Michal Crkon, QA engineer at KEMP Technologies, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how dealing with State authorities is a dream.
Where are you from?
I am from Puchov, which is a small town close to the Czech Republic border in western Slovakia. It is an industrial town with major vendors, such as Matador and Continental (producers of cars, freight tyres and conveyors belts). The population is over 20,000 and the city is surrounded by mountains with the river Vah running through it. I spent 28 years of my life there until I moved to Ireland.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I have been living in Ireland for a little over 10 years now. We came here when Ireland opened its working market for new EU members. At that time, I left my job as a police officer at constabulary Trencin-Ilava and my wife also left her job as a secondary school teacher. We traded two stable jobs for the opportunity to live, work and get to know this wonderful country of Ireland.
Why did you move here?
I like new challenges, meeting new people and experiencing new culture. I love to travel and learn new things, and Ireland offered all of this. When I moved here I did not speak English. I only knew a few words for very basic communication and my grammar was very poor. I had to start from scratch. Later I worked in Dell but after the company decided to move to Poland I decided to leave work and go to the college. I’ve always liked technology, so I applied to Limerick Institute of Technology for a software development course, which I successfully finished in May 2014. In September 2014 I got the chance to join the team of professionals – and now my friends – here at KEMP Technologies.
What work do you do?
I work as a junior quality assurance engineer in the R&D team. It’s a strong technical position in software engineering areas, such as programming, problem solving, networking, security and operating systems knowledge.
How would you describe your working environment?
It is a very friendly atmosphere with a lot of focus on teamwork. It’s a privilege to work with the people around me, their enthusiasm and professionalism is something that I have never witnessed before. We share ideas, information and help each other in any way we can. This is what excites me the most.
What do you like most about your job?
I love everything above my job. The programming, code implementation and finding the correct test pattern and test strategy really suits me. I always wanted to work with the internet and system security and thus I can say that I really have found myself in this job. Another great thing about working here in KEMP is that I can work with different operating systems, such as Windows and any of the Linux distributions, such as OpenSuse, Debian and Ubuntu. The biggest benefit of working here is that every single day I learn a number of new things, which help me on my professional path. And as I wrote above, I really do like the people around me and their sense of humour.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
I have not experienced any problems adjusting here at all. Too often I have read Slovak and Czech forums complaining about the weather in Ireland. I do not share the same point of view. I am probably more at home when it comes to the Irish weather, because after the temperature reaches 25°C and above I start melting. I think life is more simple here. In Ireland, making progress in life is about who you are and what you know rather than about who you know.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
I was quite surprised at the speed and ease of communication with State authorities. From my experiences here, a lot of administration can be done through phone or online. The physical visit to the State office or bank is not needed. If you think I am wrong, I would recommend you visit any Slovak authorities to find out the true meaning of the word ‘bureaucracy’. I was also really surprised that I found driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road more efficient and logical than in the old continent.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
Our company regularly organises activities and social events. Such activities include coffee mornings, which take place every second Friday in the canteen. Here I get to meet all the company’s employees in a friendly atmosphere. The next social event will be a Christmas night out and I am really looking forward it. The company has never made me feel like I am a foreigner here. I am seen as one of them and treated like everyone else in the company.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
The Irish countryside is breathtaking. When you drive just 2-3 miles outside the town there is beautiful scenic views, such as green hills, meadows, old buildings, architecture, magic narrow old roads and so on. I am really happy here, thanks Ireland.