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Who are IT professionals?
The IT sector is generally known for its diversity of professions: from programmers to entrepreneurs, from digital marketers to designers, and everyone in between. My grandparents asked me recently who am I writing about and my explanation was based on a simple website of a local newspaper and all the jobs behind it and people who do them.
Let’s just say they were surprised by how many people are essential to make this weird internet thing they use sporadically running smoothly. But what floored them the most was the fact that some of those jobs could be performed from any place in the world with a good internet connection. And I didn’t even try to explain start-ups, entrepreneurs, apps, etc. I saved that for another lesson over coffee and grandma’s baked goods.
One thing both of them said is this: if IT professionals truly can work from anywhere in the world, it’s no wonder they came here to Split and decided to stay. I tend to agree.
I’m sure every single one of our local IT professionals had their reason(s) behind their move to Split. However, the benefits of living here are certainly clear. Let’s look at geography first. Split lies on a peninsula located on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the central Dalmatia region. From the point of view of connectivity, this position is excellent.
Split’s airport is located in Kaštela, a wider suburban region 20 km away from Split’s city center, with connections to a variety of foreign airports. Split is also a major port – the third busiest in the Mediterranean with a direct connection to neighboring Italy. A1 freeway connects Split to Zagreb directly. All of this makes for really good connectivity if, for whatever business reason, one has to travel away from Split.
When it comes to leisure, this position of the city also has its many advantages because Split is well connected with various islands, mountains, national parks and other nearby cities with interesting historical sights. While not an overly large city, the ones who prefer an even quieter life can certainly find a place to live in Split’s suburban area in lovely smaller cities like Solin, Kaštela, Trogir, and Podstrana, while still being close enough to the second-largest city in the country.
Because of its location, Split has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters with more than 2600 sunshine hours annually and very good air quality. And being a city of sports, there are many sports associations you can join to practice a variety of both indoor and outdoor sports. This makes Split a very healthy city to live in.
The overall sense of safety is also rather good, as any violent incidents are very rare compared to larger cities and the southern Mediterranean lifestyle makes people considerably friendly and having a strong sense of community spirit. That makes Split a great choice for people with young children.
Split also has a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. With three theaters, concert halls, different museums, cinemas, and a variety of annual festivals and exhibitions, one can enjoy varied cultural and entertainment content. From classical to contemporary music, puppet plays for children to serious dramas on the national stage, blockbuster movies to small independent films, historical museum exhibitions to the funny setup of illusions – there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Regarding the work IT professionals do, the local tech community is expanding every day and it’s always welcoming to anyone who wishes to join it and contribute. Split Tech City, as a local association that gathers this community together, organizes a variety of events for locals and internationals alike that provide a place for getting to know the work of the local companies and individuals working in the IT sector, networking with other attendees, and generally being inspired.
This gives you an idea why Split is very appealing: it offers a fantastic opportunity to have a great work-life balance.
What struggles did they overcome?
I have also once walked in the shoes of an expat and can agree that no matter how beautiful the new city you’re going to live in is, moving to a new country brings its challenges.
There are the basic existential struggles such as paperwork, bureaucracy, and finding a place to live long-term which can either be easy or complicated to resolve, depending on the infrastructure in place in the country you’re moving to and access to accurate, transparent, and up-to-date information in English which you can consult in advance to better prepare for your move.
Once there, you have to navigate a new culture that may or may not be vastly different from yours. You have to learn to function in the day-to-day life and figure out what works well and what things to avoid: who will sell you apples from their orchard in the local market and who will try to cheat you with overpriced ones from a nearby supermarket at that very same market; which plumber will actually help you out and charge you fairly for the service provided and which will leave you penniless and dealing with the still flooded toilet on your own.
Language could also be a barrier, depending on how well locals speak English beyond the basic phrases they might use during the tourist season. That also draws the question of building your network and connections with locals from scratch, in everyday life as well as in business.
And while to feel less alone, it may be nice to meet other expats who are going through the same experience as you, it’s not ideal in the long run as you will build lasting connections with the local community only if you step out of your comfort zone of fellow expats and meet the locals.
I have gone through all these struggles myself and succeeded in finding solutions that worked for me, as any expat anywhere in the world probably did, but I can only imagine what navigating these issues on top of starting a new business or managing an existing one looks like.
That’s why international IT professionals who have chosen my hometown to live in and work from are doubly inspirational to me.
Be inspired by the people who chose Split!
To inspire you to come to live here and join our IT community, we invite you to follow us and meet the IT professionals living in Split and its surrounding area – people from around the world who have chosen our lovely country to live and do business from and are a living proof that it’s possible to achieve great things in Split by working hard to surpass any obstacles.
As a community, we will strive towards easing your move to Split by providing a good starting point for possible business connections, as well as accurate and relevant information about a variety of topics that might be of interest to you. After all, our “international locals” have been there before and I’m sure they will have a lot of advice that will be very helpful.
I hope the stories we will bring you in the future, through a series of profiles on Split’s IT professionals, will inspire you to consider living in Croatia and working towards making your dream job a reality, whilst also enjoying all the benefits that make life in Split so great and bring that desired work-life balance we all aspire to have.