All developers at FWH in HCMC have permanent positions in Norwegian companies. Now, we are diversifying: Vietnamese developers have headed to Norway, and a young Norwegian developer has joined us in Vietnam. How does an international company culture enhance his — and your — career? Get Full-stack Kim-André Kristiansen´s personal take on going international.
- Experience different working cultures to find what suits you
«There is quite a difference in working culture between Vietnam and Norway. The focus on hierarchy is one example. In Norway it’s flat, while many companies in Vietnam emphasize micro management, which I’m no fan of. The technical level of developers, though, is high in both countries. I’ve had many extremely competent colleagues here in Vietnam. Heading for long careers in technical positions is less prioritized here, I would say. Huge companies, especially in traditional Outsourcing, usually ´promotes´ engineers to middle management positions as a next career step. That’s not the case at Facilitated Work Hub. We are passionate about tech challenges, and want to become pure experts.
By having a cultural collaboration advisor at the office, I feel that FWH do what they can to minimize the gap between Vietnamese and Norwegian working culture. Øyvind Sveen guides new hires to adapt to Norwegian colleagues and companies, while still keeping the Vietnamese hunger and edge. He also guides the Norwegian co-employers, giving them cultural advice and insight about Vietnam, following up and helping out if challenges arise. This model creates value for us developers, but also all of FWH´s client partners. Collaboration goes both ways.
- Discover other people’s strengths and learn from them
«I see how Vietnamese developers take a lot of pride in their work. They are hard-working and humble. In addition, they are not afraid to point out aspects which can be improved, and that is crucial in a team setting. Personally, I see the great value in observing how foreigners approach work, and learning from them. Joining in, as I’ve done, is even better. Especially in terms of communication skills. There’s no way around it, you quickly get better at communication when collaborating internationally.»
- Gain deeper knowledge through stability
«For two years before starting at FWH, I worked for a local outsourcing provider up in Da Nang. Life was good up there, but to be honest, I started missing a Norwegian working environment after a while. Partly because of the fleeting nature of outsourcing projects. It’s outright hard to feel a kinship, a connection, with whatever product you’re involved with. You could be moved to another project after lunch, you never know. So, I started looking for alternative career trajectory options.»
«When I got aware of Facilitated Work Hub in HCMC, I felt intrigues and got in touch. A Norwegian company, here in my adopted country, where Vietnamese developers enjoy long-term permanent positions for Norwegian clients? Sounds pretty good! As luck would have it, FWH´s co-employer Azets were in need of a new full-stack. My impression so far made it easy to accept the offer when it was tabled after going through the interview rounds.»
«Azets is a product company, which gives me the chance to gain deep product knowledge. This again makes me realize and understand what the end user wants and needs. In my opinion, this way of working clearly gives a superior end result. Product companies are idea based. As the CMO Uma Beako at FWH says: – Why would anyone waste their careers in fluctuating dead-end outsourcing?»
- Make yourself attractive for employers
«A fair share of tech companies in Norway have international customers and remote employees abroad. When given the opportunity to work abroad, you gain perspective. You learn how to collaborate with people from a different background, pick up fresh takes. It’s all education. Having perspective and new understanding in your locker puts you in pole position to introduce and integrate positive experiences and changes. Employers will recognize this advantage, of course.»
- Live the dream
«Since I was a child, I’ve been dreaming of living abroad. Experience the world, challenge myself. The main reason for me picking Vietnam was not that original, maybe, as my girlfriend is Vietnamese. That said, I have always found South East Asia fascinating, and traveled extensively in the region several times.»
«I feel well in Vietnam, I’m happy here. Work-life balance is in place. Most things differ from Norway, which gives the added value of always exploring something new. I can’t complain about the weather conditions, either. There are things I miss in Norway, of course, but snowy winters I can easily do without!»
«Joining FWH has gone smoothly, even if it happened during the lockdown. The follow-up has been good all the way. Azets have made me feel more than welcome as well, so I am ready for my next chapter here in HCMC.»
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We look forward to have Kim-André at our hub for years to come, in our ever expanding and diversity based Norwegian-inspired working environment.