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 Volodymyr ‘Vlad’ Shatalov, an enterprise architect with Storm Technology.
Where are you from?
I’m from eastern Ukraine, the big industrial city Donetsk with a population of around 1m. This city, I hope, is known to football fans. Some UEFA Euro 2012 games were played there, also Shakhtar Donetsk football team has some credits as a successful international player.
Donetsk is a centre of the coal mine industry and has some chemical and metallurgical plants. Nevertheless, the city is quite green, with parks, ponds and good recreational areas there and nearby.
The city was founded in the 19th century by Welsh businessman John Hughes, who built the first steel plant and coal mines. In recognition of his role, the first name of the city was Yuzovka [‘Yuz’ being a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes]. The climate is very continental; in winter the temperature can fall below -25°C, while summer is very hot, up to 30-35°C.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I’m in Ireland since May 2001. My family joined me three months after my arrival.
Why did you move here?
I liked and still like new challenges. Ireland seemed to me a good place to work and live – a small, cosy country with great opportunities for the career and family, especially for children. I explored this destination before the decision to move here was made. I took a standard solution design approach: collect data, analyse and build a new life and career step.
I was impressed that such a small country became the important IT hub between the US and Europe. Also, we’ve been attracted to the natural beauty of Ireland.
What work do you do?
I’m an enterprise architect. The company is Storm Technology. Our company provides business solutions based on Microsoft technologies to private and public companies in Ireland, the US and the UK.
How would you describe your working environment?
An excellent, challenging environment with endless opportunities to grow professionally. My colleagues are highly professional and friendly – and management is not annoying! What else does an IT specialist need to be successful? Nothing.
What do you like most about your job?
I like to work with different clients, learn something from them and contribute my knowledge and expertise to their business success. It’s not a routine, as every assignment and even every day brings you new challenges, and it’s a really good feeling when the client is happy and appreciates your work.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
No, it wasn’t. We knew a lot about Ireland before moving here. Of course, internet information and day-to-day life do not match 100pc, but I and my family never regretted our decision. The only difficulty was a specific English-speaking accent. We all studied English in Ukraine and usually teachers had a TV presenter-style pronunciation. Real-life language is different.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
Almost all public transport routes go to the city centre first. I expected a better circular service but, when I passed my driving test, I didn’t care about public transport any more. Traffic problems exist in every city but, with Newstalk radio station, this time is not lost.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
A happy man is one who is happy going to work and happy coming back home. I’m exactly this type of man.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
I like Irish people, they are always friendly and open. Irish nature is amazing, too – so many beautiful places to visit. Our family usually spend summer-time weekends (especially this year) travelling around Ireland. Glendalough, Powerscourt, Galway’s Atlantic shore, Blessington Lakes, Connemara, Brittas Bay – this list is too big to be reproduced here.