As the fifth largest banking center in the world and the biggest offshore domicile for hedge funds, the Cayman Islands has gained global attention and some notoriety, especially for accountants & lawyers. But with the rapid development of the technology sector and the influx of new start-ups, leveraging on special incentives to attract fast-growing high-tech companies to this 500 square mile slice of Caribbean paradise, the growth in the technology space has created a stream of opportunities for overseas talent. So if you’ve got the right skill set it can be possible to trade your daily city commute for an idyllic life, working on a sun drenched, tax-free island with world class diving and water sports, and an amazing quality of life, by seizing an opportunity in Cayman’s burgeoning technology scene. And if that sparks your interest then read on as we run through the top tips for securing your ideal technology job in the Cayman Islands.
It goes without saying that the right certifications can give you the edge in any prospective employment situation, so get them on your resume and make sure they are up to date. It could be said that this is true in most jurisdictions, but with strict permit regulations, certificates can be a deal breaker here in Cayman. Whether you are an AWS Certified Solutions Architect, a Certified ScrumMaster or a Cisco network professional, adding the right strings to your bow will make your resume shine, so research the right certifications and get the latest versions.
If you are thinking that you’ll need to drop a small fortune and fly out to the Caribbean at the drop of a hat for an interview, then don’t fret. Nearly all job interviews these days for technology jobs in Cayman are conducted either over the phone or Skype. It’s worth doing some research on the island ahead of any interview and if you happen to know someone who is working here or has done in the past, that can provide some useful background info to draw on. Most firms in the sector run a two-stage interview process, which can include a coding test via video link or a live demo on screen. In other IT centres, like Ireland, companies might set you a tech project over the course of a week, but in Cayman, everything is almost always done on the call.
Where’s the Skills Shortage
In a relatively small market like the Cayman Islands you’ve got to understand that certain roles like desktop support are well covered by the local workforce and it’s not so common to bring in applicants from abroad. Other positions, like .NET architects or Data Engineers are up for grabs as the talent shortage, reflective of a population pushing 70,000, means strong demand for expat workers in these niche areas.
Know What You Are Getting Into
There are many good reasons to take a job in the Cayman Islands, with the wonderful climate of year-round sunshine and a tax-free salary chief among them. While some people take to Island life straight away, for others the transition can be more difficult. For my two cents I think you should really have a reason for being here. Know that you want to be here and plan for a stay for at least two to three years. You won’t be disappointed. In addition to the island’s friendly people, there’s a great range of bars and restaurants providing excellent nightlife, while you can spend weekends lazing on pristine beaches or exploring Cayman’s natural environment, with trails, caves and heritage parks. Overall, there is plenty to keep you entertained, day or night; whether you are coming out here on your own or bringing you family, with some fabulous activities for kids.
Patience is a Virtue
Good things come to those that wait and that applies to the IT job market in Cayman. There is something of a lag between offshore and onshore and given the overall industry size, IT tends to evolve a little slower here, so there is not always going to be an opportunity in every technology at any one time. Be patient and understand that it could take up to a year (or more!) before your ideal role appears, but when it does, you’ll want to be in position to jump on it. It’s really quite difficult to predict exactly what opportunities may come up from month to month, so it’s worth keeping a regular eye on both my LinkedIn page and the CML website to catch the very latest postings. It’s also worth appreciating that some processes and technologies may not be as up to date as in some big cities. Hey, we’re a small island in the Caribbean Sea, where people still say good morning to each other,but just because technology could be two or three years behind Silicon Valley, London or Dublin, don’t let that put you off.
If you take one thing from this missive, then understand that Cayman is pretty different to anywhere else in the world and things won’t be quite the same as what you are used to at home. Do your research, with the Cayman Residents website https://caymanresident.com/ and Explore Cayman https://www.explorecayman.com/ both good places to start. Otherwise just pick up the phone to me for the latest inside track. I’m always happy to chat about the latest market developments and where you can fit in to be part of one of the world’s fastest growing and dynamic technology environments.