Why Charles Swapped Rome For Galway

Few back-stories are as interesting as Charles’s. Originally from Rome, the Galway-based developer made the move to Ireland at 16. Better yet, his teenage adventure was inspired by his dad’s passion for experiencing new cultures. Charles explains: “I’m from Rome via the US. My dad is American and came to Naples in the ‘70s as he was serving in the army. He met my mum, fell in love, and decided to move over to Italy full-time. So when everyone else was moving from Italy to the US, he went the other way.” Originally set to spend just one year in Tuam, County Galway, Charles decided to stay to complete the Leaving Cert.

Tech Industry in Ireland

“I stayed on because I wanted to study IT in university and at the time (2006), Ireland had some of the best courses around. I researched the degrees available here and decided to do the exams and got the points for the degree course in NUIG,” he explains. A brave move on the part of the then-teenager, Charles had spent just one year with an Irish family in Tuam at the time. But ten years later, he has made the West of Ireland city his home. He says: “I had a lot of friends from when I first moved over. I knew a lot about the culture and the place when I decided to stay.”

For anyone who wants to come over, I’d recommend moving. It’s a very unique place. The work produced here is different and the people are great.

Interesting Work in the Tech Community

“My role in IBM is as a Software Engineer,” Charles explains. “I’m part of a wider development team. Our job is to discover huge networks for ISP and teleco companies and visualise them. I code in Java/JavaScript and JavaScript framework and I also have input into the design process whenever possible.” While Charles is based in Galway, he adds: “I know a lot of people working in tech in Dublin as well and there is plenty of innovative work going on. A lot of companies here are exploring new tech. In my case, at IBM we’re working on lots of software that’s already written but there is always a drive for change and to make improvements to the software.” With friends in Italy working in similar roles, Charles says Irish-based companies offer more opportunities. He explains: “What happens here in Ireland isn’t replicated everywhere else. A friend of mine set up a programme similar to CoderDojo in Rome and while the first event had a really good attendance, the second and third only attracted a few people. Whereas here in Ireland, people attend these events consistently and take part in the meetups.”

Living in Galway

“The people really make the place here,” Charles reveals. “That’s clichéd but it’s true. Everyone is very welcoming, interested in you, and what you do. I love the scenery and countryside here as well – it’s really amazing. I cycle a lot and have cycled around the Ring of Kerry and in Donegal.” Based in Galway since his teens, the Rome native gives the local restaurant scene a firm thumbs-up. He says: “I even love the food here! In the last five years, a lot of amazing restaurants have opened up in Galway with really great food. One reason I chose Galway is that it’s such an amazing city. I live in the city-centre and when the sun’s shining, it’s amazing. People complain about the rain but I really don’t think it’s a problem. It’s only if it gets windy too.”

Advice for Moving to Ireland

With tech roles available across the West of Ireland and the rest of the country, Charles says Ireland is a good location for anyone who wants to progress their role in the tech industry. “Ireland is a magnet for IT companies and also IT talent,” he explains. “There’s interesting work going on everywhere. In Tuam for instance, there’s a company making sensors for cars which is a really innovative project.” He adds: “For anyone who wants to come over, I’d recommend moving. It’s a very unique place. The work produced here is different and the people are great as well.”

What to Expect in the Irish Tech Industry?

Want to find your place in Ireland’s tech industry? See where you could be working and living today. Visit our Tech Careers section to find out more about tech roles available and what your life in Ireland could look like. You can also follow us on Twitter at @TechLifeIreland.