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Factors Affecting The Development Of Software Engineers In Southeast Asian Countries

In the past, Silicon Valley was the only place to build solid tech careers and support the development of software engineers. Today, however, software engineers have many options in global hotspots, including Southeast Asia. Venture capital firm Jungle Ventures predicts that the aggregate value of tech startups in this region will triple to $1 trillion by 2025 (from $340 billion in 2020). Here, we'll show you the Southeast Asian country that seems closest to Silicon Valley and help you grow your career.

1. Why look to Southeast Asia and Factors affecting the development of software engineers in Southeast Asian countries?

Vietnam IT revenues (Source: Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023)
Vietnam IT revenues (Source: Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023)

A diverse region situated south of China and east of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia is home to some of the economies with the world’s fastest growth rate, including Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. According to the New York Times and InMobi Report, this region now leads as a mobile-first consumer economy, boasting the development of innovative new apps. Furthermore, for resilience, multinational companies have expanded their business to emerging markets like Southeast Asia known for its demographic, geographic, economic, and regulatory advantages. All this has made for a thriving tech startup ecosystem and job opportunities for software engineers.

2. What to consider in your ideal Southeast Asian country of work

Factors affecting the development of software engineers in Southeast Asian countries. Let’s get right to them.

2.1. Profit

Source: Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023
Source: Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023

You should determine your salary expectations for companies in the country you plan to work for, in local currency (both yearly and monthly). The profit formula is your expected net pay per month divided by monthly total costs in that particular country.

2.2. Cost of living

A good salary can support the development of software engineers in Southeast Asian countries if the choice to live in this country is too expensive. The cost of living includes housing rents, transportation expenses, prices of essential commodities, medical expenses, and taxes. Look for where regardless of how much you earn, you can be left with some money that you then get to spend on what matters to you or your beloved.

2.3. Social life and recreation

With all the work and no play, the development of software engineers in Southeast Asian countries can become even more difficult. A country with a lively social experience should help take the edge off after work and prepare for successful days. For example, should you be a foodie, consider a country of work that has excellent food.

2.4. Work environment

HyBrid work is now preferred across all markets
Hybrid work is now preferred across all markets

A positive and collaborative work environment adds to a strong work ethic, effective teamwork, and high job performance. It also encourages you to advance to the development of software engineers. Besides, the software engineer’s work environment must be flexible, for instance, through hybrid working arrangements. The Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023 states that the hybrid working model provides employees with opportunities to work productively in the comfort of their own homes. This model is being increasingly adopted by companies worldwide.

2.5. Networking and exposure

To promote the development of software engineers or further your career, look for countries with an active professional network. It would also engender your deeper cultural understanding and industry outlook. Your ideal country has good offices and opportunities to expand your network through events and seminars.

3. Which country is best for software engineers?

At the moment, Vietnam is the ideal Southeast Asia destination for tech professionals. This outcome is not unexpected as most of the opportunities are there.

Home to more than 3,800 startups, Vietnam is the 5th best country in the region for this ecosystem and 54th worldwide. Furthermore, the Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023 reveals that “the adoption of innovative and relevant technologies to ensure current and future competition”. This helps to expand more global business to the country "with a long-term plan, solid financial backing and higher compensation packages".

Pay Difference Of Local Vs MNC

Besides, according to International Living Magazine, the cost of living in Vietnam has been about 5% - 25% less than in other Southeast Asia countries. Together with crave-worthy food, coffee culture, popular co-working spaces, and iconic tourist sites, Vietnam is where you can enjoy the life you want.

A sample monthly budget for two middle-class persons living in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi known as Vietnam’s largest cities (Source: International Living Magazine)

An HSBC survey also finds that expatriates in this country are happy at work (79% vs. 64% globally). They earn more money compared to the global average ($78,750 vs. $75,966 yearly).


With macroeconomic indicators, a proactive approach to technology, middle class growth and the support of domestic and international partners. Therefore, the potential of Southeast Asian markets will continue to grow. And for best places to work, Vietnam seems to beat many other countries in the region when comparing many factors.

Data courtesy of the “Vietnam IT Salary Guide 2023”


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