We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us what we are. In this post, meet Elena Gancheva, a software engineer on the Kendo UI for Angular team and a passionate contributor to the tech community.
Elena joined Progress in 2016 and since then she has been focused on delivering Angular components that enable users to take full advantage of Angular capabilities, implement the best UX techniques and provide accessibility support. What she enjoys most about her job is the opportunity of going through the entire lifecycle from the design to the implementation of the product.
“I am a big fan of community events and love sharing my knowledge and inspirations with others,” Elena says. Don’t be surprised if you spot her at your next conference.
Next to being a software engineer, Elena is a professional ballerina. She started her first ballet classes when she was 3 and never stopped since. She loves traveling because, as she says, there is always something new to see and believes that humans are meant to be explorers.
Q: Elena, you used to be a professional ballet dancer. How did you decide to become a developer?
Well, it is not that unexpected, because I graduated from the Sofia Highschool of Mathematics where I was concentrated on Informatics and Mathematics. I remember that my first attempt at programming was building an animation with HTML and CSS. I was inspired by my ballet classes and the mathematics calculations that I had to make to achieve it. At school, I got curious about building applications that help people get their everyday job done and now I can see that the things we create have a real reflection of others' people work. This is what makes me happy and satisfied.
Q: At first sight, ballet and programming seem to be two totally incompatible fields. Do they have anything in common? How does each help you become better at the other?
Actually, there is a lot in common. If you can see the science behind the ballerina’s moves from a mathematics and physics perspective, there are many conclusions you can make. After realizing that, I tried to include parts of math, music, literature, science and whatever else I can in my ballet classes to improve my dance performance. I think studying mathematics and informatics somehow helped me be more successful in my ballet projects as well. I know that ballet dancing helps people build more self-discipline, concentrate better, deal with failure and strive for excellence. I feel the same way being a software developer, I can include all the academic fields in my day-to-day job and get amazing results.
Q: You are a speaker at a lot of global conferences. Tell us more about your latest speaking gigs.
Last year was amazing, full of many local and international events in which I was an attendee, a speaker or at the Progress booths. A great experience for me was the ngGirls workshop, which we hosted at the Progress Sofia office and was part of the DevReach conference. I had the pleasure of being a mentor. We gathered groups of girls who were about to take their first steps in programming and guided them through the process of building a simple Angular application. In February this year, I was invited to speak at the Frontend Developer Love Conference in Amsterdam. I chose to speak about ”Elegance of Movement with Reactive Angular Animations.” And yes, there was a dancing ballerina in my demos! This was one of the most exciting events that I have ever attended and the venue itself was fascinating. I met a lot of awesome people and I can’t wait to catch up with them again soon.
Q: Can you give us some quick tips and tricks on how to overcome a stage fright?
For me, one of the most important things when someone is on the stage is their personality. When you choose a topic you’re passionate about, everyone will see that. You start smiling more, your voice becomes calm, and your eyes start shining. Another thing I personally do is to include some jokes, or inside jokes in my slides, so that when I see them, they bring an instant smile on my face. If I can recap the successful recipe, for me it is to be yourself, share your personality and hobbies with the others and be passionate about the topic you choose.
Each of us has something to learn from the others and something to teach in return. The community events are a great way to share some knowledge and expertise, to learn something new and help someone or meet amazing people.
Q: You’re a very busy bee. What do you enjoy doing when you have some time to spare?
In my spare time, I do different things depending on how I feel, but most of the time I practice physical activities such as horse riding, hiking and Yoga or Pilates classes. I love spending my time with my family and friends too. Another thing I enjoy doing is reading. To keep an eye on new literature releases, I am part of a monthly book club. That way I get to read the latest books and discuss them with my friends. Talking about the stories keeps me sharp.
Aneliya Stoyanova is part of the Global Communications team at Progress. She has extensive experience in the technology media and communications field. A news junkie and technology lover, she enjoys writing and finding the best way to communicate across all exciting news around Progress.
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