Roberto Druetto, an associate technical manager at AOL, speaks to Siliconrepublic.com about working at AOL, and about Irish people’s gift for queueing.
Where are you from?
I am from a very small village called Agliè in Northern Italy, about 40km north of Turin.
Agliè has around 2,500 inhabitants and is an amazing small town with a wonderful castle listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Life is very quiet over there and it moves at a slower pace to a city like Dublin. It is a wonderful place to recharge my batteries when I go back for my holidays.
How long have you been in Ireland?
It’s been almost seven-and-a-half years. I moved to Ireland in 2008 thanks to a European project called Leonardo. I was supposed to stay here for only four months.
Why did you move here?
I got to a point where my life and career stagnated. I therefore decided to try Ireland for a few months and then take a decision on whether to go back home or stay. I eventually picked the second option.
What work do you do?
This is my sixth year in AOL. I started as a software engineer and I recently moved into a management position.
I currently technically manage two teams (10 people in total), and am responsible for making sure that the deadlines – agreed upon with the people responsible for the product – are met, with a high level of quality on the development side.
We use an agile methodology called Scrum, which helps us in adapting to change. Being able to quickly deliver new features (and modify existing ones) is an absolutely crucial part of our job.
My day is usually spent helping the team refine our process, making sure that the main deliverables are on track, and ensuring that the team is ready to take on future initiatives from a resourcing and technical perspective.
How would you describe your working environment?
The AOL environment is really great. The amount of talented and nice people that you can find in the Dublin office is just amazing. Everyone helps each other and you always have the feeling that you’re working with friends, not just colleagues.
It is also great to work in a multicultural workplace. My team is composed of people from six different countries and that makes our environment much more rich from a cultural point of view.
What do you like most about your job?
I like being exposed to the latest technologies and working with smart people who give their best to solve very difficult technical and business problems.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
No, it wasn’t particularly difficult. Initially, I had problems with the language – understanding the Irish accent is not easy – but then I got used to it.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland, if anything?
The Irish can make perfect queues when waiting for something, whereas us Italians… Let’s just say we’re not as good as the Irish.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
What I found here was a clear career path, which I couldn’t find in the companies I worked with in Italy.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
I like the fact that Irish people are easygoing and always up for a laugh. I have met very good friends here who helped me to feel at home and to understand several things about the Irish culture. I will always be grateful to Ireland and to the Irish for giving me the chance to grow both professionally and personally.
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