tokyodev forum

Preparing myself as a new grad with a relevant degree


I’m a relatively recent grad coming out in June 2019. I’ve spent the past year working in a hospital with the job I’ve had from my degree (especially fun recently…) and it’s starting to get to the point where I’m ready to start my career job. I have a particular love for development, especially .NET based applications but I’m willing to accept QA or some other language to get my foot in the door.

I’m still working my nurse assistant job so I have a real interest in going somewhere medtech related if there are any specific companies I should look out for. But I’m interested in getting anywhere I can get my foot in the door, though ideally somewhere that respects work-life balance, which while I’ve heard is problematic generally, it’s not quite as big a problem for foreigners? Or is that an incorrect take? While I’m up for moving halfway around the world, I’m not really up for moving halfway around the world to a poor work environment, so are there any red flags or questions I can ask at interview to weed out such places?

My current steps are doing what I can in terms of building a portfolio on my github. I have a few projects in mind that I’ve started, and I feel that it’s good sense and having a good portfolio no matter where I’m applying for in the world but maybe this is incorrect and I should be persuing some kinds of certification instead?

While I’m currently learning Japanese, my time is stretched thin as it is and from what I gather it won’t be a big advantage when applying unless I’m at B1 or B2, which I am at least 3 months away from, so is viewing Japanese language learning as something that’s not urgent right now correct? Or is it one of those things that’s listed as a ‘nice-to-have’ but is really big ‘nice-to-have’? I can shift more time to it if that’s the case.

I love my current job and I’m planning on staying for another few months so I’m more interested in spending the time I have now wisely to make sure that I have the best shot at moving and having it work out best for all parties rather than rushing in to anything and failing.

I’m a young (<30) Irish citizen and but from what I gather that seems to just mean that I’ll not be meeting any huge roadblocks rather than being especially useful.

Thanks for your time!

Like anywhere, Japanese companies have a range of attitudes on work-life balance. Internationally minded companies tend to naturally be more internationally minded when it comes to work-life balance as well. When I worked for Japanese companies, I never did overtime personally.

One good thing about Japan is even the bad companies tend not to be deceptive (at least in a skilled profession like software development). It’s not in a company’s interest to hire you, only for you to quit because it didn’t match your expectations. So, I’d simply ask questions like “How many hours of overtime do developers work on average?”, “Is it common for developers to take a week or more of vacation at once?”, and whatever else it important to you.

Coming from the startup minded developer world, personally I don’t see certifications as so valuable. To me, all they show is that you can pass a test, and that’s not a skill I look for in developers. Your approach on increasing your hire-ability no matter where you are is the way to go.

Working on your own projects is one way to go, and if that’s something you enjoy, it’s a good idea. Remember though that an employer probably isn’t going to look through the actual code in detail, so having something that helps an employer tell at a glance what you’ve accomplished is important (e.g. an article describing the project and perhaps some of the technical challenges you tackled).

Greater Japanese abilities lead to more options. If you enjoy studying Japanese, and want to get a job where you’d speak Japanese regularly, then focusing on it is obviously important. But there are jobs that require Japanese abilities (though they tend to be pickier when it comes to technical skills).

As an Irish citizen who’s under 30, you’re eligible for the working holiday visa. This is the best way to try living in Japan, and well a condition of the visa is that you cannot intend to primarily be working, there’s no actual restrictions if you go to Japan and end up finding a company that wants to hire you full time.