Interview with Anzhela Petrova, a participant in the “Spring Internship Program” 2022 of Esri Bulgaria.
Anzhela Petrova graduated with honors from the National School of Commerce and Banking and was accepted to study Business Management in England when she realized that she not only wants to stay in Bulgaria but also to find out what she really wants to do.
How did she know it was GIS? She was won over by the perspective of the technology, the fact that it is applicable in almost all spheres of life, and that it brings her much closer to what she dreams of. And what exactly is this – read in the interview with this fascinating student majoring in “Geospatial Technologies and Systems” and a participant in our spring internship program 2022.
How did you choose education in the field of GIS?
I wanted to study something that would be really interesting to me. I learned a little more about GIS, it turned out to be quite a promising profession, it also sounded interesting. In America, for example, this is one of the most wanted professions. Geospatial data is available in all areas and the fact that I can do GIS and at the same time direct it to an area that interests me – perhaps this attracts me the most.
Why did you choose Esri Bulgaria for your internship?
From the first year in the specialty “Geospatial Technologies and Systems” at Sofia University, they talk to us about Esri, we work with your software and we can’t help but know this name, since we are in this field. Accordingly, for us students it is like the topping of the cake, the basis of everything.
How do you feel in the company?
Honestly, it exceeded my expectations, because our teachers told me that if you join a company, they put you at the lowest level – in our case it’s a “ticker” – and I expected to enter data, to tick points, lines, polygons all day, and in fact not at all. The fact that I was included in an actual project and I deal with data processing and their visualization in the form of maps and that I work in a very good team… exceeds my expectations for this internship.
The moment I started working on one of the projects, I was engaged in regular meetings, I was included in the technical meetings every morning with the idea to meet the team. And little by little, the interns started to feel part of this team and now we all communicate freely, and we feel like we’re in the office. Is there something, you just call and ask.
Do you learn useful things during your internship?
In those few months, I learned more than in two years at university! Let’s start with the internship application itself: I read a lot of textbooks and studied the software in much more detail so that I could do the practical tasks. And now during the work, what I’ve learned is teamwork remotely, which is something new for me.
I also began to understand programmers. I studied programming but had no idea how to use it in ArcGIS. And now I realized what the connection is between me and the programmers – in the case of one of the other interns, he is in the field of programming, we work together and I have to test not only the maps and the data I deal with but also the things he has done. I didn’t even know how to test initially…
In addition, some new things are constantly popping up, recently my supervisor sent me a complaint email from a client to find out where the problem was. I discovered the problem and I am very glad that this is how the internship is organized because it is really a challenge.
What would you say to someone who is now starting to do GIS?
“That’s really worth a try!” For most people, the initial expectation is that it is a much more geographically oriented specialty, but in fact, there is a lot of programming, a lot of databases and you need to have knowledge of many different fields. I personally didn’t expect to have so much programming, I didn’t even expect to like it. But it turned out to be extremely interesting and this part that I didn’t like at university – programming – I already enjoy it a lot and I realize how much it makes work easier.
What would you like to do in the future?
I plan to continue to develop in the field of GIS, maybe I would try to focus on environmental protection. I have a great chance to study in Finland next semester – there I have chosen such disciplines that are focused on forest protection, spatial modeling, again everything in the field of GIS, but in a direction that is very, very close to my heart.
Will you tell us a little about yourself…
In general, I am a very active person, I have played various sports, some of which are extreme. In the beginning, I trained martial arts, now I focus on those that are outdoors: climbing, hiking, mountaineering, water sports…
I am part of the Sofia Mountain Club and we work a lot with them to have a positive impact on nature. We are restoring shelters, putting first aid kits in the mountains, as well as recycling bins, and organizing some larger-scale volunteer events. Exactly these days we have a competition that we organize regularly, in fact, it is like a whole festival – 3 days, and the funds from it go to charity.
I never imagined that I would be one of those people who stand behind a computer all day, sometimes I just grab my backpack and go somewhere without direction…