ICT in Bulgaria: Changes in the Last Decade

ICT (information and communications technology) has been the main talking point of the global education sector of the past decade, but Bulgaria arrived at the ICT scene quite early on.

In the 1980s, Bulgaria was known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the Eastern Bloc owing to its large-scale computing technology exports. Today, this Land of Roses is living up to its legacy speeding up innovation to be an attractive IT destination, both as a place to develop cutting edge IT solutions and requirements, establish new-shore hubs, developing BPO (business process outsourcing) and resource KP (knowledge process) needs and projects.

Studies show that with an average annual increase of 17% since 2007, the ICT sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and the prime mover behind the countries steady growth over the past few years, generating around 10% of the Bulgarian GDP.

IT is arguably the most rapidly developing field of the past few decades. It is constantly developing, improving, and is more important now than ever before to keep up with it,” says the Founder/Owner of Darbi College Sofia, Bulgaria – Mrs. Bistra Ilieva.  “Technical skills are key to thriving in today’s increasingly digital world. This is truer now than ever, when the entire world has been forced to transition largely to an online-based learning and work environment. Technology provides us with a vast array of tools and it is vital to be able to effectively take full advantage of them,” she added.

When asked about how they are utilising this change in pace of modern education, Mrs. Bistra Ilieva replied: “At Darbi College we do not only teach students the basic skills and instruments of information technology, but we also aim to help them become adaptable and independent. We believe it is important for students to learn transferable skills, to be capable of obtaining information efficiently and to develop problem-solving capabilities that will benefit them in their future.”

The Bulgarian ICT sector has witnessed a sustained growth since the beginning of Y2K, and the market’s value, according to market analysis reports, is estimated at 2.3 billion EUR. More and more countries are waiting in line to be part of this Bulgarian market owing to the constant growth, fairly recent membership in the EU, a currency pegged to the Euro and attractive corporate tax levels.

To better understand the ground reality of this prosperous market, we asked Mrs. Ralitsa Boisgontier, the design, technology and ICT teacher at the British School of Sofia to speak on the matter. She elaborates:

“When it comes to Bulgaria, the last few years have seen all the new international companies that have started business in our market are looking for highly qualified employees with good technical skills. In Universities and schools, students also learn with the help of the technologies. Our life is not possible anymore without ICT (information and communications technology). Their names speak for themselves: they give us information about the world around us and they help us to communicate wherever we are.”

“The IT sector in Bulgaria is highly developed and backed by multitudes of trained IT professionals. An interesting fact from the statistics shows that Bulgaria is one of the European countries with the highest percentage of women working in the IT sector. Also, Bulgaria has become one of the preferred destinations for international IT companies to recruit highly skilled workforce, thanks to the well-qualified experts and low costs.

Nowadays with the economic crisis around the world caused by the COVID pandemic, companies that have more stable technologies will have better chance of surviving. In the education sector, we realise how important the technologies are in such a moment. Considering all the positive educational aspects of technology, we have to be aware of the negative ones, especially when we are using them in the education system. We could not have offered better education for our students without the technologies this year. However, we as teachers need to set the limits on the use of technology for our students. This way we can avoid the negative effects of the technology,” Mrs. Ralitsa Boisgontier concluded.

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