tokyodev forum

Looking for information on the future


I was a nuclear electrician’s mate in the Navy for almost 10 years, and left the service at the beginning of 2020 to go back to school to get my bachelor’s degree. I’m currently majoring in Information Technology at the University of North Florida, which is tailored mostly towards cybersecurity, networking, IT management, and programming. Although Covid-19 has thrown a wrench into everyone’s plans, I am on track to graduate by 2023, and more and more I’ve been looking at moving away from Florida when I graduate and starting my new career somewhere else. Tokyo and Japan in general is a beautiful place that is very appealing to me, but I do have some fears.

One is that I am relatively old. By the time I graduate, I will be 31 years old. Although I have work experience in the Navy, other than any internships I might get while in my studies I will be entering the workforce with zero relevant IT work experience. I’m not sure if this combination of age and lack of experience would present a large hurdle to overcome when dealing with companies in general, let alone foreign companies.

Another is that, while I was fortunate enough to have the ability to take two years of Japanese classes in high school with a native Japanese teacher, obviously that is not even close to enough to even have more than a very basic conversation. Many of the job listings on this site advertise little to no Japanese necessary, and if I was to relocate I would be more than willing to work to improve in this area, but as far as the current reality, I fear that the language barrier might make it difficult for me to get hired.

Ultimately, I suppose my questions boil down to: should somebody like me even be looking at doing something like this, and if so, what kinds of things should I be doing now to prepare for the future?

Thanks for any help that you can give.

From a longer term perspective, I wouldn’t worry so much about your age. Once you’ve got your first job, employers tend to be looking more at whatever your previous experience is, than what your age is (and it’s easier then to just drop your Navy experience, and then from just looking at the resume, they won’t be able to tell that you’re doing tech as a second career).

Getting your first job can be tough anywhere, but it’s particularly challenging when relocating countries at the same time. Employers will see hires without any experience as an investment, and so hoping through visa hurdles or risking someone will quickly decide to return to their own country means it’s rarely worth it for them to make an overseas hire unless they can already bring relevant experience.

Personally, I’d think it’d be much easier for you to get your start in the US, and once you’ve built up a bit of experience, move overseas. Not only are there less hurdles to getting your job there, I’d assume having a background in the Navy is going to appeal to some employers there.

With the rise of remote work, it may well be possible for you to land a US based job, and then be a “digital nomad”, and travel and work from other countries.

I focus on jobs on this site that require little to no Japanese ability. Some companies don’t care about whether you speak Japanese or not, and so not being fluent doesn’t preclude the possibility to work here. That being said, if you do become fluent, you obviously become eligible for many other positions, so if studying the language is something you enjoy, working on your Japanese skills could boost your future employment prospects.

Thanks for your responses, I will definitely make use of your advice.