Getting a developer job in Japan, straight out of a foreign university

Hello, I am currently undertaking a joint honours BSc/BA (I get to choose) in Computer Science and Japanese at Oxford Brookes University in the UK and am on track for getting a 1st (the highest level of degree in UK). For various reasons, I am really interested in going to Japan after my 4th year to work as a programmer, preferably in a startup.

I have no professional experience, but have contributed a little to one opensource project ( and have done (and plan on doing) a few much smaller projects of my own volition. I am reasonably skilled in Java, php, html and css, at a fairly basic-intermediate level in python and VB.NET and know a little C++ and JavaScript. To add to this a few days ago I started learning ruby and plan on getting this up to the level of my Java skill (which is my strongest language). I have two projects that I have in mind and plan on deploying them as working websites.

While in Japan in my year abroad I plan on going to as many technology networking events as time allows me, I want to really get my foot in the door. Also to add, my Japanese skill is at a level where I can get by. After my year abroad I plan on taking N2 or if I think I can pass N1. N1 is actually the real goal.

With this level of experience, my current assets and the position I will be in I assume it will be hard for me to get a job in Japan without any professional experience. Even so I would like to gauge just exactly how hard it will be, anything I can do from now until my 4th year to improve my chances and also any general tips (although I have read most topics on the web on this, haha).

Thank you.

You mention studying Japanese for a year. If you do that, and get involved in the local developer community, I think you have a pretty good chance at getting a job as a developer here, regardless of previous experience.

It also wasn’t clear to me when you’re planning on doing that year. Before or after you graduate?

Thanks for your reply!

That’s really good to hear!

Actually at the time of writing this, I have been studying Japanese for four years. In two weeks I leave to study in abroad in Japan for a year, during that year I want to go to networking events to get my foot in the door. So that year will be before I graduate.

Once I have graduated I will have a degree in Computer Science and Japanese with one year studying abroad in Japan and will have been learning Japanese for six years.

Ah awesome! If you’re going to be here for a year, it should give you enough time to build up a local network here.


I’ve been looking on Doorkeeper for some suitable meetups, but there are so many! Can you recommend a few decent ones for someone who wants to join a company as a developer, preferably in a startup or small company? If you know of any that is!

Thanks again.

are my top picks. But I’d suggest just trying going to a bunch of different ones. I’d not focus too much on trying to get a job, but rather learning and enjoying yourself.

OK, thanks for the advice, it’s much appreciated!

I’ll try to go to as many as I can and just enjoy it then. I’ve never been to these kind of events, so I’m looking forward to it!