Ireland is popular as a global tech hub, with software excellence unmatched in Europe. As the only English-speaking member of the Eurozone, Ireland has over 900 software companies.
Global companies have boosted the Software sector in Ireland. The multinational and indigenous companies generate about $19.1 billion in exports per year.
For a software engineer, Ireland is one of the best places to advance your career. The technology industry keeps growing and creates over 105,000 employment opportunities.
Allow us to demystify Ireland’s culture, quality of life, and top tech hubs, giving you helpful insights from an IT perspective.
The Language and People of Ireland
According to the constitution, Irish Gaelic and English are both official languages of the Republic of Ireland. However, English is the primary language spoken by the majority of people living here.
The type of English, most people, speak is Hiberno-English. It’s a blend of the ordinary English language and the Irish style.
As a woman, you should note that Ireland is a patriarchal society. Legally, women have equal rights to men, although many parts of Irish society favor men. Be ready for questions such as your marital status and whether you have kids.
In general, Irish people are polite, sociable, and proud of their identity. You can get assured of a warm welcome, just don’t forget to offer a firm handshake and make eye contact! Life is more relaxed as compared to other countries in Western Europe.
The income for software engineers in Ireland varies depending on location, experience, skills, and gender. For instance, an entry-level job for a software engineer with less than one year’s experience pays about $42,074 per year, including bonuses and allowances.
With 1-4 years of experience, you can expect to earn a total of $49,440 per year. 5-9 years of experience has better pay of about $63,773, while 10-19 years of experience brings about $74,500 annually.
A senior software engineer with 20 or more years of experience earns between $82,903 and $95,704 per year.
On average, male software engineers in Ireland earn 6% more than female engineers. The estimated pay per hour is $21.54.
- Software Engineer Salary Comparison by Skills
Having additional skills can boost your salary. For instance, with machine learning skills, you’ll earn 34% more income, and skills in Scala generate 28% more income. Other skills that come in handy include Ruby with 20% more income, followed by Software Architecture with 16% more.
Cloud Computing nets 14% more, Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS brings in 12% more. Software Development is essential as well, with 12% more income. NoSQL earns 11% more, while React developer jobs and Docker both have a 10% increase.
- Salary Comparison by Location
When we look at salary differences based on location, Dublin has the best-paying jobs for software engineers. The average income is about 7.1% more than other parts of the nation.
Locations with the lowest salaries are in Shannon, with employees in Clare earning about 24.2% less than the national average. Jobs in Waterford pay about 22.7% less, while Limerick is last at 11% less.
- Comparison by Education Level
Assuming experience is the same, the level of education brings a difference in the salary amount. At the Certificate or Diploma level, a software engineer’s estimated salary is $29,919 per annum.
If you have a Bachelor’s Degree, you might earn 50% more than someone with a Certificate or Diploma degree. A Master’s Degree holder makes about 48% more than someone with a Bachelor’s Degree.
You can expect a salary increase of around 13% every 16 months.
As a software engineer, fast and reliable internet speeds are vital for top-notch performance. The average broadband speed in Ireland ranges from 24Mbps to 100Mbps, which is faster than in some states in the US.
You’ll find that those specific providers can offer higher speeds. Some areas with Fibre-to-the-Home connections enjoy speeds of up to 1,000Mbps.
Overview of Ireland by Tech Regions
The tech regions in Ireland are growing as a result of regional hubs. The three most dominant regions are Cork, Limerick, and Galway due to the level of activity, connectivity, and geography.
Popular regional digital hubs are the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, Cork, the Building Block in Sligo, SportsTech in Limerick, Crystal Valley in Waterford, and One Region One Vision in Galway.
As the capital of Ireland, Dublin has more than 70,000 people employed in the technology sector, and IT companies occupying about 40% of the office.
You’ll find multinational companies such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Cork is the most active hub, with more than 100 tech companies. Most tech companies in Cork are into
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- The Internet of things (IoT)
- Software as a service (SaaS)
You’ll find companies such as Nualight, Teamwork, Helixworks, and AventaMed.
Donegal boasts more than 10 active tech companies with a focus on security, enterprise, and cloud computing.
