Career Paths

How to Kick Start Your Career as a Software Engineer in Hong Kong

min read
Mikaela Thompson

You’re considering a role as a Software Engineer? Maybe…probably…I’m not sure, you say…Just wait up a sec! With so many recent grads out of work in our Covid world, is this a career path that will lead to employment for me? 

You can be forgiven for not knowing much about the job market prospects of a software engineer, since in the past, this role was subsumed by banks and financial institutions. However, today, there’s a burgeoning job market for them, especially in Hong Kong, as well as globally. 

Why’s this? The Hong Kong Government’s recent initiatives to push tech start-ups here to compete with the well-established and serviced technology economies in Singapore, Shenzhen and Beijing, have meant software engineers have become a hot commodity needed to fill a gamut of roles resulting from this current proliferation of start-ups. As noted by Kevin Lau (cited by, this is great news for this career as more competition between these companies, who all want the best and sharpest minds, coupled with more jobs available, means higher pay rates and excellent benefits! It’s a no-brainer now is the time in Hong Kong particularly, to get ready to embark on a career as a software engineer. Are you sold yet? Ok, so you need to know what a software developer does and what you need, to be one first, right? 

Am I a suitable candidate to be a software engineer?

If you have a penchant for all things techie and feel a pull towards a career in this field, you may well fit the bill. Before you decide, think about the following key requirements. Foremost, you need to have programming language competency and the ability to write code. Besides this, you will need to have strong analytical skills and intuitive problem-solving abilities. These will be applied to software architecture, algorithms and data structures, software debugging testing and data analysis. It’s an exciting field to be a part of. Tech start-ups are the driving force of technological innovation within industries, such as, healthcare, hospitality, and finance across the world. Imagine being on the cutting edge of software design, construction, testing and improvements for all technology services and products! That’s got to be an awesome feeling!

What qualifications do I need to even consider this career?

Well, potentially not much in terms of formal degrees. The essential ingredient is having some knowledge of computer language. Your existing tech skills and problem-solving results need to sell themselves. In this case, employers won’t be fussed about formal education qualifications. Writing good code is what they want. They’ll also highly value your work experience, talent, temperament and critical thinking skills. This is evidenced by the number of people from other fields, such as, marketing and operations, who have managed to move into software engineering by virtue of their own initiative to teach themselves coding. Some have taken the more obvious route of doing online or offline coding courses of which there are many to choose from. Which of these is a good fit for you, depends on your existing skills.

Do all software developers do the same thing?

No. Developers specialize where their strengths lie in a particular area and a company will build a team around this domain e.g., front-end developers who use their design and tech skills to create impactful, user-friendly websites; back-end developers who build and maintain the servers needed by all websites to exist; full-stack developers who can do both front and back end roles making them very attractive to companies; testers who use a range of tools to test products for quality assurance; software architects, which is a highly specialized role, can be worked towards with the relevant experience and expertise to become architects of the foundation upon which all software is dependent; mobile developers, who focus on mobile apps and mobile web optimizers, are part of a fast growing domain since 65% of web views were done from mobile devices across the globe (Statista, Jan 2021 cited by Xccelerate). So, there’s a wide variety of roles from which you can pick to suit your talent and ambitions.

Are you sure there’s longevity in this career in Hong Kong?

Absolutely! Most notably, the HK government has set aside in this year’s budget, $50 billion for innovation and technology initiatives. The surge in the number of start-ups is a direct result accompanied by a steep rise in the demand for software engineers. As well, the government’s establishment of the HK Applied Science and Research Institute is attracting top talent from across the globe. Therefore, yes, the future of software engineers looks securely set as a highly active, expansive and fertile career field. 

Get cracking, now is your time to get ready!

Check out some other pro tips on navigating a new career path here

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