Diego Paton, a senior software engineer at AOL, speaks to Siliconrepublic.com about his work at the internet company, and the charitable nature of the Irish.
Where are you from?
I am from Madrid, a fantastic city to live in. I used to live in the city centre, near to The Plaza Mayor and a lot of good restaurants where you can try authentic Spanish delicacies like chorizo in cider, octopus from Galicia, cider from Asturias, or other regional specialties.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I have been in Ireland for almost two years – the time passes so quickly.
Why did you move here?
After working in the IT sector for the same company for more than nine years, I needed a change and I decided to embark on a new route to enrich my professional and personal life. I was looking for an international experience, and wanted an interesting and challenging job outside of my home country.
A friend of mine recommended Ireland, and here I am. After two years I can say that I made right decision.
What’s your role in the company?
I’m a senior software engineer in AOL Search department. I work on the back-end team with a great group of other engineers, constantly improving our products.
I’m also part of new exciting developments that have a global impact. My work consists of designing and developing new features around these products in coordination with teams in the US.
How would you describe your working environment?
The atmosphere is really nice. It is a young and relaxed environment, and every day there is something new to learn. People here come from all around the world and have many different backgrounds.
AOL is pretty committed to charity events, supporting many activities throughout the year. It also has a ‘Monster’ drive, through which all of our offices help out different associations or causes for a couple of days, non-profit.
What do you like most about your job?
Since moving to AOL, I’ve been involved in different kind of projects, which I think is good for keeping you learning and challenging yourself.
Besides that, I like that my colleagues are very open to sharing ideas.
I also like that AOL is a company that promotes social activities, sports, charity events, etc., among staff.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
At first it was difficult to adjust to living far from family and friends, but I quickly met new, fantastic people. Everyone in my office was very friendly and supportive. Everyone helped me to get settled and helped me to figure out necessary things
What surprised you about moving to Ireland, if anything?
The fact that, despite living on an island, Irish people consume very little fish in their daily diets. The Spanish diet is full of dishes with fish in them, so I’m always looking for fish shops to buy some,§ fresh.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
My working life allows me to take time off as I need it. AOL also allows employees to work from home, which makes it easier to take care of necessary things.
Flexible time, social get-togethers, various sports events, a free gym and many other things make me feel comfortable here.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
I like how friendly people are. They’re always merry and up for a laugh.
I also really admire how charitable and willing people are to give their time and money. This level of commitment is something I haven’t seen before.
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