this and whether I want to continue studying it… However, I already feel that I am on the right road. At the end of last year, all doubts evaporated. It happened after I came across online courses offered by Esri on the Internet.
I took 6 such courses, each lasting about 6 weeks, and had extremely diverse tasks each time. From them, one acquires extremely diverse knowledge and skills. As soon as I started the first one, I really liked the subject – it was cartography. And then I became more and more interested and I saw that there were more such courses and I started doing them one by one. I knew that the certificates I received at the end of the courses would be useful for my portfolio, but not only did this make me complete them – I got to know the subject through them and I no longer hesitated that I wanted to do GIS.
Because of Esri’s online courses, did you choose an internship in the company?
I found out about Esri in the first year of university, when we were told about the so-called GIS day. Then, last year, as I told you, I started doing Esri’s online courses. And this school year – when the university informed us that there is an ad for an internship in Esri Bulgaria, I said to myself: this is the best GIS company, why not give it a try ?! And so I came across.
How do you feel here and are you satisfied with the internship?
So far everything is great! The atmosphere is perfect, I learned a lot of new things that I had never met before. I am most impressed by the organization of the work itself. I really like that everything is organized, that everything has to happen in a certain period – because I like to finish things and that is very valuable for me. I certainly get organized faster when I have a deadline that is pressing me. It is extremely useful to be part of a company’s team and see how people really work. Communication with colleagues is great, there is responsiveness and respect.
Did you acquire any new skills with us?
All the things I am engaged in during the internship are extremely practical and are very important to becoming a good specialist in the field of GIS. The last thing I learned was about uploading services – I haven’t done that before. And I also learned about a lot of new features in ArcGIS Pro that I wasn’t familiar with until now.
The most satisfied, at least so far, I felt when I managed to make a dashboard on a specific project. It is very nice to create a product that is not for the purpose of your personal training, but will be used in reality and will be useful to many.
What would you say to someone who is now starting to do GIS?
I would tell him that he is embarking on something that requires quite a variety of qualities. And it’s not that easy, because it’s still an IT field. You have to understand mathematics and some more complex concepts in it, you have to understand statistics. You need to have knowledge of geography, this is the knowledge that is quite important for GIS.
If he really likes and wants to deal with it, it will certainly be very useful for him in the future, because GIS builds many important qualities: analyzing the situation, analyzing space, analyzing various problems and dealing with them, spatial thinking…
What do you want to do in the future?
For now, I have focused on the GIS field and I definitely want to continue in it after I finish my education. After three years at the university, now through the internship – I started to get used to the subject and now it gives me pleasure to deal with GIS. I’m quite fond of computers, and I’ve always liked geography as a subject to study – for me GIS is the best of these two worlds!
The interesting thing for me at the moment is that in addition to my GIS career, I am trying to develop as a musician. I have been playing with various artists for about a year now. Currently, the group in which I participate most actively is Hayes & Y. And now – on August 13 – we are going to participate with them in a concert in Romania. I will play on the same stage with the musicians from one of the most popular bands in the world – Arctic Monkeys!
How long have you been playing the guitar?
More than 10 years. For a long time – about 6 years, I played at home, and then I started to find musicians to play with. I have participated in many groups and not so professional, and now more professional. I can also mention that I have concerts with Irina Florin.
I’ve always dreamed of playing on a big stage with a band like the Arctic Monkeys and I’m glad that my dream is about to come true soon!
It was not easy, but I do not mind the difficult roads and hard work – so I look at GIS as an area in which I can become a really good specialist. I believe that success, in addition to knowledge and talent, requires great perseverance, so as not to stop without time or get lost in mediocrity.
I don’t want my talent to be something just for me. And with music, and my development in the field of GIS – I have a lot to give to society!