Stepping out of the comfort zone, Van Lang University's alumni became Director of AWS

vu nguyen cao son cVu Nguyen Cao Son - Course 7’s student of the Information Technology Faculty Director, Enterprise Sector in Vietnam of Amazon Web Services (AWS) from Amazon Corporation


Unlike his peers, right after entering university, Vu Nguyen Cao Son was determined and clearly defined his future direction. Being an active person that likes to explore, the sophomore with individuality asked for his teacher's permission to attend the 3rd and 4th year classes to seize the chance of accumulating knowledge. At the beginning of the second year, when the internet and information technology were still unfamiliar to many people, Vu Nguyen Cao Son has successfully obtained an international certificate from Microsoft.

“I signed up for the club at the Youth Cultural House and laboriously went there every day just to use the “free internet”!”  – For him, being fully devoted to passion and being recognized for efforts he paid is happiness. The knowledge that the teachers conveyed is the foundation, but the development, in the end, is 80% dependent on each person.

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It was a long journey from a Van Lang student to a Director of Enterprise Sector for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Vietnam. After graduating and working at CMC for 2.5 years, Vu Nguyen Cao Son decided to take his first leap: applying to Microsoft Vietnam at the age of 25.

When most large firms tended to choose experienced and highly specialized people, Son became a rare case of being recruited at a very young age. "When talking with colleagues or customers, people are quite surprised when they know that I’m still young and was from Van Lang University but not from abroad, or from HCMC University of Technology or HCMC University of Science like other colleagues." – Son shared. The first 6 months of working at Microsoft put him in crisis. The age gap, experience and personality have created big differences between him and his colleagues: “There are ideas that I think are great, but for experienced senior colleagues, it is more of a risk than an opportunity.” However, as an enthusiastic young person, Son believed that to be successful, the first thing was to "dare to do". It was his consistency that has helped him become one of the fastest promoted employees within 1 year of working time. With all his dedication and hard work, in 2018, he received the award of Best Solution Architect in Asia (including Australia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam) from Microsoft.

Over 10 years working with Microsoft Corporation has brought him a lot of knowledge, experience and certain success in the field of engineering technology. But without stopping, he stepped out of his comfort zone, turning into a completely new direction: Business. “When we stay in one position and do one job for too long, it is easy to get into a rut and get bored. I decided to leave my job at Microsoft and embark on a new field as a way to "reset" myself."

Bidding goodbye to Microsoft, he came to NTT Data, a Japanese information technology corporation, and got used to the new culture, new knowledge, and completely new people. He went to Japan to study for 2 years under the training program of NTT Data. “There are too many differences between a technical professional and a businessperson that I urged me to change. For technical professionals, in work, there is only "yes" or "no". But for businesspeople, things can be flexible and skillfully combined. The point of view of technical specialists often focuses on products and machines; while businesspeople must grasp the customer's perspective to create convincing plans that are suitable for both sides.". Wherever he is, in any position, in any field, his spirit of learning, creativity, and bravery have all brought him the right decisions and success. In 2020, Son became the Director, Enterprise Sector in Vietnam of Amazon Web Services (AWS) of Amazon Corporation. Right after that, he received the Best New Employee Award in Asia of AWS for his breakthrough achievements.

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Vu Nguyen Cao Son is a name that is no stranger to the Faculty of Information Technology of Van Lang University in inspiring and collaborative activities which provide opportunities for students to study and work. Receiving the help of teachers and seniors in schooldays has created a strong bond between Son and Van Lang for nearly 20 years. He also became a sponsor for many young talents on their journey to actualize their dreams (including Huyen Chip – a Stanford’s student who reached the top 5 influential people on LinkedIn in AI in 2020). Investing in young people is both an act of nurturing talent and a way for him to become one of the many links that contribute to extending the link between generations in Van Lang in particular, and the community of information technology enthusiasts in general.

According to Son, students now have a very good learning environment with a series of opportunities to experience through cooperation between the University and domestic and foreign companies and colleges. However, most young people today focus too much on tools that they forget the importance of basic theories and effective thinking methods. Those are the real crucial elements that can help us to develop our skills and to master the technological storm that transforms day by day. Besides knowledge and experience, thinking and soft skills are also important factors to help students "earn points" with professional employers. The proactive spirit, the determination to dare to succeed, and the passion to learn of Vu Nguyen Cao Son and previous generations of VLU, are an inspiration that will spread throughout the next generations of the school.

Hoai Anh

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