Career Path

Conquering adversity

by Gerry Xavier

Information Technology
Chris Ng
Regional Service Director
Greater China Region EMC Computer Systems

People love success stories whatever their mystery. Chris Ng's tale has no mystery, but it is an inspiring story of strong will and hard work.

"I had no credentials, only a secondary school pass when I went into the competitive commercial world," says Mr. Ng. "I was finally taken in by a photo-copying shop. I had no title. I just did what they told me to do." But he believed he could do better, and went about doing just that.

Today, Mr. Ng is Regional Service Director for the Greater China Region at EMC Computer Systems (FE) Ltd., a world leader in information storage systems, software, networks and services. The company's worldwide earnings topped US$8.9 billion in 2000.

Industry veteran

Mr. Ng knew from the outset of his working life that only knowledge could help him get ahead in the job arena, so he enrolled in a night school. He studied electronics and obtained a Certificate of Electronic Engineering from a technical school. Not much, he recalls, but it got him a job as a field technician in a computer firm. From there he advanced to being a field engineer in another company, then to being a technical support engineer before joining EMC as engineer-in-charge, when the US-based company opened a branch office in Hong Kong.

"Don't worry too much about results. Simply do your best, and keep asking yourself whether you are doing your best. If you preoccupy yourself with results, you will find excuses for not doing a lot of things"

A nine-year veteran of EMC, Mr. Ng has more than 40 staff working under him in the service division, which looks after clients in the Greater China region comprising Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. EMC's customers include the world's largest banks, airlines, transportation companies and Internet providers...The list is exhaustively long.

Mr. Ng says the Greater-China team received a 100-per-cent service satisfaction rating in a survey last year. The company gets high points for providing its customers with 24-hour real-time support services from major centers around the world assisted by field engineers in the cities in which EMC operates. The company provides a full range of services vital to its clients, including a swift disaster-recovery service, back-up and a means of replicating data, which is of paramount importance to modern-day businesses.

Learning for life

"My advice to young people pursuing a career in information technology (IT) is to get a degree," says Mr. Ng. "It gives them a head start. Competition is very tough in the field and a diploma is not enough nowadays."

He also cautions them not to stop learning after they leave university. "In fact, it's the start of a continuous learning process. Technology does not stand still and IT and computer professionals need to keep abreast of developments," he says, adding:

"Don't worry too much about results. Simply do your best, and keep asking yourself whether you are doing your best. If you preoccupy yourself with results, you will find excuses for not doing a lot of things."

Nothing is impossible

Mr. Ng believes everything is possible, if you set your mind on achieving what you think is achievable. But it requires strong determination, perseverance and hard work to attain difficult goals.

Mr. Ng is an inveterate reader of books of all kinds, not just books on computers. But his favorite is history books. "History is full of stories about great men overcoming adversity. It gives you hope. It tells you nothing is impossible," he says.

"Throughout history men and women have conquered adversity. They helped me to get where I am today," says Mr. Ng with great passion in his voice.

China Opportunities

China is opening up its huge IT market to foreign participation, and, according to Mr. Ng, Hong Kong computer professionals could play a middleman role for English-speaking foreign firms, or work for Hong Kong companies on the Mainland.

However, he warns, computer engineers from Hong Kong will find it hard to compete. There is not only a huge pool of local IT talent who's salaries are much lower than those expected by Hong Kong IT professionals, the need to speak Mandarin also favors their Mainland counterparts.

An advantage Hong Kong computer engineers have is their knowledge of the more sophisticated IT systems, but the Chinese are catching up fast.

Figures for reference only   K='000

Taken from Career Times 14 June 2002, p. 32
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