Feasible to work as IT Consultant (permit, salary, pension)

Hi,

I’m thinking about moving to Taiwan and to look for a similar job like I’m doing in Germany currently, namely IT Consulting with a focus on IT Security.

Now I have some questions:

  1. The IT Security business is pretty regulated in some countries- does somebody know about restrictions (for example for government jobs etc) in Taiwan? I’m currently working in a multinational company, which would also be my preferred option in Taiwan.
    Oh and would it be realistic to just enter on a 3 months visa and look for a job? I don’t speak Mandarin, but I do read and speak Japanese, so I hope that learning Mandarin might be a bit faster…

  2. I read that Taiwanese people even with excellent education have an entry salary of around 1200 USD. At the same time I read that English teachers earn an average of 2500 USD per month. Are these numbers accurate? It seems a bit off to me. Does anyone know what an average salary for an IT (security) consultant with something between 2-5 years of work experience would be?

  3. on another blog I read that a guy who had worked 15 years in an IT job in Taiwan will eventually have a monthly pension of around 500€, which would be ridiculously low if you wanted to live in Germany with that. Is that a realistic figure? So do people who decide to work in Taiwan for longer simply accept that they will not have the option anymore to live in their more expensive home country later on?

Just FYI: I was using the forum search to avoid asking questions which have been asked many times before, but what I found is really old, so I would like to get some “current facts and figures”.

Thanks for your support and greetings,
Fabian

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  1. Government jobs are usually off limits for foreigners. I haven’t heard of IT Security regulations so far. Most companies (even banks!) have terrible security practices. Don’t even ask about government websites. :rofl: It is great if they have a valid SSL certificate.

  2. Yes, salaries in Taiwan are bad.

  3. You better have an expat package when coming to Taiwan. Meaning making lots of cash working for a multinational company.

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To paraphrase the old restaurant joke, if you want to make a million in IT your first year in Taiwan, bring 5 million.

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I’ve met some IT security consultants from Central America that worked on government contracts through the company they work for. Didn’t ask what company tho.

Welcome to Forumosa :slight_smile:

If you’re an experienced IT security expert, your visa problems might be solved by the “Employment Gold Card”. It’s a 3 year open work permit plus residence visa you can apply for online. There’s an extensive thread.

Regarding the others questions, I have some comments but not yet the time to write them up - moment.

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Hi,

Thank you all so much for your swift feedback.

@slawa: while the salary is low, I thought that maybe somebody figured out how to handle their pension even if they are not on an exoat package. IT security is so much in demand that my company, despite being multinational, will never send me anywhere, because there is so much work in DACH. I read a (quite old) thread about “why Taiwan is better than Singapore” and found the arguments quite sensible, but of course I cannot verify with own experience if the mentioned savings are realistic: http://jsphfrtz.com/taiwan-should-be-more-like-singapore/
Do you think the numbers are accurate?

@Belgian_Pie: thanks for this hint! Good to know that apparently there are some foreign security consultants onsite. If you happen to know if some of these guys use this forum, it would be great to have their username to reach out to them, but maybe that’s a bit too pushy, so just asking…

@fifieldt: wow, didn’t know about that visa. I read the post you linked and funnily enough it seems to suffice that a salary is high enough in order to qualify as an expert. So yeah, I might try to apply for that lovely card…
Any further comments would be highly appreciated if you find the time to write them down.

Again, thank you very much and best regards,
Fabian

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Servus Fabian, welcome to Taiwan soon - hopefully. Taiwan seems in dire need of IT security related talent.

In the “Taiwan Salary Benchmark 2019”, which seems quite reasonable for the HW development jobs that I know, shows a “Security Lead” as the closest function to what you look for. It’s listed under “Technology - Project Management & General”. The annual salary supposedly lies between 1.2 and 1.4 million NTD. That’s in my experience more than a junior but less than a Senior hardware developer.

