With people from all over the world choosing Ireland as a place to live and work, we speak to those that have put down roots in the country. This time, we talk to Tibor Flach, a senior QA engineer at FireEye.
Where are you from?
I am from Szeged, Hungary. It is a city of about 200,000 souls in the south of Hungary. It has nice buildings, parks and a huge university complex. In Hungary we do have the four seasons; we even have snow in the winter.
How long have you been in Ireland?
Why did you move here?
My wife and I both finished university and were getting our feet wet in the professional working life. We decided we would set out to some place new to work, so that the weekends would count as a constant holiday as we explored the world.
The way I see it, there are really only two IT capitals in Europe: Zurich and Dublin. I prefer not to work in banking, so Dublin was a straightforward decision. While Budapest has a wide range of IT and technology companies from all over the world, the fact is that all the major US-based IT companies opened up shop in Dublin when they first moved to enter the European market. It is the go-to destination, as it was for Mandiant (which is now FireEye since the acquisition on 30 December 2013).
What work do you do?
As a senior quality assurance (QA) engineer, I basically break stuff – a lot – and create scripts and programs to break even more stuff while I’m out of the office. Usually, there are things that developers and architects say are ‘robust’ and ‘stable’, and it’s my job to prove them wrong and give details on how and where things went wrong. It’s a lot of fun and I really do enjoy it. If I do my job right, our customers get a high-quality product.
How would you describe your working environment?
In one word: awesome.
We have no shortage of equipment to support testing and development, be that in the lab or in the office. And the list of challenges never ends, so it is the ideal place for ambitious people who love to solve problems and build useful things.
The company’s focus on leisure time and fun is also remarkable. For example, we have a popcorn machine and a vintage arcade machine, and Nerf Gun wars are quite likely to break out at least once a week!
People are not focused on prestige and personal image, more so on the main objectives and targets of the team. I was afraid at first when I joined that the atmosphere would be something like unreachable magicians in ivory towers, since I’ve heard that the engineers here are really good in their areas, but everyone is straightforward and very approachable. They are also at least as big nerds as I am and just love what they do and are really passionate about it.
What do you like most about your job?
Creativity and freedom. If you can make your case for or against something, and provide a realistic plan with milestones and deadlines on how you wish to reach goals that are in line with what management has set out as the main goals and targets, you get green lights all the way. No bureaucratic ‘BS’ in the way – just the way it is supposed to be in an engineering organisation. This is proof of experienced management and their trust in engineers making wise choices based on their experience and smarts.
Also, there are in-house tech talks about the most interesting, most recent IT security themes and events in the world, with full in-depth explanations and some really good tech stories that I would not hear or see anywhere else.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
Work and tax-related rules and terms are sometimes quite different to those in Hungary but, at the end of the day, people go to work to do a good job, perform and achieve, just like anywhere else. At the beginning, it was a bit confusing, but Citizens Information and basically all offices are really helpful. Also, HR personnel are prepared to help out new people and provide guidance.
The other greatest difficulty was to get used to the left-side driving system. In the early days, on a few occasions, we did manage to miss buses due to the mistake of waiting on the wrong side of the road in the morning and watching our bus pass on the other side without stopping!
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
No one distils their own whiskey over here. This was a shocker for me, coming over to one of the homelands of whiskey. In Hungary, we have a traditional spirit called pálinka, and the best ones are those you distilled from your own fruit grown in your own garden.
The people in Ireland are generally very friendly and helpful. Even in Government offices and banks, they try to minimise the impact of bureaucracy and focus on what you actually need.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
Our company supports remote working very well, so there is little or no outage if someone can’t come into the office on a given day as we can keep in touch and work remotely. We have to get used to it since our teams mostly consist of people in the US and the Irish office, as well.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
The people are really friendly and helpful. It has been a really pleasant experience to be welcomed from day one. Also, people can let go of the rush of workdays over the weekends and really relax. This is something I am still in the process of learning.