Read the stories of those who drive CETIN Bulgaria.

A day in the shoes of... the 5G engineer who dreams of the Alps

Tanya Popnikolova is celebrating a kind of coming of age as a CETIN employee this year - 18 years since her first day on the job in 2005. 

“When I came, there were only two people working in the department. Internet roaming was just starting to be offered,“ she explains. 

“We do all sorts of things. Technology is constantly changing, new ones are coming out, requiring different hardware, newer software. We're constantly renewing the network. It's a never-ending process,“ says Tanya, whose current position is Backbone Network Expert. 
She graduated from the Sofia Mathematical High School and then from the Technical University in Sofia. 
“When I finished my higher education, there were no mobile networks and no internet. The world was very different,“ she tells us. 
In this situation, Popnikolova cannot rely on knowledge acquired in university halls. That is why to this day she does not stop reading and refreshing her knowledge. "One has to study all one's life. Higher education gives you a minimum foundation, a diploma. Once you graduate, then the real reading begins," she says. 

One thing is for sure – Tanya has always been attracted to technology. 
“The work is very dynamic and it is this pace that makes me want to keep working. I can't imagine doing the same type of work without straining my brain,“ she insists. 
What exactly is her job? 

To use calls and mobile data in roaming, there must first be an agreement at company level, then comes the work of engineers to build the necessary network. And finally, Tanya and her team step in to do final tests on the connection so that everything is perfect once it's in the market. 

“We are testing how the foreign operator works here. Our colleagues in the other country are trying out how our card works in their territory. We want to see if all the settings work, if the card connects to the local operator,“ Popnikova explains the principles of roaming. 

“CETIN is a technology company dedicated to building telecommunications infrastructure and information security solutions.“ 

If something is wrong, she continues, the card will not register on Bulgarian territory. Her and her team's job is to try to find out where the problem is if they detect one. Sometimes even though everything is configured, something still doesn't work, and they are the ones who have to fix those problems. 
"It's all in the name of the big goal - to keep customers happy," says Tanya. 

In addition to roaming, she and her colleagues are working on securing 4G connectivity services, on configuration with various international providers to ensure that any network and connectivity issues are fixed in a timely manner when they occur. 

"I have always believed that one can be good at one's job, but that is not enough," Popnikova opined. 

She is convinced that the profession is learned, but one must continue to develop over time. That's why she is extremely demanding of both her work and the work of the people she works with. She believes that it is important to be loyal to one's colleagues, to be responsible, responsive, attentive and smiling, and at CETIN people are just that. 
Over the years, people's expectations and requirements have changed with the development of technology. One of the things Bulgaria can really boast of is fast internet. That is why everywhere in the settlements a person can open his phone and find what he is looking for. 

“Bulgarians are smart and curious people. Over time, customers started demanding more and more. In the metro, everyone, even the youngest, has their eyes glued to their smartphones. I don't know if that's good, but it's telling,“ says Tanya. 

When she wants to take a break, she herself looks for a place where the connection is not perfect. That's why the mountains attract her so much. 
“I've climbed most of the peaks in Bulgaria: Vihren, Botev, Musala, Malyovitsa... My friends and I hike for four or five days. Unfortunately, I haven't had enough time to do one abroad - in the Alps, for example.“ 

Tanya never stops praising the beauty of the Bulgarian mountains. 

“Each has its own spirit,“ she explains, “you look differently when you climb a peak. When you look from above, you realise how small we are and our problems.“ 
Her other favorite pastime, besides reading books, is yoga. “It makes you listen to your body, to turn to yourself, to be still,“ Popnikova says. 

In this way, she balances the technological field with the need for peace of mind. Because while in yoga everything comes with its time, in the workplace a quick reaction is of utmost importance. 

“There are problems that need to be fixed and within the hour. And sometimes we give night shifts because various improvements are being made – updates, upgrades,“ Tanya reveals more of her work. 
She underlines that in the end everything is tailored to ensure that the service is of the highest level. 

“Since I've stayed here so long, there's obviously something to keep me,“ Tanya says at the end about her job at CETIN. 

The best part for her is that she works with conscientious colleagues and has the opportunity to handle the latest generation of technology. This is what keeps her young – knowing she is up-to-date. 

“People hardly know how much work is behind building the 5G network. But every time I see a commercial that mentions this technology, I tell myself that even if it's minimal, I've made some contribution to it,“ smiles Tanya.