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20 Years in Gibraltar; Martin's Expat Story

about 1 month ago by Angelique Pearson
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One of the most important roles on the planet, the Software Developer or Software Architect, the brains behind applications we all use everyday and I’m sure you will agree, the world depends on them.

So, I couldn’t help myself but look up “collective nouns for software developers” and here’s what it brought up:

Ok we can’t assume all software developers or architects get stuck in a bike-shed moment of procrastination, but yes they will most certainly have used recursion, ‘the method of solving a problem, where the solution depends on a solution.’ A general term used in the computer science world.

I recently got in touch with Martin, a Software Architect in Gibraltar. I wanted to discover more about what brought him to Gibraltar and how his adventure had unfolded over the last 20 years he’d been here. (We hope this quashes the myth that relocating to Gibraltar is a new trend. It’s been happening for decades!)

On opposite sides of the channel, time zones totally slipped my mind! I’d told Martin we’ll talk at 12.30pm, so  couldn’t understand why he was messaging me at 11.45am asking me, “Are we not meeting?”

I’ve always been reliably on time for all my meetings and events, so I know I can’t be the only one who has ever made this time zone blunder! Any candidates who are reading this and scheduled for an interview, make sure you set your alarm in Gibraltar time!

Martin certainly is a true Gibraltarian, he’s mastered the whole relocating to Gibraltar thing to the point where he’s claimed official residency in Gibraltar. 

I ask him what do you have to do to become a permanent national of Gibraltar? He tells me, “You have to have a property to either rent or buy. I bought my flat in 2016, the same year I became resident.”

When I ask what are the benefits of being a national in Gibraltar? He goes on to tell me, “There are immense tax benefits in Gibraltar. I'm exempt from paying taxes such as inheritance tax and capital tax. The society gets to regulate itself very well here and there is no crime. Everyone knows each other.”

The Gibraltar Way of Life

When I ask him what brought him to Gibraltar, he told me that when he first arrived in 1999, he instantly fell in love with the place. The locals were very friendly and he felt at home straight away. So he decided he would settle here with his family, which included his 3 year old daughter at the time - now 21 and finishing off at university to become a vet, whilst his other daughter will qualify as an engineer. Both, proud Gibraltarians, will return to their homeland after their studies. Martin shares an interesting fact, “There are lots of animals in Gibraltar, so a huge demand for vets here.”

Perhaps there’s something about living in Gibraltar that appeals to many people. Maybe it takes them back in time to a nostalgic era that reminds them of their childhoods spent in picturesque village settings in England.

Martin on the other hand, did grow up in a rural idyllic village in Berkshire and even went to boarding school there. So, Gibraltar really did remind him of the life he had whilst growing up.

Switching Career Paths

Martin cleverly made the switch to a computing career from being a qualified engineer, when he was working on a project back in 1983. He was required to make lots of calculations, for which he was able to find alternative ways to get to his solution. This is when he realised he had an aptitude for computing. The biggest drive for his career change was how well paid the IT industry was in those days.

“There was certainly less competition then, than there is now,” he tells me. “When I started in IT, it was very open book and as time has gone on, everything is now more specialised. You really have to keep up otherwise you can lose your employability.”

Martin has achieved many ventures out here since then. He opened a bar in Sotogrande in 2009 which he later sold to a partner. When his daughters wanted to go to school in the UK, he moved back seamlessly and returned again to Gibraltar in 2011, before being offered a job in Malaga as a Performance Architect.

Now he is working for a large online gaming brand and his desk is a mere 7-min stroll from his sunny flat. “I love coming to work each day. My team is brilliant, they have the best sense of humour,” he states. I ask him what is his favourite skill is that he loves to utilise in his role.

“I can make things go faster. The trading environment is very important and I am able to optimise databases, optimise code, optimise infrastructure.” Sounds like a genius with a very fast brain!

I’m always intrigued to know what hobbies working people in Gibraltar have. Martin doesn’t fail to amaze me when he says he’s a member of an indoor pistol club, scuba-dives and collects classic cars. “55 Mustang, Mini Cooper, Triumph TR6…”

Martin has really embraced the Gibraltar life and his journey is one that should inspire anyone considering a career change or relocation to Gibraltar. His career and hobbies have flourished endlessly within a tax-friendly climate that has suited him.