Radena Stankova Lowe
BSc Computer Science with Business Management with an Industrial Year, 2017
Senior Systems Engineer, Nutanix
Originally from Bulgaria and now based in St Neots, UK
I work as a Senior Systems Engineer in the Public Sector Team at Nutanix, which helps organisations modernise their IT infrastructure through technology in order to support their strategy for the future. Nutanix is a leader in cloud software and a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, with the mission of making clouds invisible, freeing our customers to focus on their business outcomes.
In my role day-to-day, I collect my customers’ requirements and create an architecture design to address their needs. Creating strong relationships with my customers means I often act as a trusted advisor for their technology estate, whether it has something to do with Nutanix or not, and they confide in me with their challenges, issues, plans and projects. I keep up to date with competitive offerings, act as the technical touch-point for any questions my customers have and collect and provide feedback from customers to our engineering teams to improve our products.
What’s the best thing about what you’re doing now?
My customer base within the public sector includes local councils, NHS trusts and universities which means the work I do has a big real-world impact, not just to the organisations themselves but on the people that these organisations serve. The solutions I design for my customers simplify their environments, allow them to run any application, automate day-to-day operations, integrate security compliance, and leverage the benefits offered by cutting-edge technologies such as containers and public cloud offerings. The ultimate goal is to make IT teams more efficient and able to focus on innovation, maintaining and delivering new services for their end users.
What made you interested in your current role?
Working with customers within the public sector and making an impact on the way they are able to provide services to the public was definitely a factor in the choice of my current role. Additionally, the challenge of designing complex IT solutions that will be used in a number of ways, supporting many projects and different requirements as in the public sector world solutions are purchased once with tight budgets and are required to last for the long-term, likely living many lives over the years they are supported. With the System Engineer role in general, I felt like this type of job offered a great balance of technical understanding and strategic business thinking. Through my time at university, I learned that my skills lie in a mix of the two subjects rather than one or the other.
How has your career developed since graduating?
I started my career with a Graduate Scheme at VMware as a Professional Services Consultant. I was supporting projects to deliver, deploy and integrate software solutions across the VMware portfolio for customers on-site. This role taught me how to work in a corporate world, how to act in a customer-facing role, working in a team or independently, problem solving issues for my customers, it also allowed me to travel all across Europe working in different environments and with different people. Afterwards, I chose to change my career path to a more pre-sales role to expand my skills more into design and architecture activities, helping with my customers’ strategies. This is when I started on the Associate Program at Nutanix where in addition to adding to my technical skills, I learned more about communication, strategic thinking and business acumen. I quickly moved from Associate to Systems Engineer, to Senior Systems Engineer and moved from helping small-medium businesses in the commercial space to larger organisations within the public sector space.
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
I visited the university on an Open Day and fell in love with the campus! I loved the interactions I had with lecturers during the day and felt like it was the right place for me. It was my first choice when applying and I was very pleased about getting in.
What are your fondest memories of the University?
My fondest memories of university are all related to the wonderful people I met during my time there. I have made some very close friends from all over the world, who I am still in touch with and I also met my husband who was studying the same course as myself. All the late-night study-sessions, fun activities such as Vale Fireworks or society socials, going out or staying in, help create a life-long bond in addition to unforgettable experiences.
Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?
I was part of the Computer Science and Women in Science and Engineering Societies throughout my time at UoB, and I was also a member and later the Secretary of the Bulgarian Society which helped me find a familiar community in Birmingham. I joined the Harry Potter and Doctor Who societies where I made connections with people who had similar interest to me, and had a lot of fun on socials watching films/series, doing crafts, quizzes, pizza nights etc. I acted as the representative for my year at the Staff/Student Consultative Committee in the School of Computer Science, ensuring the voice of the students was heard, as well as sitting on the Athena Swan Preparation Committee to support the School in their work towards gender equality. In addition to these activities, I participated in the Personal Skills Award (PSA) program which ensured I gained employability skills outside my degree.
What advice would you give to current students?
Be brave and say yes to things. There will be a lot going on at university and a lot of it may be out of your comfort zone, but university is definitely the time for trying your hand at different activities which will help you figure out what you want to do later in life.
Radena tells us how her time at Birmingham helps shape her career.
“The combined degree of Computer Science and Business Management proved to be the perfect combination and provided me with the tools to be successful in my career. The Computer Science modules developed my logical thinking and helped me with the understanding of any type of technology, whereas the Business Management modules has helped me hone in my strategic thinking, business acumen and helped me understand my customer base better. The mix of subjects I learned about in university through this degree programme offered an excellent foundation for my future.”