You’ll find top performers such as DroneSAR, CloudRanger, FireCloud365, and Sendmode.
There are more than 100 tech companies in Galway. Major companies in Galway include BriteBiz, Tr3Dent, 9th Impact, PipIT, and Eirscope.
Limerick has more than 63 tech companies, focusing on enterprise, green energy, IoT, and MedTech.
Top tech companies are such as Arralis, AltraTech, CDK Global, and Trackplan.
There are about 26 local tech companies. It has a start-up incubator for tech, WIT – ArcLabs, NDRC as an accelerator, and Crystal Valley Tech, widely popular for promoting tech.
You’ll find other companies such as Immersive VR Education, LiquidEdge and Kyckr, Dataworks, and Sedicii.
The Requirements of Working in Ireland
As a member of the European Union (EU), Ireland permits citizens of other EU member nations to get employment without a special permit or visa.
Citizens of the European Economic Area, the UK, and Switzerland can also live and work in Ireland without an employment permit. Immigration from the US doesn’t require a work permit.
If you come from any other country, you will require an employment permit and a visa to enter Ireland.
Two different authorities usually issue Ireland’s work permits and work visas. The Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI) provide Irish employment permits. The INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) issues the actual work visa.
Types of Ireland Work Visas
The type of visa you require depends on the reason for your visit and the duration you plan to stay in Ireland.
- Short Stay Visas
You’ll need a short stay ‘C’ visa if your visit is less than 3 months. This visa cannot get extended. You’ll have to leave Ireland and apply for a new one. Most short-stay visa applications are not acceptable for now (June 2021) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Long Stay Visas
The long-stay ‘D’ visa applies if you’d like to stay longer than 3 months, like work or permanent residence.
If you’re staying past the first 3 months, you’re required to register and obtain an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). The IRP is basically a certificate of registration that shows you have permission to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days.
Ireland Work Visa Requirements
Besides a valid passport and photos, your Ireland employment visa application should have other documents such as:
- An Ireland works visa application form.
- A letter explaining your reason for travel as employment
- Proof of accommodation in Ireland and enough funds
- Evidence that you’ll return to your country
- Your Employment Permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation.
- Your work contract or job offer and a letter from your employer in Ireland
- Proof of academic qualifications and previous work experience
- Proof of private medical insurance in Ireland, covering a minimum of $29,824.
Types of Ireland Employment Permits
There are many different types of Ireland employment permits. As a software engineer, the most applicable ones include:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit
The Ireland Critical Skills Employment Permit is for highly-skilled international workers, pivotal to Ireland’s economic growth.
These experts fill in specific occupations that are short of skilled workers in fields such as Engineering, ICT, Design, and Architecture.
As a software engineer, you can fit without the need to pass a Labour Market Needs Test.
- Critical Skills Employment Permit Requirements
If your job is on the DBEI’s Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List, your annual salary should be at least $38,198. If it’s not listed, your salary should be $76,408 per year or more.
Assuming that you have the right qualifications, skills, and experience, your job offer should not be less than two years.
Once you get the permit, you’ll need to work for your current employer for more than 12 months. After this period, you can change jobs.
If you’re coming from a country without exemption from visa requirements, you will also need a long-stay “D” visa. You’ll only be able to apply for a work visa if you have an employment permit from DBEI.
- General Employment Permit (Atypical Working Scheme)
This employment permit is for those professions that do not fit into critical skills. You can apply for this permit in any profession.
However, it’s impossible to apply for an Ireland Employment Permit without a work contract or job offer.
- General Employment Permit Requirements
To qualify for a General Employment Permit, there are other factors to affect your eligibility, such as;
Your annual salary should not be less than $35,820, with a few exceptions.
The company hiring you should have at least 50% of their workforce coming from EU/EEA member countries.
Once you get your General Employment Permit, you can now apply for an Ireland work visa.
The Ireland General Employment Permit is valid for 24 months. You can renew it for 3 more years, after which you’ll have to apply for permanent residence.
- Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit
If you’re already in employment in a company with a branch in Ireland, you can arrange for relocation using this permit. It applies to senior management, key personnel, or trainees.
- Contract for Services Employment Permit
This work permit is available to foreign workers who are in Ireland on behalf of their employer. You can get such a permit as long as your employer is has a valid contract from an Irish national.
- Reactivation Employment Permit
If you lose your right to work in Ireland for reasons that are not your faults, such as workplace exploitation or abuse, you can apply for this permit.
The Ireland work visa is just a pre-entry requirement. You’re able to travel to Ireland, but Border Control still verifies a few things. Even with a valid Irish work visa, an immigration officer has to check your documents and determine if you qualify to enter Ireland.
Education in Ireland
Ireland offers high-quality education in general, with public and private schools differing mainly in cost. In private schools, annual tuition varies depending on the school and your child’s age. On average, you can expect to spend about 11,000 USD per child.
State-funded education is available at all levels unless you decide to enroll your child in a private school. This means that education is free from pre-school and primary school to secondary school.
All children in Ireland aged between six and sixteen must attend school. As a parent, you’ll just need to pay for the uniform, books, stationary and extra-curricular activities such as school trips.
Undergraduate degrees are also free for Irish citizens and anyone from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is responsible for all costs.
Housing in Ireland
As an ex-pat, finding accommodation in Ireland can be challenging due to limited availability. Popular Irish cities for ex-pats are Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.
Dublin and Cork have the highest cost of living, followed by Limerick. Waterford is more affordable than Galway.
If you’re looking for affordable housing, a flat is a great choice. Apartments are self-contained, though you may share facilities such as the laundry. The monthly charge for utilities is often standard, though you can pay individually in some places.
In total, electric, heating, gas, and water cost between $110 and $170 depending on location.
Apartments in Irish cities have more room but can be expensive, so most ex-pats opt to stay in semi-detached shared houses. You can get both furnished and unfurnished apartments in Ireland. Most ex-pats prefer living in Dublin, so it has the majority of furnished apartments.
City houses are mostly three to four-bedroom or semi-detached. If you’d like freestanding or detached homes, most are in towns and villages.
- Average Rent in Ireland
Rent prices differ based on location, that is, the city or the countryside. The national average cost is about $1,550, with the highest being Dublin at $2,400 and the lowest being Leitrim and Donegal at $660—770
as an ex-pat moving to Ireland, Dublin is the most popular city with the highest number of immigrants. Other Southern cities like Galway and Cork are gaining popularity among ex-pats.
Healthcare in Ireland
In Ireland, non-residents can begin using the public healthcare system immediately after arrival. It’s not necessary to start contributing to the Irish tax system or social insurance to access the healthcare system. You just need to show your visa stamp indicating that you plan on staying for at least one year.
Irish citizens are all enrolled in the public healthcare system, where health services are freely accessible to all Medical Card Holders. The Medical Card includes public in- and out-patient services, eye, ear, and dental checkups.
If you don’t qualify for a medical card, you can decide to get private health insurance. The standard fee for a hospital visits in Ireland is about $110, with a doctor’s consultation being about $55. Private insurance costs between $33—160 per month, depending on the plan you select.
Banking in Ireland
As an ex-pat, you have the option of using online banking, or you can open a bank account on arrival. Online banking is more convenient as most modern banks have this option.
As a non-resident, you’ll need proof of identification and proof of address to open a bank account, whether online or in person.
Cost of Living in Ireland
Ireland is an island country, so most goods like groceries and alcohol are often imported. This makes them more expensive than in mainland countries.
The average cost of living in Ireland is relatively lower than in other European countries like the UK or Sweden. Living in major cities such as Dublin, Limerick, or Galway is more expensive.
You can reduce costs by living on the city’s outskirts or further away from a public transportation stop.
There are some cities that most ex-pats prefer to live in. Some make it easy to travel around and have larger international communities, while others are rich in Irish cultures, such as art.
Public transport within every Irish city is affordable, with a choice between bus and train. Fare costs around 2.20 USD per trip. If you choose to drive, you can use your regular license if you’re from the EU, EEA, Switzerland, or the UK.