Back in July, ITviec launched in Vietnam. It’s a job recruitment site targeted specifically at IT companies in the country. Being in the recruitment business gives them an inside look into what tech companies in Vietnam need. Since ITviec has been around, its direct competitor Vietnamgeeks has since gone into the deadpool.
At the same time, Vietnamworks, CareerBuilder, and JobStreet – general recruitment sites with massive user-bases in their own rights – have all stepped up their game across the recruitment battlefield. It is still very early to say who is the clear winner, although Vietnamworks has long been considered the leader in the online recruitment space in Vietnam.
Chris Harvey is the CEO and founder of ITviec, as well as the former CEO of Vietnamworks. He thinks that although a big battle rages above amongst the general jobs sites, ITviec’s big advantage is focus. On a very basic level, ITviec can filter searches for IT jobs more precisely than its larger competitors, who have to cover many more jobs areas. On top of this, ITviec has community activities, including a dedicated blog to tech-related events and interviews, as well as monthly events where the company hosts speakers who can talk about deeper tech management topics as well as practical business topics like product development.
ITviec separates its target market into three categories: pure outsourcing, in-house outsourcing, and product companies (which includes startups). Chris says his biggest customers are the two former categories – these are two very big growth sectors for Vietnam’s tech sector. Pure outsourcing companies are companies that are built exclusively to land contracts with companies outside of Vietnam and putting Vietnamese developers to work on them. This is obviously cost-effective for foreign companies. In-house outsourcing is a newer and growing category that entails a company setting up a branch office in Vietnam. These companies bring in their management staff, hire local Vietnamese developers, and outsource their own products to the staff they can manage personally. These two categories are also exactly why Vietnam’s Ministry of IT is optimistic enough to project Vietnam’s IT sector to be worth up to $1 billion.
ITviec’s place in the tech sector
But the main question that Vietnam faces in terms of real IT growth is whether the sector is capable of churning out the engineers to meet the demand. According to Chris:
The number one problem is finding developers. Getting contracts and customers aren’t a problem. And especially finding senior engineers.
This puts Vietnam in an interesting predicament, there is a huge demand for its cheap IT labor, but there’s a lag in supply. On a visit to Vietnam National University (VNU), Tech In Asia learned that the curriculum was only graduating several hundred engineers per year. In Vietnam’s Foreign University under VNU, it only graduated a hundred per year. Bach Khoa University churns out many more, but it is still not meeting the demand. This puts ITviec and its competitors in an advantageous position, especially with the coming exponential change that Harvey predicts:
What’s not going to change in 2014? More IT companies are going to come in, young people are more international, [have] faster internet, and more demand for lower costs.
Against this backdrop, ITviec’s mission to “build the IT community” and be a “vehicle for education” makes sense.
What’s in demand?
Over the past 8 months, ITviec has also learned a bit about the needs of communities. Java, PHP, and .NET are by far the most in-demand languages for companies and PHP is the most well-known language amongst developers. Of course, this reflects the job contracts that are coming into Vietnam. That also means hip languages like Ruby and Python are much more rare and more expensive to come by – and you can forget about Scala. In a way, this also shows where tech innovation is headed in Vietnam. Ruby and Python are the hottest coding languages in the Valley.
On top of computer languages, English was by far the most in demand skill for an engineer. That syncs nicely with our recent call for Vietnamese startups to make English a priority.
(Editing by Steven Millward)