Elie finds it difficult to describe his job to anyone who doesn’t work in tech. “Usually when I meet a girl in a pub here I just say ‘software developer’,” he laughs. “And then I change the subject!” In fact, the 27-year-old from Batroun in northern Lebanon works as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer, which means he implements business solutions for corporate clients like banks and insurance companies. It’s a specialised field and one that led to him being offered a position with Storm Technology in Dublin last year, while still in Lebanon.
An exciting challenge, Elie explains: “I knew very little about Ireland – save for the fact that it has stunning scenery – before I came here seven months ago. But I was offered a job I couldn’t refuse. You could say I didn’t choose Ireland, Ireland chose me!” Along with the scenery, he welcomed the chance to join the tech industry here. “The fact that it’s the technology hub of Europe was one of the main attractions for me. You only have to look at the fact that many of the biggest technology companies in the world have their headquarters here to see that Ireland is an important player in the tech world,” he adds.
Day-to-Day Work Environment
While Ireland chose Elie, the 27-year-old relishes his work here in return. He explains: “I love working here. I feel comfortable in my job, more so than I ever did in Lebanon. There, there is a hierarchy in the workplace. Here, there’s a sense of equality between colleagues, so you can have a conversation with everyone you work with. I feel that I’m on the same level with my colleagues and they appreciate my opinions. It’s refreshing.” Along with a relaxed work environment, Elie has a good work/life balance. “I work from 9am to 5pm most days and only stay late when I have a solution to deploy for a company. That’s the nature of my job so I don’t mind. Overall I’m treated very well by Storm,” he adds. “In fact, they put me up in a hotel for almost a month when I first arrived and had to find somewhere to live. Now I live in Portobello, near the canal in Dublin. My rent is reasonable and I can walk to work.”
Weekends in Ireland
Outside of the office, Elie makes the most of his time off. A fan of the surrounding countryside, he says: “At weekends I often go hiking in Wicklow – the scenery is stunning – and most evenings I go for a drink after work or for a bite to eat. The bars here are fantastic and completely different to Lebanon. I’ve made great friends with some Polish and Croatian people and it’s easy to meet Irish people too. In fact, they are very similar to the Lebanese – they have a similar mindset. I think it was because of this that I slotted very easily into life here in Dublin and felt immediately at home.”
Avail of Opportunities in the Tech Sector in Ireland
Close to celebrating his first year in Ireland, Elie has some sound advice for anyone considering a move over. With a lot of opportunities available in the Irish tech sector, he says: “I would advise anyone thinking of moving here for a technology job to come. If you live outside of Europe, then get the job first. The paperwork alone for the visa took me two months to complete and that was the only real obstacle. It’s quite easy here to find a respectable job. And once you are settled, living here is easy too.” Elie adds: “I find everything is more organised than in Lebanon. For instance, it’s much easier to get around. I’ve never felt the need for a car. Now I’m very settled. My job is great and I have a good lifestyle.” He jokes: “The only problem is the weather! But even that I am getting used to. I won’t be leaving for a long time.”