Dear Cyburbia community,
My name is David Hung, greetings from Hong Kong! So after working abroad for 4+ years, I am about to make a huge decision of moving back to the States. I would be most grateful to get some advise on my situation and my career. So bear with me as I dish out my case in a few words:
I graduated with a unaccredited planning degree in Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego back in 2006. After a short internship stint in California, I moved back to my childhood home of Hong Kong, where I began working in a fantastic private consultancy firm, mostly on large scale infrastructure projects for the HK and mainland Chinese governments. I am now in my 5th year with the Hong Kong based firm and am after some serious thoughts about my family, lifestyle and career prospect, i am contemplating on moving back to California.
This is a huge life changing decision for me and my family, so i really want some advice from my fellow planning community, especially regarding my future career prospect back in US after being away for 5 years. With my experience being almost exclusively from overseas, what are my chances of competing with the other US based planners and landing a planning position (preferably in N. California)? Knowing that the planning system in Hong Kong and US are quite different (although Hong Kong does based its planning laws on the UK system), how seriously will my experience be taken by the employers? Would I be thrown back into an 'entry-level' type given my lack of US experience?
I will be taking the AICP exam this May, so hopefully with the certification, it would make things a tad easier. I know that the planning and development sector was hit quite hard during the economic down turn but from what i've heard from people, things ( in both the public and private sectors) are improving. What is your view of the current planning job market? How difficult would it be, for someone with my experience (or lack thereof) to secure a position in a respectable city/metro area?
I am most grateful for any advise on my situation. It was a fantastic experience to work in a city like Hong Kong, but i think it's time to come back home, to the U.S. of A . Hope it would be a good move for my career as well.
Once again, thank you for any advise. If you are working overseas and are in the same shoes as me, I would LOVE to hear from your too.