PHP dev in Tokyo

Hi everyone,

I am a French PHP developer and I have been working for almost 6 years as a Symfony developer. I am obviously interested in finding a job in Tokyo but from what I could read on your blog or on the net, it looks like Japanese people are not really fond of PHP. On top of this, I can’t speak Japanese.

I have been looking for opportunities from home on internet but I am kind of desperate to find anything. So, my questions are:

  • do you think I have a good (real) chance to find a decent PHP developer job
    if I come in Tokyo directly with a working holiday visa and go to conferences to find contacts ?
  • since Symfony 1 was a lot inspired by RoR, would it be possible to start off as a junior/intermerdiate RoR dev ?
  • or should I just take Japanese lessons and work with RoR for 1 year at home, and try coming next year ?

Thanks for the replies, guys. And sorry if my questions sound a bit dumb.

Have a nice day!

My blog is a bit biased as I’m most active in the Ruby community, so that’s where I see the most opportunities. Overall, I would say there are more companies that are looking for PHP developers than companies looking for Ruby developers, but at the same time there are more PHP developers than Ruby developers, so I think there is more competition for the jobs as well.

While some companies are looking for people with experience in a specific language or technology, more importantly they are looking for good developers. New languages can be learned pretty quickly - when I started my first job, I didn’t have any experience using Ruby but was able to pick it up in a couple of days.

I wouldn’t spend time learning a specific language in the hopes of getting a job with it. The popular languages and technologies are constantly changing, so if you need to study one before getting a job with it, you’ll always be behind. Instead, I’d focus on things that make you more employable from a long term perspective.

One of the most important things you can do to make yourself more employable is have something that demonstrates your talents as a developer. This could be an active blog discussing development related stuff, contributions to an open source library, your own web service, or something similar. Having something like that puts you ahead of 95% of developers out there, so if I was to invest in anything to make myself more employable it would be that.

As for your chances of getting a job here, as I outlined in this reply, until you actually come to Japan, there’s no way to know if you’ll be able to get a job or not.

Thank you for the reply, Paul.

The thing is I can’t really picture the PHP and IT communities in Asia. If it was Europe, I think I could give it a try quite easily but Japan looks more “closed”.

Anyway, I will think about it, Thanks again.

My main language is PHP and I found PHP is popular in Japan.
Even if you work in English-speaking companies, learning some Japanese is vital for living here.
Good luck!

Hello kawa,

yes, I intend to learn Japanese once I can find a job in Japan.
Do you know if the Symfony framework is popular there and if there are companies hiring on that specific framework ? I have had a hard time finding anything and it is even worse without speaking the language.


Sorry for the slow reply, but I just noticed this thread.

I’m a PHP dev myself, and I’ve found PHP job prospects in Japan to be pretty dire indeed. If you want to do web dev in Japan, your best bet would be to hold your nose and learn Ruby on Rails. (Personally, I think Ruby’s fine, but Rails… I lost interest once I realized I’d have to write a bunch of workaround code in order that people can delete things without client-side JavaScript. Ha ha ha no.)

Even if it’s not with Rails, if you’re a PHP dev planning to work in Japan, I strongly recommend broadening your skillset to increase your opportunities. Personally, I started digging in to iOS development… didn’t end up finding a gig for that either, unfortunately, but I learned a lot and had a lot of fun, and who knows where it may lead in the future.

Recently i got interested working in Japan after i meet a Japanese friend on a startup event, i primarily code in PHP though i dont have any issues adopting any language, not really the first time since PHP is the 3rd language ive adopted.

So my question How hard is it to get into Japan and get a job? or we really have to be there personally and ask around? some of my friends are lucky enough to get hired from my country (Philippines) and transfered to japan.