tokyodev forum

Android Development or Machine Learning

Hi, I’m currently a student studying computer science at university and I’m trying to find my focus before graduation. I am older than the average college student, 35, so I’d like to hit the ground running if possible with my first job in Japan. My main question is, should I focus on Android development, or machine learning? Which field has a better job market for someone with no experience, a BA in computer science, a couple android/machine learning projects, and JLPT N3?

I just finished my first Android app, I’m pretty proud of it and actually enjoyed building it, I could see myself learning more and becoming a proficient Android developer someday. I just started a machine learning project as well. So far, I feel that I enjoyed the Android project more. I guess building something that I can see is more exciting to me. According to the TokyoDev 2020 survey, mobile developers had the highest job satisfaction, and a salary that was about the same as a machine learning engineer. So part of me is like “why try” for machine learning since it may be more difficult. However, I’ve recently read that Japanese companies are planning on hiring significantly more AI engineers in the near future, so things may change. Should I go with my heart or try learning both in my final year at university?

Thanks

Personally, I think the choice of technology doesn’t matter much from an employment perspective, especially when you’re starting out. There’s more than enough companies hiring Android developers that it should theoretically be possible to get a job in Japan. You’re also probably going to have an easier time demonstrating your skills if you focus on one thing, rather than split your efforts between two. So if you’ve been enjoying Android development, I don’t see any reason not to continue to focus on it.

However, it is quite exceptional to find Japanese companies that are willing to relocate someone from overseas to Japan if they don’t have any professional experience, so unless you’re already based here, you might have a tough time getting your first job out of university here.

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Thanks for the reply, that’s good to hear. I’ll go all in on Android and see where that takes me for the time being.

Would it help if I were in Japan? I recall in your article about getting your first job, you were already there on a working holiday visa, so companies were more willing to take a chance. Would this be the case if I were studying at a language school? Or would physically being in Japan make no difference since I’d have to change my visa over anyway? I have enough funds to study at a language school in Tokyo for 6+ months after graduation, but if it makes no difference, I may not do it. Though I’m still concerned I’d lose most of my Japanese proficiency while working in the U.S.

Being in Japan increases your chances, even if it studying at a language school. Changes to existing visas tend to be quicker, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to living in Japan, and it’ll be easier to hear about opportunities through word of mouth. It’s still no guarantee that you’ll find something though. So ask yourself if you moved to Tokyo, studied for 6 months at a language school, and still weren’t able to find a job, would it be an acceptable outcome.

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Understood. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!