Ekrem Hacioglu, principal software engineer at FireEye, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how welcoming the Irish are.
Where are you from?
I’m from Ankara, Turkey’s capital city. It’s a big city, mostly dominated by government and military offices and working-class people. You get pretty distinct seasons there, with hot summers and cold winters – quite different from what Ireland is. Ankara is also home to a few large tech companies that service our large military/defence sector.
How long have you been in Ireland?
It will be seven years next month.
Why did you move here?
Moving here was more of a spontaneous act. I got a good job offer from one of the big tech companies back in 2007 and decided to take the opportunity and move over here for a while. I ended up liking it a lot and, here I am, after seven years.
What work do you do?
I’m a principal software engineer and I work on FireEye’s endpoint product suite.
How would you describe your working environment?
The work environment here is friendly and relaxed. At the same time, there is plenty of challenging work to do. We have a few offices around the world and we work with our colleagues in those remote locations. Things are changing fast in our company, and in the security industry, and that creates good opportunities.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the idea that we are helping to make individuals and corporations safer in the cyber world. The technologies involved are exciting and so are the challenges of staying one step ahead of the bad guys.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
Not really. I already had another three-year ex-pat experience in the US before I moved to Ireland, so this time I was prepared. Plus, Irish people are very kind and welcoming and that helps a lot.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
Well, there are many small things. For a start, I was surprised how it can stubbornly rain for days or weeks at a time without stopping. I was also surprised that it was so international in Dublin, with people from all over.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
You make connections at work and meet new colleagues. I like that we get plenty of holidays so you can travel around or go visit family and friends in Turkey. We get flexible work hours, which helps a lot with taking care of small things during the week so you don’t get stressed about stuff.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
What I like most here is the welcoming feeling I get from Irish people. I’m very happy that Ireland doesn’t have the negative feelings against immigrants and ex-pats like in some other European countries, which is very important for me. I like the fact that it’s such an international hub. I have made friends from all over the world here and I get to learn and experience so many cultures in one place. All this diversity makes me feel like I belong here and it’s easy to call it home.