Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
Keep skills current through projects
My company has made a lot of programmers redundant. I am one of them. I started my career in backend support. I do C++ and Visual Basic, but with apps development being the trend, I realise I’m falling behind in this latest skill. I’m 40 now – is it too late to develop a new skill? Are there any jobs out there for people like me?
The face of technology is constantly changing and as an IT professional, it’s important to keep your skills up to date. Although it’s true some employers may consider more mature programmers to be less adaptable to fast-changing technologies, it’s never too late to catch up – it just means you may need to make more of an effort to prove your capability to employers.
The demand for programmers and development professionals is extremely high in Hong Kong and it’s very much a candidate-driven market. So with persistence and the right attitude, you should be able to find a new role.
Although it’s always great to keep up with the latest technology, it’s not necessary to have cutting-edge skills and knowledge to secure a role, as there is still large demand for applications development skills in a more traditional environment.
Online job boards allow you to search through hundreds of roles by industry, location, salary and job type. You can also register with these sites to receive free daily emails full of potential jobs that match your specified criteria. I would also suggest reading trade publications, magazines, e-newsletters and professional journals, as they also advertise current job vacancies.
Trade publications also provide a rich source of news and issues affecting your profession and wider industry. In addition, one of the most effective ways to find a job is through networking, both online through social media and in person, to get the help of people you already know, such as friends and colleagues.
Your network can keep an eye out for opportunities that match your skills and interests, introduce you to people who can help your job search and provide personal referrals when you apply for jobs.
There are also networking events for programmers and developers – use social media tools to research and join them.
Even if you do not manage to secure a full-time role, it should still be possible to secure freelancing projects where you can refine your skills. With some projects under your belt, you should have enough of a track record to secure a new permanent role.
Christopher Aukland has 11 years of recruitment experience in both the UK and Asia, and is regional director of Michael Page in Hong Kong. Michael Page is part of PageGroup, one of the world’s leading recruitment companies operating in more than 153 offices in over 34 countries worldwide.