Alan Cheung (VC'01)

Q and A with Alan Cheung (VC’01) - Lead Software Developer at HSBC Hong Kong

How did you get to where you are today as a Software Developer in the finance industry?

Like most fellow grads, I went to UBC right after VC. When I graduated from UBC, I tried to look for jobs in the area but could not find the right fit. I went back to Hong Kong and studied Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong.

While I was doing my Masters at HKU, I received a part-time position at Cathay Pacific. One of my colleagues introduced me to a startup trading firm that was at the time looking for junior developers. I said yes to the offer, and that was when my career began to take off.

One of the perks of working at a startup is the opportunity to grow with the company. After four years of working at the firm, I moved to corporate and landed a position at JP Morgan as a Software Developer. Now, I work for HSBC.

What is the job market like in Hong Kong, and how is it different from the job market in Vancouver?

There are definitely more channels to the job market in Vancouver. Hong Kong, on the other hand, thrives on international trade and finance. As a result, the finance industry in Hong Kong has a much higher average pay for software developers relative to other industries.

Have you always been interested in programming?

I took Grade 11 Basic Programming at VC and the class sparked my interest in coding. As the natural course of events, I picked Computer Science as my major at UBC. Soon after, I realized that everything is related to software and that there is a need for software programming in every career sector.  

If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently?

I have always been interested in the game industry, but I didn’t take the courses required to become a game programmer. If not the game industry, I would probably go into car automation, which is also a very specific path.

As a working professional, what would you say to our graduating seniors?

Try to figure out your career path as early as possible. Because I did not have a firm grasp on my career path, I missed out on the opportunity to work in the game or the car industry. Aim early, and do what it takes to make your dreams come true. You don’t settle for a job, you aim for a career.