IT jobs in Vietnam

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ju8ular (not verified)
IT jobs in Vietnam

I'm thinking of moving to Vietnam for work in the iT field - there appear to be lots of opportunities in interesting fields of development there at the moment. Now I know the most sage advice is "secure a job with an international company before you leave", but that's like saying "secure a job with an international company and do your mandatory 3 years before you even get considered for a remote possibility of an overseas placement". I've been there, seen that before (PwC, BearingPoint).

What is the reality of the job market in general? Are employers agnostic over Vietnamese/foreigners in terms of skills, or do they prefer local?

Keen to hear from anyone who has either done some background research of their own on this or, even better, experienced this themselves.


On the one hand, you are in your strongest negotiating position when you are still in your home country and a company in Vietnam is trying to scout you.

On the other hand, you will get interviews with a lot more companies if you are already living here.

Making generalizations here, but the general trend is for big companies to phase out expats for lower-paid Vietnamese replacements. But many companies are also strongly fighting for their right to hire foreigners when they want or need to, which is often the case especially for management.

For IT, I really don't recommend being a low-level IT worker as a foreigner as there are plenty of IT people in Vietnam. Only something like project management experience, some mix of business and technical skills, or certain very specific technical skills. Do you have either?

For example, it's not easy to find highly experienced Unix admins but on the other hand there's not that much demand.

Did I mention that teaching English is in high demand?


Thanks for the really useful advice tomo. If, as you say, there are plenty of IT folk there to fill what appear to be a large and apparently steadily increasing number of available development roles, then I guess I may have to reconsider.

Though I do have a mix of business/tech skills (worked as a business analyst for about 3 years, and as a dev for about 2), my passion really is development (currently mobile). In saying that, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking on a development team lead role, for example. Does that change things, in your opinion, in terms of employability? Also, would you recommend going through the standard channels (i.e. job sites) or directly approach a company? Would I be wrong in assuming that IT shops there generally serve clients in other countries? If so, I would have thought good English-speaking skills (regardless of role) would have been an asset rather than a liability.

I'm aware that demand for English-language skills is high, but I'm not really interested.

Thanks again, in advance


To say it another way, Vietnam is graduating some 100,000 or so IT graduates (I'm not sure what the exact number is but let's give it a rough figure) each year, and even though a lot of them are not qualified to work, it still means there are a lot of IT workers here and coming into that you have a lot of competition. You, as a foreigner, can compete, but not on commodity skills. You can compete with very specific and hard to find skills where you would work as a consultant. But to work for a company, long term, the company would be better off training a Vietnamese person than to pay an expat's salary. It's not always possible, and there isn't always time, but those jobs aren't that common.

You would be better off finding some clients at home who you could work for while in Vietnam. Barring that, you could find work on freelance developer sites like Odesk or Elance.

Having English skills is a big plus for engineers because they often do directly interact with foreign customers, but not to the point where it's worth paying a native English speaker for that skill alone. But there might be highly customer-facing positions like sales where it would make sense - but not just a developer.


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