Alexandre Ferreira, head of SharePoint development at Storm Technology, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how he has found greater balance between the two.
Where are you from?
I’m from Coimbra, a city in the central region of Portugal best known for its university, which is one of the oldest in Europe. Students create an amazing environment in the city, especially when celebrating traditions such as Queima das Fitas (‘Burning of the Ribbons’), which celebrates the different stages of academic life, with a focus on graduation. And, of course, the weather is amazing!
How long have you been in Ireland?
I have been in Ireland for almost three years now, since October 2011.
Why did you move here?
A few years before moving to Ireland, I had already moved to Lisbon, mainly for professional reasons, and both my wife and I looked positively into having a new experience in a different European country. Having English as our strongest second language and IT as our working area, Ireland made complete sense. The feedback we had about Irish people was very good, so here we are!
What work do you do?
I started as a SharePoint senior developer and consultant at Storm Technology, and now I am leading the SharePoint development team.
How would you describe your working environment?
Wonderful people doing excellent work in helping organisations throughout Ireland with their IT. The environment is extremely friendly and everyone in the company will welcome you and be available to help, from the CEO to the colleague sitting next to you.
What do you like most about your job?
The potential for changing the way people work. These days, technology is everywhere, from our home to our work office, so being able to influence that and help people with their daily tasks, making their life easier and their work a bit more pleasant is what motivates me the most.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
Not really. The Irish people are very welcoming, that helped the transition a lot. The cultural shift wasn’t that big, either. European countries have become closer and closer and Dublin is very multicultural. There were challenges, of course; finding a house in Dublin is not the easiest task in the world, especially if you’re planning on bringing your pets, as we did.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
Nothing really surprised me. It was as good as I expected and definitely the best choice I could have made. The information we gathered before moving was important, so we were pretty confident we were making the right decision. One of the key improvements was the ability to have a good work-life balance, something that, unfortunately, was getting more and more difficult in Portugal when we moved (and got even worse afterwards).
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
The opportunities I have been given, the friends and colleagues I have met, and feeling like an important part of my company – all of that helps you feel at home. Being able to leave work and have time to practise sports, meet friends and spend more time with your family is also fundamental in making you happier.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
Ireland is a beautiful country to visit and live in, with very friendly and easygoing people. Dublin is a multicultural hub, where you can meet people from all around the world. For me, personally, it is also important how strong the IT industry is here. The way people enjoy themselves when the sun is out is also amazing!