TokyoDev forum

Is getting work in Japan in late 2022/2023 realistic for me?

Hi all,

I’m planning/hoping to return to Japan either late this year or in the first half of 2023, to work as a software engineer. I’m wondering if that’s a realistic timeline for someone with my experience/resume.

  • I’ll have a year of experience in August this year, along with a previous 4-month internship (which turned into a short contracting role).
  • I have an MSc in Computing, and a PhD in an unrelated humanities discipline (I’m a career changer).
  • I’m a former 2-year JET from the U.K., with JLPT N3 (though my Japanese is definitely rusty now).
  • I’ll be 32 this year.

I’d ideally be targeting around ¥6M/y, but I imagine that might be a bit ambitious. Would love to hear any thoughts about myself as a candidate. Also curious about what people would recommend I start doing now in order to improve my chances of finding decent work a year from now.


Your biggest challenge is going to be your lack of professional experience. If a Japanese company is relocating someone from overseas, they’re typically looking for someone a bit further into their career.

A related but slightly different thing is that you’re looking to leave your first job after only being there a year. From talking to Japanese companies that bring people from overseas, they’re typically hoping that the person will stay at least a couple of years before switching companies. That you’re looking to change so soon might make them see you as a higher risk.

On the plus side, perhaps there’s something related to your MSc that you could find? This could help soften your lack of professional experience.

As for increasing your chances, the two standard things would be improving your Japanese abilities or increasing your attractiveness from a technical perspective. Being a fluent Japanese speaker obviously increases the options, but it may be challenging to do in your timeframe. Working on making yourself generally more attractive as a developer candidate is something that improves your employability anywhere. Things like contributing to open source or writing technical articles can help here.

In a loosely similar situation.

  • I’m a soon to be SWE grad this May.
  • I completed an internship this past summer that has lead to a full-time offer after graduation.
  • I have a Japanese language certificate from community college that’s approximately between JLPT N5-N4 but no JLPT official accreditation at this time (working towards N4 this year).
    Due to COVID I couldn’t apply to new grad positions (all got rejected due to state of emergency)
    Now new grad opportunities are only available for 2023 grads.

Is there anyway I can use this full-time offer to my advantage in applying to jobs in Japan?
PS: Full transparency, I’m also a career changer with a wife who is currently a SWE with 5 years exp.
We’ve visited Japan in 2012, and more recently in 2019. We’re now more committed than ever to live long-term in Japan.


Perhaps the best way would be to take the offer and pick up a couple years of experience. :wink: I don’t think you can use just a job offer to convince companies here to hire you. Additionally, while the border is starting to open up again, even in good times, it can take 3-6 months between when you get a job offer and when your working visa is granted.

It’ll probably be hard to time it so you and your wife both get offers at the same time. Given she is further along in her career, it might be easier for her to get a job offer first. That would allow you to come over on a dependent visa, and once in Japan, it’d probably be easier for you to find something.

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