Tokyo Dev

Developer jobs in Japan Developer Life in Japan

Anyone here start on the JET program or similar ALT jobs?


#1

Graduated with a Computer Science degree in December of 2016 and working professionally now. However, I became interested in Japan after doing volunteer language-learning stuff with some Japanese exchange students and taking a Japanese language class during my last semester of College.

As a result, I think it would be really cool to try living in Japan for a bit, and my interest came from teaching, hence wanting to do something like JET. If that goes well, I could see myself trying to get a developer job in Japan afterwards. I imagine I would work on my github profile more, maybe make a few websites for friends, and do stuff on sites like hackerrank.com while I teach. If I wanna get a software job in Japan afterwards, maybe I’d have a fighting chance at getting something decent, otherwise go back home and resume life as normal.

Has anyone her done something like that before? Or am I just setting myself up for a lot of disappointment and a weird looking resume?

Another thing that concerns me is how teaching jobs are usually in rural areas, so it would be very difficult to connect with any other English-speaking developers while I’m there. Would that more or less kill any chance I’d have? When I was job-hunting during my last semester, my attitude was pretty much “Find a way to talk to a recruiter or current employee or else don’t get hopeful”.

Lastly, what languages/tools/libraries are popular in Japan? I’ve done professional work with JavaScript/Typescript (Ionic Framework, Node.js, Netsuite) and PHP. I guess you could say I’m a backend web developer.


#2

While I haven’t done it myself, I do know people who have come to Japan initially on JET, and later make the transition to working as a developer here.

While there certainly are more opportunities in Tokyo than elsewhere, in every major city there is something of a developer community. While they’ll tend to be Japanese speaking, I’ve found Japanese developers to be welcoming of international ones. So, regardless of where you are placed, I’d try to get involved in the local community.

If you like teaching and have a CS background, one thing to consider getting involved with is CoderDojo, which helps teach young people programming. In recent years, the Japanese CoderDojo community has taken off, and even if there isn’t one locally, you could try starting one yourself. Some of the main people involved with the Japanese CoderDojo community are English speakers, and I’m sure they’d be happy to help you if that was something you’re interested in.

Ultimately, coming to Japan and trying to find work as a developer here is a roll of the dice. It isn’t guaranteed you’ll be able to find a job here. But if you think you could enjoy JET in and of itself, it could be worthwhile. Worst case scenario is you need to return to your own country after, and I don’t think one year abroad in Japan will be much of an issue.


#3

I wlll say this having taught English in Japan for 3 years some years ago. If you go with JET you wont have any choice on what city you live. They just put you where they want you and its usually not Tokyo. You may also be very locked into that job during that time. Whereas if you work for an eikaiwa such Berlitz or Gaba you can choose your city and quit the job at any time and move to a developer or whatever job quicker. Not saying those places are great (I’ve worked for both) but they are jobs nonetheless.


#5

I’m aware of the lack of choice JET gives you. However, I’ve been thinking that the extra pay and support JET provides could make overcoming these hurdles worthwhile and part of the reason I asked this question was to figure that out.


#6

But don’t you get three year visa for JET program?
So after your one year contract with JET is finished, you can start looking for a developer job?


#7

This is what I have been thinking. Could always get a eikaiwa job at that point too, if I decide I want to stick around longer to keep trying. I imagine JET for 1 year would help just because it shows you really want to live there.


#8

The shortest working visa is one year, and it is common to receive that if you’ve never had a working visa in Japan before.

As far as I’m aware of though, you can continue to work while you’re waiting for your visa to be renewed. So as long as you find a company who is willing to sponsor the renewal before the one year is out, the visa shouldn’t be an issue.

Being in Japan is a big plus for job hunting. Besides demonstrating you have a commitment to life in Japan, and you aren’t going to flake out after they hire you, a lot of companies have a hiring process that relies heavily on in person interviewing.