Technology development is changing the landscape of Hong Kong's economy. Essential for this transition is a ready and competent IT professional workforce.
"Top-flight IT talent are vitally important for Hong Kong's future," says Samson Tam, a legislative councillor who represents the information technology functional constituency. "Hong Kong has a strong and competent professional workforce that will help maintain its strategic position in the world economy."
Dr Tam, who is also chairperson of the organising committee of the Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) Outstanding IT Achiever Awards 2008, says the competition leverages the certification system set up by the Hong Kong Institute for IT Professional Certification (HKITPC).
"The winners of each award category demonstrate the depth and capability of Hong Kong's IT talent," he remarks.
One such category recognises a high level of professional IT competency. Seasoned IT architects Douglas Chan, chairman of eBroker Systems Limited; Andy Chun, associate professor of the City University of Hong Kong's Department of Computer Science; and Denise Tung, advisory IT architect of IBM China/Hong Kong Limited, gained kudos in setting the benchmark in the IT architect community.
"The IT industry needs people with good negotiation and communication skills to make technical ideas work in practical business contexts," says Mr Chan, a pioneer in designing global risk management systems for equity derivatives.
Prior to founding eBroker Limited, he helped major investment banks develop their trading and risk management systems. Recently, he has been focusing on improving the speed and throughput of electronic trading systems for major financial institutions in Hong Kong.
Dr Chun believes that IT professionals need excellent interpersonal skills. His success in IT architecture lies in understanding his clients' needs. His artificial intelligence (AI) research has resulted in a variety of commercial applications ranging from a nurse rostering system to a train dispatch system and a food order processing system.
Additionally, Ms Tung says good communication skills are equally important. "We are in touch with our peers and colleagues constantly on design work and project execution. It is vital to convey all messages in an effective way," she explains, adding that she has this strong belief especially after managing one of the largest IP-based contact centre infrastructure projects for a logistics company in major cities in China.
As information technology is stressed by every company these days, the industry is expecting a steady growth in the demand for IT professionals and will constantly be seeking new talent.
Mr Chan notes in most IT organisations, on-the-job training is the "default" training method, to ensure freshmen get up to the speed and industry best practice.