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Google in Hong Kong has some good news for banking staff looking for an exit

If you want to leave banking in Asia and join Google, you’re probably eyeing up the (many) vacancies within the tech firm’s sprawling APAC headquarters in Singapore. But if you’re based in Hong Kong and want to stay there, Google still has job openings in your city, especially for cloud specialists.

About 30% of current vacancies in Google’s Causeway Bay office are cloud-focused, according to the company’s careers site. The majority of these are for engineers.

This is potentially good news if you’re a cloud engineer at a bank. In the face of local skills shortages, even Google can’t afford to limit itself to hiring from other tech firms. Banks from Citi to JP Morgan now have large cloud teams in Asia and therefore provide ideal headhunting grounds for Google.

Talent is flowing both ways, however, say tech recruiters in Hong Kong. Over the past year, banks have stepped up their cloud hiring from tech firms to overcome skill shortages in their own sector.

“Cloud is certainly a hot skill set to have right now. I have banks looking for candidates with specific experience with the Google Cloud Platform, or AWS or Windows Azure,” says Vince Natteri, a former programmer who’s now a director at headhunters Pinpoint Asia. “However, these candidates are not easy to come by locally, and banks in Hong Kong sometimes relocate them from other countries, which in turn means competing with tech giants like Google, across the world.”

At Google, senior Hong Kong-based cloud jobs include a head of specialist customer engineering. As well as coding skills, you’ll also preferably have “experience as a CTO or similar role driving technical strategy for a larger organisation”, according to Google’s careers site.

These large organisations are likely to include banks, if Google’s hiring history in Singapore is anything to go by. DBS’s former APAC head of cloud engineering, Carl Bachman Kharazmi, is now working for Google Singapore, which has also recently hired Guillaume Van de Vyver  from Standard Chartered in an APAC cloud strategy role.

Beware that senior cloud jobs at Google in Hong Kong come with a requirement to evangelise about the sector. The engineering-head role demands a “compelling presenter” who can speak at “large events covering keynote topics on innovation and technology”.

What kind of technical skills might get you a mid-ranking job at Google Cloud in Hong Kong? A customer engineer job description cites experience with big data, PaaS, and IaaS technologies, as well as Linux, and Web 2.0 development platform solutions. You’ll also need to know enterprise networking concepts (e.g. DNS, TCP, firewalls, and proxy servers) and be able to create demo scripts in a language such as C#, Python, or Perl.

Meanwhile, most of Google’s cloud engineering jobs in Hong Kong require you to liaise with customers, potential customers, and the sales team more regularly than you might be used to at a bank. A technical understanding of Google Cloud isn’t enough – you’ll need to explain its operations to non-tech audiences. A customer engineering manager job, for example, involves “overcoming” customer objections that arise during the sales process.

If you’re choosing between a cloud job at a bank and a cloud job at a tech giant like Google, you should be aware of other differences between them. “A technology firm provides opportunities to work on projects that create new solutions, and provides an environment where you can learn from your peers,” says Clarence Quek, a senior client solutions director at recruiters Randstad. “A bank is more likely to draw applicants who are seeking better pay, and funding for large in-house technology projects,” he adds.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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