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IT Jobs in Japan, minimal JP skills 2008/5/28 06:27
I am British and planning to marry my Japanese girlfriend next year, we are currently looking a temporary move to Japan for a year or so for my girlfriend to get some positive work experience after her degree here in the UK has finished.

I didn't actually finish University but I am a skilled IT Professional with CompTIA and Microsoft Certifications which I assume would definitely work for me in Japan, my only issue is finding a job with minimal language skills. I have an extremely basic knowlegde of Japanese, although I am looking to start a course this Autumn which will probably help me a lot.

Could anybody possibly tell me how difficult it would be for me to find work in Network Admin or as a Systems Engineer in Japan (Tokyo Area), I'm quite young (mid 20's) and I don't have a huge amount of work experience, although I have worked in the industry before for a couple of years in a more junior role and I will most likely have experience of working in a more advanced job by the time I get to Japan, also I would not require the company to sponsor me as a Spouse visa will give me the right to work anyway (although I may possibly have a couple of questions about this for you lot later on).

If anybody could advise me here then I would really appreciate it.
by Spark  

... 2008/5/28 13:10
Unlikely but not impossible.

Most companies will want you to be at least conversational in Japanese, while others want fluency. It will be your biggest issue.

A quick look on Craigslist Tokyo showed the jobs wanting either language proficiency or conversational proficiency, as well as a work visa before applying.
by ... rate this post as useful

Banks? 2008/5/28 16:37
I had a job interview at a big German bank in Roppongi once to do IT support and discovered that most of the IT staff there was made up of expats and that the language used was English. No idea if that is typical for big foreign companies.
After your marriage your spouse visa will allow you to work in Japan so that you don't need a company to sponsor you which makes things a lot easier. Still, I would recommend studying Japanese and try to get JLPT level 3.
by Kappa rate this post as useful

Thanks :) 2008/5/28 18:49
Thanks for the quick replies guys, I really didn't expect it, you've pretty much confirmed what I expected as well, I mean to be honest I really want to look at improving my language skills as significantly as possible before I go there anyway. I did try to learn before when I was a teenager and I tended to pick up the speaking and listening of it quite easily as I speak Intermediate German and for some reason or another I found the two quite similar in my head, but the reading and writing was extraordinarily difficult for me, although I have to admit that back then I didn'treally have any motiviation to try like I do now and I think I'll enjoy learning it now as it will give me something to concentrate on for a few hours a week which doesn't involve computers. I don't think I could be completely comfortable living in a country, even if it's only in the short-term, where I would be semi-literate and my girlfriend has told me that they don't really cater for non-Japanese speakers in most places over there although people would still be nice to me.

I did have a look around some jobsites last night and there were a few advertising for people to work in networking roles with basic J skills and native English which paid around 6M Yen a year, but yeah you guys have pretty much confirmed my suspiscions in that life and finding work will be made a lot easier if I brush up on the language first. :)
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

English only- OK 2008/5/28 22:51
There are a few threads on similar topics around at the moment, but I will repeat what I have said there here as well- there are loads of IT jobs with foreign companies in Tokyo that require no Japanese skills whatsoever.

The vast majority of the huge influx of Indian people into IT jobs here in the last few years speak no Japanese at all. Companies like Cisco, HP, Axa, Amex, Citibank and many others are always looking for English-speaking people with IT experience- Japanese skills not required. I know because my husband has worked with several companies in this field and a large number of his coworkers don't speak Japanese.

Don't look on Craigslist for IT jobs- if you have IT skills go to the big IT recruiters in Tokyo like Robert Walters and Robert Half and let them find you a job.
by SH rate this post as useful

IT job in Japan 2008/5/29 01:12
A few things to keep in mind, to get a IT job in Japan you must have skills that (almost) nobody else in Japan has, like a SAP-R3 specialist, a SAS-Instute specialist, Oracle DBA, IBM mainframe expertise, C/C++ developer with a Phd in math, a outstanding gamedeveloper, and things like that. With just Microsoft certificates and no Japanese language skills it's hardly impossible (unless you've coded Windows 2008 server,haha), because nowadays everyone is having those MCTS or MCSE certificates and many Japanese companies are outsourcing that kind of 'simple' development to countries like India or Vietnam. Some foreign compagnies hire non-Japanese IT experts but most of them already work for that compagny in the country of origin. Furthermore, foreigners are usually paid less than the Japanese workers, expect long days of work (overtime is usually not paid), the office environment is usually so-so (big departments with many many co-workers in rows of desks), the management is usually authotitarian and since you don't speak Japanese you will feel like stranded on a island. However, there are many other options to live and work in Japan, since you gonna marry a Japanese lady (and get a working permit) you can start your own business and work as a freelancer for compagnies in Japan or outside Japan. If you have a MCTS SQL 2005 or MCDBA for SQL 2000 you can make a lot of money (like US$ 100 or Euro 80/hour). I also do this kind of work, and have several customers in Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Malaysia and one in Japan (because I am cheaper than a Japanese DBA,haha). All you need is internet, a VPN connection to the servers of your customer, and of course, you must know the right people and promote yourself (like make your own website, send e-mails to HR departments of big Japanese compagnies etc etc)
by Bert rate this post as useful

