Svetla-Maria Petrakieva, System Engineer


Present yourself in a few sentences.

My name is Svetla-Maria Petrakieva. I am 23 years old, and I am working as a System Engineer in Visteon for over two years. In parallel, I am on the finish line to my bachelor degree in Computer Science, and hopefully, by the end of this year, I will graduate as an engineer from the Technical University – Sofia.

What made you decide to work at Visteon? What gave Visteon the “edge” compared to other firms you were considering?

Visteon is one of the few companies in Bulgaria that offers positions for System Engineers. And this is one of the main reasons I am here today. The other circumstances came by chance, to be honest. Nevertheless, now, when I am already here for two years, I have an entirely different view of Visteon’s place in the world market and the contribution we make to the automotive industry.

What are your primary responsibilities in your current role?

System Engineers define the boundaries of a system. This is one of the official definitions for my profession. From my point of view, to be a System Engineer is far more complex. One needs to be a combination between programmer, validator, hardware engineer and customer in order to be a good System Engineer. In other words, the primary responsibility in my work is to find an understandable way to define how each part of the system is working and how all the parts combine.

What is one of the best parts of your job? What do you enjoy most about working at Visteon?

I found Visteon as a very suitable place to develop myself as a professional. On the one hand, my University and work make the right combination between knowledge and practice. On the other hand, in Visteon people have the perfect opportunity to take part in the whole process of creating a product – from writing requirements, through software and hardware implementation and all the way down to performing different tests on a real device. All these skills combined and used appropriately are the engine of this company. And the fuel is the motivated people in it.

Something valuable you learned in your work at Visteon?

Since this is my first job, the two most valuable skills I managed to develop are patience and ability to isolate all my emotions from my job. I deeply appreciate the fact that whenever I had a question in the past two years (and believe me, I had many), all my colleagues were happy to help me gain knowledge and develop myself. Knowledge and practice are powerful tools, and the people in Visteon understand how these two contribute to the development of our products.

You initiated the syllabus for system engineers in Technical University of Sofia. Could you tell us more about it?

As I already mentioned, there is a strong correlation between my bachelor degree and my work. Nevertheless, very few of the people in University and around me know exactly what System Engineers do. Therefore, some of my colleagues supported me in the preparation of a syllabus for the Faculty of Computer Science and Technologies, the course of Computer and Software Engineering. This accomplished the two main goals: the creation of a modern syllabus with actual application and opportunity for better-prepared candidates for the System engineering branch of the IT.

You have taken part in the educational field and also in the organization Eeremia Rescue Center of Animals. How did you choose this organization and why?

Well, first of all, I have always had a weak spot for dogs. They are such good boys (and girls, of course). Second, I am aware of the mission of this NGO for over three years, and the founder is a very inspiring woman who never gives up on the 200 dogs she is looking after. I personally believe such people deserve our respect and support. We already had two joint ventures, and we are planning on more in the recent future.

What might surprise people about working in automotive electronics?

If you want to work with us, it is not enough to be a car fan, because we are not producing cars.

Do you have any career tips for others?

My tip is directed towards the lack of diversity and people’s capability to adapt. If you don’t feel motivated and inspired by your work, and if you don’t challenge yourself every day with something new, don’t be afraid to change the environment and make a new start. Staying on the same spot for years does not make you a better professional, nor will it give you a feeling of accomplishment.