Dublin’s days as a techie Cinderella are numbered
Zendesk’s forthcoming major expansion in its Irish base will create high-level jobs in the capital, the multinational’s vice-president of engineering, Colum Twomey, tells Adrian Weckler
Zendesk, which has a global headquarters in San Francisco, has over 35,000 paid customer accounts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is growing at 30pc annually.
Globally, the company has over 100,000 paid customer accounts.
Twomey says that the firm is serious about high-end design jobs being part of the Dublin set-up.
“The first product we took on here in Dublin was the Talk product, which we had to take on and support while we built it from the ground up. That has been a really successful product for us and it’s been owned entirely here in Dublin.
“That means we have the engineers, the designers, the QA process, the creative guys, the product management all here. It’s full ownership. It gives us a high level of autonomy.”
Other Zendesk processes have elements of this philosophy.
“All of the mobile software that is built by Zendesk is built here in Dublin,” says Twomey. “And it’s all native Android and iOS stuff. So we’re building apps, we’re building SDKs. Again, it’s pretty autonomous.
“That’s what keeps people engaged here. We have a very low turnover of staff because people care about what they’re building and want to have control. If they thought they were being dictated to from another geography, they may not like it.
“Certainly, I wouldn’t have come here if we weren’t going to get this kind of work.”
The company is also looking for non-tech roles to hire.
“As well as the these tech jobs, we’re also looking for sales people, support people and language skills,” says Twomey. “Right now, about 40pc of our staff are engineers, while 20pc are in sales, 20pc are in support and 10pc are in finance or back office functions. “I think it’s going to scale fairly linearly.” Zendesk established its office in Dublin in 2012 with two engineers and an idea to globally expand its engineering team.
“Initially, the (Danish) founders moved from Copenhagen to San Francisco,” says Twomey. “But while San Francisco is great from a market perspective, it’s hard to afford or attract A-list talent there.
“The founders decided to locate an engineering centre in Copenhagen but knew it wouldn’t be enough, so that’s when they picked Dublin.
“Since then, the decision has been to grow the Dublin operation from an engineering perspective because it’s really working very well for us. We’re not growing our other sites as rapidly. We have sites in cities like Berlin as well, but we made a decision not to put our engineering there because we’re able to meet our needs here.”
Colum Twomey, vice-president of engineering at Zendesk, says the company will also be hiring non-tech staff for its Dublin operation.
Picture: Adrian Weckler