Working Lives Vietnam: Software engineer

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Media captionWorking Lives Vietnam: Software engineer

Nguyen Trung Hieu is part of Vietnam's booming high tech sector. He works as a software engineer in an internet start-up.

Born in 1986, the same year that Vietnam adopted Doi Moi or 'renovation', the state sanctioned policy embracing the market economy, Hieu benefits greatly from this openness.

He was sent by his parents to study for a master's degree in computer engineering in Seoul, South Korea, after having graduated from the University of Natural Sciences, one of the most prestigious institutions in Ho Chi Minh City.

Back in Vietnam, he now works for Mobivi, an internet start-up specialising in online credit and payment services. Hieu works in a team of nine people which include two other leaders, four developers and two testers to develop online payment products which combine elements of eBay, PayPal, and Amazon tailored to Vietnam's online market conditions.

This type of job can earn engineers like Hieu from $1,000 to $1,200 a month, much more than the average monthly salary in Vietnam of $185.

Outside work, Hieu likes to train in the gym, or relax with friends over coffee and beer.

"Being healthy is very important," he says. "Without health you can't do anything else. You can't be creative."

His passion for computer coding and well-being won Hieu a first prize in a UNICEF mobile hackathon in June 2013.

His mobile phone application and website aimed at providing information on nutrition for pregnant women are now attracting millions of users in Vietnam.