Thanks 2008/5/29 01:20
Thanks guys, to be perfectly honest I've never used Craigslist for anything but then again I'm British and it's nowhere near as big over here as it is in the US anyway.

I suppose I could go on to MCDA as my current course of certifications give me partial credit towards it so it would probably just be an extra exam, but I was really looking at trying to take my career more down a security track really as opposed to Database stuff, but it's definitely something for me to think about, thanks. :)
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

gaishikei vs. Japanese company 2008/5/29 08:11
Bert above describes conditions if you work for a Japanese company, which is probably unlikely without very fluent Japanese.

Conditions at a "gaishikei" (foreign) IT company are far more similar to what you would be used to in a company in the UK and there is certainly no difference between the salary of a Japanese worker and a foreign worker at the same level.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Job before I leave ? 2008/5/29 08:14
Thanks, that's the sort of job that I was looking at really, and like I said, I did see a few jobs for System Admin etc on websites yesterday that wanted native English and basic Japanese.

Do you know what the likelyhood would be of me being able to secure a job or at the least an interview or two before I arrived there ?
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

If you guys are seriously looking 2008/5/30 02:22
If you guys are seriously looking or have questions my friend is a recruiter in Japan. Drop him a line and tell him that Quinn said he might be able to help you out. There are jobs that you can get not speaking anything of course. But the great paying jobs come for those that gain a certain level of fluency. Find a job to start with and then find on your off time a place to learn the language. Ask about the ability to be taught office language too. Or look it up even if you dont know japanese once you start learning certain things and interacting and trying it out with your colleages you'll be amazed at the reactions and you wont feel the rift is so bad.., haha you will prolly be asked to go out after work too to drink and karaoke and everything else as well. Anyhow drop my buddy an email. Remember to tell him Quinn sent you. He's a fluent born in the U.S.A. type we went to school together. He's also fluent in japanese, and really good at what he does. You'll be in good hands.
good luck~!
fai~to minna~!
Quinn ~ aka ~ drunkenironrabbit
by Quinn aka DrunkenIronRabbit rate this post as useful

Contact 2008/5/30 05:07
That's awesome man, thanks for the contact.
I spoke to my girlfriend again today and this is looking like a highly likely prospect, especially considering the high costs involved with getting her residence here in the UK.
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

to Sira 2008/5/31 03:25
There are very very few foreign IT compagnies in Japan with a R&D or software-enginering department. Of course, Microsoft, IBM, SAP, etc etc have offices in Japan, but that's mostly sales, consultancy and support. There are many Japanese software compagnies which hire only outstanding foreigners (as I said, experts in C/C++, SAP, SAS, mainframe, CISCO, gamedev. etc etc) and these guys get paid less than Japanese co-workers. (believe me, I've worked freelance for NTT and know exactly how things are) Most foreign IT compagnies have there R&D and SE in countries like India, Vietnam amd some European countries, a compagny like Microsoft is doing there R&D in Redmond but there SE in India. However you can get a SysAdmin job at a foreign compagny like a bank or trading house, but as i said, these people already work for that compagny in the country of origin and in most cases it's temporary stay like 6 months or to do just one project.
by Bert rate this post as useful

Really ? 2008/5/31 04:32
Is that really the case ? I'm not so sure because I've seen jobs advertised on several websites and the only pre-req they seem to insist upon is that the candidates must already either be in Japan or have some other route to legal residence/work permit there. I'm not looking for anything too amazing, just something in networking/desktop support to help me pay the bills and that won't look too crap on my CV.
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

I want to contact your buddy 2008/5/31 06:50
Quinn, what is your buddy's name or even email address? How can we drop him a line if there's no contact information ?
by nice rate this post as useful

Email 2008/5/31 08:57
The email address was there and I saved it but it has been removed from this thread for some reason, so I am not posting it in case it was removed by the poster or it's owner.
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

what's the email address 2008/6/3 07:42
Digital ghost, What's the best way to get that email address of the recruiter ? can you email me nicedudetim2000 at yahoo dot com
by nice rate this post as useful

Email 2008/6/3 07:46
Done, please let me know how it goes. :)
by DigitalGhost rate this post as useful

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