Tech hubs are constantly evolving ecosystems, and each has its ebb and flow of talent. Dublin’s tale of talent is an interesting one to understand. In a skills search, this city will score highly in anything from Scala to Selenium. But this misses hugely important nuances.
Building good software is a combination of design, development, insight, iteration, commitment and passion. It’s something that happens best when a unique combination of people, skills, and resources collide.
That is happening in Dublin today. It is a result from local startups hitting the global stage, and multinationals building core products in the city.
As a result, Dublin’s talent pool has matured into something exciting.
The tech talent here is a beautiful mix of Irish natives and migrants. Ireland went from being one of the most homogenous societies in Europe in 2002 to one of the most heterogeneous today.
The first startup I worked for in Dublin was in 1997. Perhaps two or three out of 40 employees were non-Irish. “Culchies”, those of us from outside of Dublin, were the rare species. Today in Dublin 50% or more of the staff in some companies are migrants.
Twenty years ago the first big wave of foreign direct investment (in tech) brought the likes of Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Oracle, and Dell. Then came Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A flow of smaller but rapidly growing companies continues to arrive today.
A virtuous circle of talent attraction and skills development has been an important consequence. There’s an ever-increasing flow of talent between the startup sector and multinational companies. That has honed a myriad of skills.
Nowadays there are excellent product managers and experienced UX designers in Dublin. There are people with battle scars from failed startups. There are people with precious wisdom from hugely successful startups. There are people with insightful knowledge gained in many of the best and biggest tech companies on the planet.
Both of these are complemented by the openness we have on this island. We, Irish, are a tolerant bunch and have always welcomed foreigners. We’re committed to staying in the EU. Last year we became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Half a billion Europeans can move freely to work and live in Ireland. The other 6.5 billion people need a work permit which typically takes about four weeks to process and costs only €1,000. People working in the tech sector enjoy a very high quality of life. None of this goes unnoticed.
This past summer, our company Zartis.com hired 15 Java developers in Spain and relocated them to Dublin for a client of ours in the insurance software sector. We’re doing the same for a travel tech company in Dublin now and will be relocating more than 20 software developers from South America to Dublin in the coming months. Many professionals who moved to work in the IT sector integrate deeply into the community and will likely stay.
Above all that, Dublin’s an easy city to do business in. It’s clearly English speaking. The Government tends to get out of the way and let companies get on with what they need to do. This has resulted in a relatively easy regulatory framework.
Over the past couple of years, my company has helped some of the largest tech giants and some of the best startups build their development teams. We’ve worked with clients in San Francisco, Seattle, Berlin, Paris, London, Dublin and Copenhagen. We have a good sense of how to benchmark a location to attract tech talent.
Are there any downsides to building a development team in Dublin? There probably are. Are there sufficient upsides to choosing Dublin? Definitely. The talent is here.
This article appears courtest of The Dublin Globe. Visit their website for more insights into Dublin's startup ecosystem.
John Dennehy is the founder and CEO of recruitment company Zartis and hirehive.io, a recruitment software tool. He has worked as a founder or co-founder in Internet and media companies for almost twenty years.