Tokyo Dev

Developer jobs in Japan Developer Life in Japan

Places and ways to find jobs in Japan


#1

Hello everyone,

I know my post probably seems redundant in this forum, I’m a little embarrassed to ask but everything I read so far hasn’t been really helping (aka leading to me finding a job) and it’s been months now since I started looking for a job. I’ll try to be clear and short so -> points.

My state :

  • Actually married and living in Japan (still on ‘holiday’ VISA, soon with a new one thanks to my wedding)
  • Programming mainly iOS/Android apps (what I’d like to do here in Japan) : Swift and Java. Also doing all the server works (J2EE/PHP/Javascript also working with frameworks : SF, AngularJS… pretty much everything depending on the client demands)
  • Really dedicated programmer : I like well formatted, nicely optimized, understood code (not one of those copy / paste addict). Also having a deep understanding of architecture and computers (worked for embed OS) and hand making a lot (rarely using 3rd parties as it can be tricky to maintain/integrated sometimes, policy of my actual company)
  • Speaking casually Japanese (daily conversation) : my family don’t talk English at all. Pretty much fluent in English (I guess all the programmers are). And I’m French so an other language that might help (never did though)

So I think I got some good points (I guess it is way harder for some other) but I still can’t find anything (not even remotely. I have tried every single website usually spoken about. I sent some résumé but never had any answer, I even had a friend’s friend that work as a recruiter (so a nice contact, even if we don’t really know each other just sending couple of mails) but still no answer so far…

So I guess I do several things wrong, my position surely has some drawbacks :

  • I’m not technically an engineer
  • I’m not in Tokyo (Hiroshima so it’s a bit far and expensive to go to Tokyo)
  • I’m very bad at finding jobs (struggling in France too before getting one randomly through contacts)

Side note : I don’t know abroad but in France for instance, you never receive any answer too. The only time I was answered in my mail, I got interviewed then accepted. I guess the hardest part is at least going on interview?
Give me your feedbacks about my points and any story about how you have been employed would be nice too.


#2

Your first challenge is that you state you’re “very bad at finding jobs”. Finding a job in Japan is going to be more challenging than in France, as there are going to be even less opportunities available to you. However, you also identify how to get a job (“randomly through contacts”). You have a far better chance at getting a job through someone you know than firing off your resume to some random place on the internet.

The first thing I’d consider is if there is any way you could work remotely for a company in France. I’d talk to all your past colleagues, and ask them if they know of any opportunities. You could also do freelancing projects.

If you are looking for a job in Japan, being Hiroshima is a blessing and a curse. While there are far less opportunities than Tokyo, there are also less people searching for developer jobs (especially foreigners). I’d use that to your advantage. Identify interesting looking companies in Hiroshima, and contact them.

Ideally you want to contact someone working there directly (Twitter can be a great way of contacting Japanese developers). Rather than trying to get hired at their company, mention you’re a developer who’s recently moved to Hiroshima, and are wanting to get to know the local developer community, so could you take them out for lunch or a beer. By connecting directly to people, you have a far higher chance in getting a response.

Similarly, I’d try going to some local events to make connections. Hiroshima MotionControl Network and Web Touch Meeting are two I found - attend them and you can ask about others.

If you do fire your resume off to a random company, and you don’t write a really compelling application, chances are they’ll ignore you. To do this, you need to write a custom application for each company you apply to. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours on it. Research the company, and identify what kinds of things are important to them. Based on that, write a tailored application emphasising how you match them.

I’d also not give up just because you didn’t hear back from a company. Follow up with them on a regular basis until you do hear something back. It’s easy for an application to fall through the cracks, and there is nothing wrong with being persistent.

One thing that did pop out at me was you said you “rarely use 3rd parties”. For companies like mine who heavily use open source, this can be a negative. I’m looking to hire developers who would rather use a third party library than reinvent their own thing, as I think from a long term cost perspective, it is far cheaper to use something written by someone else. Of course, you also need to be good a judging if this library is good or not, as you’re right that sometimes having an extra dependency can introduce more complexity. My point is, if you put that you preferred to write stuff yourself in an application to me, I’d be less likely to hire you. You could find out my views by looking at my GitHub profile for instance, which while not incredibly active does include some open source contributions.

More generally, I think a great resource on the topic of getting a job as a developer in adverse situations is Hired Fast. It elaborates on some techniques for standing out. Even if you don’t buy the book, you can sign up for the mailing list and get some tips on getting hired.


#3

Thank you for answering, I did subscribe the mailing list (I’m trying every single possibility).

I do not mention 3rd party uses in my mail/resume but as I’m working with iOS/Android for anyone knowing this you don’t need them if you know what you’re doing (people usually use Firebase for iOS because they don’t know how to use Core Data for instance or make a remote database with an API). I mentioned that because I saw many people just aggregating 3rd party features to make their app, making it not maintainable and usually not stable (of course this is the majority and some might have the right uses).

Eventually I’ve never met a developer who get hired the ‘standard’ way (through job ads) so he has always feel weird to me. Going freelance or creating me own enterprise could be fine if only I could do the paper work, which I obviously can’t (just getting married was nearly impossible to me and my wife had to do post of it because you know ‘kanji’).

Anyway I guess I’ll have to make contacts but I mainly uses internet and I have still to find Japanese people… Also I’m in Hiroshimaken but not Hiroshimashi, making it more difficult (the best for me, I think, would be to move to Tokyo).