DBS’s head of cloud has just joined Google

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Carl Bachman Kharazmi, the APAC head of cloud engineering at DBS, has left the bank for Google.

Kharazmi joined Google in Singapore earlier this month in a cloud engineering role, according to his public profile.

During his two years at DBS, he led its “transformation” from traditional enterprise software to cloud technologies, including the adoption of public clouds such as AWS, SoftLayer and Azure. Kharazmi also ran automation projects and mentored teams across the bank on implementing open-source technologies.

DBS is the only finance firm that Kharazmi has worked for and his move to Google sees him returning to a technology company.

Kharazmi was at IBM (in its SoftLayer Technologies unit) from 2014 to 2015, latterly as an APAC infrastructure engineering leader, in charge of a 14-strong team. He has held various technology positions dating back to 2004, including as a team lead and enterprise cloud architect at video surveillance firm Axis Communications, where he worked between 2008 and 2013.

Western and Chinese technology companies are hiring more developers in Singapore and Hong Kong as the two cities transition from sales hubs to engineering centres. Google opened a new campus-style APAC headquarters in Singapore last November and now has more than 1,000 staff in the Republic.

Meanwhile, banks are targeting the same (small) developer talent pool. UOB, for example, wants candidates from “global technology platforms” such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Uber, Susan Hwee, head of group technology and operations, told us in September. “These people are focused on engaging customers and customer-centric design, just like we are.”

Senior Asian technologist at Credit Suisse, DBS, OCBC, have also said they want to hire from outside of finance, insisting that the complexity and scale of banking systems make the sector appealing to new recruits. Kharazmi’s departure, however, is a reminder that banks can’t always keep hold of their top IT staff as more local jobs open up at tech firms.

Still, DBS continues to hire in technology. It aims to take on 200 new people, mainly developers and architects in Singapore and India, in the 12 months to end-May 2018. Our August analysis found that 24% of vacancies at DBS, OCBC and UOB were for tech and digital banking roles.

Could expertise is increasingly in demand at banks in Singapore and Hong Kong. “Banks are hiring fewer database administrator and other standalone infrastructure roles,” says Vince Natteri, managing director of IT recruiters Pinpoint Asia. “Instead banks are moving their tech into the cloud. So if you’re a banking tech infrastructure candidate, you’re better off learning AWS, Google Cloud Platform or other cloud technologies to hone your skills for the future.”

Image credit: SpVVK, Getty

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