Landing a "tech" job in Singapore

Tips for landing a job in technology in Singapore

Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2022 Last modified: Wednesday, Jun 22, 2022

Singaporean Startups

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Funded local tech

Examples like:

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Multinational Corporations (MNCs)

Everything from banks to local branches of Big Tech

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“Chinese companies”

Examples like:

This probably includes Japanese companies like Rakuten.

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Academic connection

If you attend University, try work out if there is some connection between that University and a Singaporean one like NUS. There could be some scholarship, exchange or research job on offer.

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Your country might have some Government Tech trade initiative you might catch a ride in with too.

Singapore context

Living costs are rising in Singapore. Personally my rent went up 25%, no joke.

If you’re thinking of starting a company here, I would say it’s not terribly wise. Market is small, talent is scarce and costs are high.

Singapore Government’s MOM are forever tweaking the immigration rules (ratios, points system.. it’s opaque) to get Employment Passes to work and contribute to the economy. Their philosophy is to favour local citizens, and there is a push to reskill (mid-career) Singaporeans for tech jobs.

This policy is affecting the tech scene, and there is an increased outflow of “Foreign Talent”, but new people are quick to replace them, because of China. As long as inflow > outflow, immigration rules and ratios will not relax.

Talented Singaporeans can work in the states through a Free Trade agreement, so do not be surprised that the best Singaporean developers are not in Singapore.

Elephant in the room, dearth of social tech events

COVID19 killed in person community events and conferences. I’m sure it will slowly recover, though that’s probably the best way to network and find a job. That’s how I got started via https://hackerspace.sg/ and such.

Remote work is the biggest opportunity

I explored Asia as a backpacker with a tight daily budget. COVID19 made remote work acceptable, so I strongly suggest you explore Asia as a remote worker. Or better still, creating your own online lifestyle business.

Singapore is certainly worth checking out, but don’t be an idiot with your money! Accomodation starts at 100SGD a night. Come to Singapore with a plan, ideally for a specific meeting or series of them.

On a positive note

Despite the reality check above, there is a talent shortage in Singapore. Companies are keen to hire you. The current context makes it difficult. I’m optimistic that conditions will improve.

Update: Some people suggest Tech.Pass, but the fine print is that your “startup” needs a valuation of >500M (Series B) and reserved for founders / high level employees.