We sat down with Plamen to ask a few questions about his career journey at Arm.
My journey with Arm started a bit early in my University days. I had a professor which was very keen on Arm, he was quite aware of what was going on, and he was telling us all the stories about Arm's successes throughout the early years. He was saying how the company is set up, the business plan, and how things are working. That sounded very interesting to me, and it got me reading into what they do. I found out more about this company that no one talks about and thought what they did was actually really cool. So I kind of took my first steps towards Arm during my university years.
Can you tell us about the state of Arm when you first got interested?
Certainly. Mobile phones were big at the time, but the market wasn't as it is right now. Nowadays, it's basically all Arm, or very few other companies, but back then, a lot more companies were trying to get a piece of the market in terms of CPUs. So Arm was relatively unknown. It was mostly focused on microcontrollers and similar technologies. That's what initially piqued my interest in the company.
How did your early attempts to join Arm go?
Well, it didn't work out for me right away as a graduate because my degree was more hardware-focused, but I wanted to work in software. The feedback I received was honest, suggesting that I should apply for hardware roles instead. However, that wasn't the path I wanted to take. So, I pursued other opportunities, and it was in 2018 that I applied again for my current role in the same team I'm in now, and I got in as an engineer. It wasn't a graduate position, but rather, I entered as an experienced engineer.
Arm is a company where people want to stick around; it's a great employer that provides job security, allowing you to focus on what you enjoy, which, in my case, is the technology we work with
How has your career progressed at Arm since then?
I've been in the same team for about five plus years now, and I've made my way up to staff and team lead as of a few months ago. I've experienced the career growth around here and have a deep understanding of how the organization operates. Arm is a company where people want to stick around; it's a great employer that provides job security, allowing you to focus on what you enjoy, which, in my case, is the technology we work with.
Could you share a specific turning point or experience that significantly impacted your career at Arm?
Absolutely. One of the most encouraging aspects of my time at Arm has been the opportunity to find what truly motivates me and drives me. I became the test manager for my team, responsible for overseeing infrastructure and ensuring thorough software testing. This role opened up many possibilities for me and exposed me to technologies I hadn't worked with before. It wasn't initially about the technology, but it ended up broadening my horizons in unexpected ways.
That's fascinating. How do you pass on your experiences to others within your team?
Before I became a team lead, we encouraged team members to explore other functions. This helps them gain a holistic view of our work, not just the software development side but also aspects like testing and infrastructure. I've personally been there to support my colleagues when they start in these roles.
In my career, everyone has been incredibly supportive, taking the time to help me develop and understand things
What advice do you have for individuals looking to join Arm or considering a career change within the company?
Well, luck is always a factor, but staying interested and hungry is crucial. Minor setbacks shouldn't discourage you. I've had my own unsuccessful attempt when applying to Arm, but that's a part of the journey. Arm is a vast organization, and there's likely a team that needs your specific skill set. Keep networking and being thorough in your search; the opportunity will come.
You mentioned the importance of people in your career journey. Can you elaborate on that?
Certainly. What I really appreciate about Arm and my journey here is that it's always been about the people I work with. Regardless of the project's success or financial outcomes, what truly matters is the team and the individuals you collaborate with. In my career, everyone has been incredibly supportive, taking the time to help me develop and understand things. This experience motivates me to support younger engineers and make sure they feel like they belong, especially in the hybrid work environment. The random interactions in the office corridor or break room are invaluable for fostering cross-team collaborations.
Celebrating successes is a great practice within our GPU software team. It brings us closer together and helps us recognize the value of our work
How does Arm encourage collaboration within the GPU team?
In the GPU team, we actively foster collaboration by locating ourselves in the same office area. This proximity facilitates spontaneous interactions, whether it's grabbing a coffee or discussing work-related matters. It helps us feel in control of our work and keeps us connected, which is especially important in today's hybrid work environment.
You mentioned celebrating successes. How does that impact the team?
Celebrating successes is a great practice within our GPU software team. It brings us closer together and helps us recognize the value of our work. It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind, but taking a moment to acknowledge our achievements reminds us that we're building something great and that our contributions matter.
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