Depending on what kind of consulting you do, I could imagine some options. In case you can audit code and architecture, the usual subjects doing “Plaste-Router” (D-Link, Zyxel, Draytek, ASUS, …) would seem to be in desperate need. No idea if that need us reflected in salary.

As you said, obviously learning Mandarin could help.

Your Japanese and German might come in handy, but mostly English and Mandarin are necessary as basics I guess.

There is a very active Facebook group called Germans in Taiwan" by the way, might not hurt joining.

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Unless you are planning to get married get the Employment Gold Card as fifieldt recommended.
Don’t get discouraged too much, such talent as yours is in much need here. Just make sure not too have too high expectations especially if you are going to work at a local company.

ASUS is one example that needs more competent security people.

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You need to make 5000USD/month minimum if you want to have the option of going back to Europe to retire.

The gold card thing that someone mentioned makes a lot of sense, you only get taxed for half your income that is over 3mil TWD(roughly 100,000USD). The marginal tax rate at level is otherwise at 30%.

Plenty of work in tech here, should not be a big problem for you to make 5000+/month

@olm thanks for the details and the specific companies. My specialization is a bit different, namely working with log correlation solutions like Splunk, ensure that all related logging technologies (servers, firewalls, routers, IDS, IPS, etc.) are set up and parsed properly, as well as implement and work in security operation centers to identify, lead and analyze incidents and incident response. These solutions are mainly used inchuge companies and banks, so I will still need to investigate a bit more if Taiwanese companies are big and mature enough to have or be able to afford these kind of processes, people and tools.

Regarding Mandarin language learning: I read quite positive reviews about courses in NCCU and 3 months cost only around 1000€, so I might consider this as a starter: https://mandarin.nccu.edu.tw/index.php
If you or anyone else has good experiences with evening courses that can be attended while working during the day, it would also be very helpful to know.
@slawa: thanks for your encouragement, no marriage planned any time soon, so I’ll try the “golden” path :wink:

@henkka01: thanks for the advice. You say it should be easy to earn above 5000 USD. Do you know many people who earn that much? I’m just wondering because it’s considerably higher than the numbers in the report cited by olm.

In every case, I think I will get some stuff sorted in Germany and apply for the gold card some time in March. So let’s see how things work out then.

Thank you so much everybody!

Regards,
Fabian

Can someone capable go and work for Zyxel? Fix their router crap and everything else!

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/02/zyxel-fixes-0day-in-network-storage-devices/

Holden said given the simplicity of the exploit — which allows an attacker to seize remote control over an affected device by injecting just two characters to the username field of the login panel for Zyxel NAS devices — it’s likely other Zyxel products may have related vulnerabilities.

WTF. How can they be so terrible?
:roll_eyes:

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Can someone capable go and work for Netgear? Fix their router crap and everything else!

Manufacturing occurs primarily in mainland China and Vietnam, with pilot and low-volume manufacturing in Taiwan on a select basis.

1996 Called, They Want Their Vulnerability Back

:man_facepalming:

So, thanks to all your input and tips I got my gold card approved and just waiting for it to arrive (will post my final timeline in the Gold Card thread then for a recent reference…)! Really excited!

I was looking a bit at the different job websites and - as you said - there are quite some security-related jobs. Now, my current specialization is to help huge companies to implement and tune their Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution. Since Taiwan obviously is particularly strong in manufacturing stuff, but maybe not so much in consulting others on how to secure their own environment (didn’t find much in that regard when looking for jobs at EY, PwC, FireEye, Crowdstrike, Microsoft, Google, Accenture, etc.), I guess I will have to change my specialization a bit.

This being said, I had a look for the term “SIEM” on the popular job platform 104 and there are hits, but all the listings are written in Chinese. According to your experience: Is it worth to apply for such jobs at all, if I will not be able to work in Chinese, but only in English? My hunch is anyway that most of those listings are looking for analysts on shift staring on screens to find intruders, which would not exactly be a step up in my career; but to condense a long post into one general question:

Does anyone of you have positive experiences with applying on a job offer written in Chinese, despite the lack of Chinese language skills?

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