Over the past two decades, Hong Kong has made a successful transition from a largely manufacturing focused centre to an advanced technology service hub. To support this, the Hong Kong government has actively backed infrastructural initiatives such as the development of Hong Kong Cyberport.
A complex of four grade A intelligent office buildings, a five-star hotel, a retail entertainment block and a luxury residential development, Hong Kong Cyberport is an interactive and all-compassing environment for about 100 IT companies and 7,000 IT professionals including some of Hong Kong's leading IT engineers employed by Cyberport.
"Since Cyberport is a hub for the regional IT industry, our engineers have a significant role to play. We not only offer IT-related services to tenants, but also act as a pioneer in promoting advanced IT technology," says Sunny Ho, manager, information technology operations, Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited.
He explains that tenants of the complex include local and overseas companies specialising in IT applications, vendors and multi-media content providers.The Cyberport engineers' role is to provide them with quality technical advice and support.
Cyberport engineers have many opportunities for professional advancement, Mr Ho points out. "For example, in 2005 we started with IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) testing. Later the same year, we started providing IPv6 connection services to our tenants. We also handle projects such as DRM (Digital Rights Management), Arrilaser, Next Generation Network and Open WiFi," he says.
With a thriving economy and a government committed to a vibrant, competitive and innovative IT industry, demand for experienced engineers is soaring in Hong Kong.
"Hardworking engineers with excellent technical capabilities and qualities such as leadership, communication and management skills are highly sought after in the IT industry," Mr Ho notes, adding that engineers work closely with tenant clients and must have good problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to manage projects efficiently and promptly.
"We appreciate staff members who are willing to go the extra mile, and our team is always looking for dedicated, passionate individuals who are keen to learn and contribute," Mr Ho remarks.
He advises IT professionals to keep learning in order to enhance their skills and equip themselves to handle different aspects of the business.
Hong Kong Cyberport is committed to helping staff advance in their careers, says Mr Ho, pointing out that the company has a strong staff- retention strategy. Fresh graduates starting off as assistant engineers can work their way up to become engineers and, after that, senior engineers, followed by supervisory and managerial positions.
Mr Ho has seen the IT sector boom in his more than 16 years in the industry. "The expanding industry has also widened the scope of career opportunities for professionals," he says. "The recruitment and retention of high-performing staff are a major concern across the industry. Finding the right people with the right skills and aspirations is also a challenge."
Employers across the board are looking for candidates with a wide range of IT-related knowledge, including server administration, networking, telecommunications and data-centre operation, Mr Ho notes.
"In cases where we have trouble finding the ideal candidate, we will expand our recruitment drive, for example by considering candidates who don't have the exact technical skills and academic background we require, but who possess highly transferable skills."
IT is a solid career platform for fresh graduates looking for a job that offers excellent prospects for development. "As a world city, Hong Kong's knowledge-based service sector has much room for future expansion," Mr Ho stresses. "We anticipate unprecedented growth, so graduates should work on their individual strengths to establish a solid foundation for building long-term careers."
Considering the industry's bright outlook, candidates have a choice of directions to specialise in, including programming, web design, network planning, system maintenance and support, says Mr Ho, advising prospective IT professionals to identify the sector most suitable to their skills and personality at the outset.
Promising candidates who demonstrate that they are hardworking and eager to learn and take on responsibility have a good chance of a job offer, he adds.