The town of Ballincollig in County Cork may seem like an unlikely place to find a Serbian software designer, yet this has been Mihailo’s home for almost 10 years. The 36-year-old came here knowing very little about Ireland because he had been offered a job as a software architect, with software development company DeCare Systems in Cork. “I was apprehensive about coming here,” he says. “I laugh about it now, but at the time I thought Ireland was similar to the UK. In fact, the two countries are completely different.”
Working Life in Ireland
Arriving here with his wife Grozdana, who works as a psychiatrist, Mihailo settled in very easily. He liked his job immediately. “It’s a big company with 25 million subscribers. The work itself is challenging but I enjoy it,” he says. “I work with a team of people and we design software systems for a US insurance company.” What he likes most about his job, however, is the camaraderie with his colleagues, many of whom he has worked with from the start.
“They were so unexpectedly friendly when I first arrived that it blew me away,” he says. “Back then, my English was not as good as it is now and I had many conversations at the water cooler where they simplified what they were saying for me. I found everyone wanted to help me settle in and there was nothing they wouldn’t do.”
Life in Ireland
The couple found somewhere to live easily and settled into small town life. “I had come from the city of Belgrade in Serbia and I thought Ballincollig with its population of 20,000 people might be too small,” he says. “I soon realised it has a great community atmosphere and everything I needed.” His son Luka was born seven years ago and attends the local school. “When we go back to Serbia in the summer for holidays, Luka always says he can’t wait to go home,” says Mihailo. “He thinks of Ireland as home now – and so do I.”
Tech Community in Ireland
Mihailo likes the fact that there are plenty of tech-related events taking place in Cork City, and from time to time, he attends them. “I was at one recently which was sponsored by my company, where Uncle Bob Martin, who is prominent in the tech community came to give a talk. It was fantastic,” he says.
When he’s not working, you can find him at the beach with his family. “There are beautiful beaches near Ballincollig so we take advantage of them when the weather is good,” he says. “Unfortunately, this is not always the case,” he adds laughing. The Irish weather he says is the one thing he finds difficult about living here. “At first, it used to get me down,” says Mihailo. “But now I hardly notice it. When everything else fits into place, the weather really doesn’t matter…”