TokyoDev forum

Career suggestions for a beginner with high hopes for the future

I’m a bit confused on what to do in my situation, so I’m searching for suggestions that can help me choose the ‘correct’ path to follow.

Me in a nutshell:

  • I’m Italian (so a non-native English speaker)
  • I can speak English fluently, German and Japanese at a basic level
  • I’m 25 years old
  • I don’t have a university degree
  • I just finished my first job experience as a junior web developer (I worked with JavaScript, React, Node, HTML, CSS)
  • I know the basics of C, Java and Python

Basically, I’m self-taught both in programming and language skills but, thanks to internet free courses and my efforts I landed my first job. I’m very passionate about what I do so I’ll take in consideration every possible path that ends with me living and working in Japan.

I started with web development because here in Italy is the only thing you can do without experience / degree but in the future I would like to work on more back-end / low-level projects (robots or VR would be amazing).

In conclusion: as I said before, I’ll take in consideration every possible path, so I’m not scared of doing university here in Italy (3 years to become an engineer) or live in Japan as a digital nomad. The problem is that I’m very unprepared about labour market and different career possibilities for beginners like me, so I don’t even know what I should learn now… more Javascript? Localization to take advantage of being Italian? Ruby? Other frameworks? I’m so confused… the only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t like the front-end part of web-development (but UI and UX in things like Unreal Engine are amazing) and that my financial resources are limited so I need a job asap…

Thanks for reading the whole thing, I would really appreciate if you put yourself in my shoes and try to figure out what to do from now on :slight_smile: My idea now, according to the useful resources I found here on TokyoDev, is to find another job as a web developer here in Italy, improving my general skills as a developer, passing the PhilNITS exam and then try to land a job in Japan after all this covid situation is gone… But, in my opinion, my idea is too general and maybe also naive…

Trying to figure out both what direction you want your career to go and how to come to Japan at the same time could be a bit challenging, as it introduces so many variables as you mention.

To me, the first step would be advancing your career a bit more. Japanese companies tend to only want to hire overseas developers who have already proven their abilities in their field, rather than hiring for potential growth, and so I think gaining experience as a developer is a prerequisite to landing a job here in the future.

When someone’s at the beginning of their career, I recommend looking for a job that is both something you’re passionate about, and has mentors/colleagues who can help grow your abilities as a software developer. It sounds like that’s back-end and low-level projects, so that’s the place I’d start looking. Maybe those opportunities are hard to come by in Italy, but then I’d look both for positions that offer worldwide remote, and in other places in the EU.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, it’s easier to start considering how to come to Japan. That could be something like passing the PhilNITS exam, but maybe it’s just continuing to work for a company that allows you to work remotely, and taking extended vacations to Japan.

Thank you very much @pwim, I’m going to search for remote working opportunities that can also help me improve my skills

Hello @pwim, I want to say thank you again for your advices! In February I wrote here on TokyoDev for the first time and after talking with you I searched for a full remote job opportunity. Unexpectedly I was able to find an amazing job place here in Italy after only 2 months, so in April I started my journey. I already talked to my bosses about my will to go to Japan while remotely working for them, and they said there are no problem (They also mentioned that there are other people working from all over the world).

So I thought about spending another 1 or 2 years here in Italy and then spend at least 1 year in Japan, but I wasn’t able to find clear information about rules for people who works remotely for a foreign company while living in Japan. All the information I found states that is basically impossible to stay long-term in Japan if you don’t have a Student Visa or a Work Visa, and it seems that working remotely is not accepted as work by the Immigration Office unless you’re working for a japanese company…

In the meantime I hired a Japanese professor so that I’ll be able to communicate better when I go to Japan.

That’s all for the update, thanks for reading and I hope for some nice advices like the last time :smile:

Glad to hear you could find something locally!

As you mention, Japan doesn’t have any visa for “digital nomads”. Some people will get around this by living here temporarily, 3 months at a time. But that wouldn’t allow you to live here longer.

Anyone can get a student visa in Japan with relative easy (or at least they could before COVID). On that visa, you can work part time, up to 28 hours. I believe you could theoretically work remotely during those 28 hours, but I haven’t confirmed it. You do actually need to be attending school full time though, so it would be pretty intense.

Another option is using an “employer of record services”. These are companies that have a company in Japan, and will employ you, then turn around and bill your company what they’re paying you plus some margin. Some of these seem to support visa processing.

Thanks! I’m gonna find some more information about ‘employer of record services’ :slight_smile: