Developer Nick moves to New Zealand
"People here value having a life outside work."
Living near three craft breweries has been just one of the upsides of moving to New Zealand for US tech worker Nick Piesco. And Nick says there’s one thing even better than living near three breweries – having the time to enjoy them.
“Work/life balance is extremely important to me, and it’s extremely important to the company I work for,” says Nick.
“That’s one of the things that drew me to New Zealand. People here really value having a life outside work, and companies respect that.”
Nick is a front-end developer for accounting software company Xero in Wellington. New Zealand’s capital city offers tech workers the combination of a fast-growing startup scene and an incredible lifestyle.
Reneau is in the film industry and had been working on a production in Australia. Before returning home to Austin, Texas, the couple took a trip to New Zealand and decided it would be a great place to live and work.
“We both had good jobs and good lives in Austin, but we were ready for a change,” he says.
The job offer from Xero came the day before the election of Donald Trump as US president, timing that Nick says was “coincidental but fortuitous”. He says he appreciates New Zealand’s liberal political climate and egalitarian values.
Rising tech industry
Nick is a former TV meteorologist and worked as a developer in the US for five years. He wrote code for a consultancy and then for a startup in Austin before moving to Wellington in February 2017.
“Xero is a big company but it feels like a small company. We work in small teams but there are lots of opportunities to try other things, whether it’s tech architecture or mentoring graduates,” he says.
“I really like the company culture and everything they do to sustain it. If you put a bunch of really smart people together, you can do some really smart things.”
New Zealand is seen as an increasingly attractive option in the global battle for top tech talent. When Wellington offered free flights to 100 developers to check out its tech industry, it expected 2,500 applications but received more than 48,000 – including some from workers at Google, Facebook, Amazon and NASA.
“Wellington’s tech scene is growing really fast but still feels personal,” says Nick.
“It’s nice to get in somewhere early and watch the scene grow. I’m looking forward to contributing more – there are abundant opportunities here.”
Exciting city lifestyle
When Nick and Reneau first started thinking about moving countries, they looked for a city that was smaller than Austin but still had an exciting urban lifestyle. Nick says they’ve found that in Wellington. While Wellington is a long way from Texas, Nick and Reneau are able to keep in touch with family and friends using WhatsApp and video calling. On Christmas morning, Reneau played Trivial Pursuit by video with her family back home.
“Wellington is big enough to have everything you need but small enough to be an easy place to live,” he says.
“We’re able to live in the city and walk everywhere – we don’t have a car here. The food is great, there’s a big craft beer scene, and, while we’re not super outdoorsy, it’s really nice to have beautiful nature right outside your front door.”