Types of Engineering Jobs in Japan and How to Find One

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As the IT industry continues to expand, the demand for IT engineers rapidly grows with each passing year. Opportunities for IT engineers are likewise increasing, as is the number of foreigners considering an engineering career in Japan. In this article, we’ll explore the types of residence statuses foreigners need to work as engineers in Japan along with how to obtain them together with the types of jobs available. This is everything you need to know if you want to work as an engineer in Japan!

Japan is a Seller’s Market for Engineers!

Originally, the word “engineer” meant “a worker who possesses specialist knowledge and skills relating to engineering.” Nowadays, in the increasingly computerized modern world, it often refers to IT engineers with internet-related specialized IT knowledge and skills. In this article, we will naturally be discussing the latter.

The Japanese IT market continues to grow and expand with each year thanks to two things: investments in systems meant to help corporations modernize and lead the way in the field of IT, and an increase in IT services spurred by the popularity of smartphones. Going far beyond the traditional IT sphere, this unstoppable wave of digitalization is changing almost every aspect of society, including railroads, transport, food, finance, and more. Thanks to this, there are more opportunities out there for IT engineers than ever before.

Due to this whiplash speed of IT development, the technology we use every day is constantly changing and improving. As a result, the IT industry suffers from a chronic shortage of engineers acquainted with the latest technologies. To counter this, companies all over Japan are actively becoming involved in recruiting and training their own engineers, allowing those possessing general engineering knowledge and qualifications a significant advantage when job-hunting in Japan.

Annual Income, In-Demand Skills, and Required Experience for Engineers in Japan

If you’re considering an engineering career in Japan, you’ll undoubtedly want to know what annual income you can expect, and what skills and experiences you should be bringing to the table. We’ll discuss all those things in this section.

Due to a shortage of workers, the IT industry has seen a gradual improvement in wages and working conditions. Because of this, engineering professionals tend to enjoy a greater income than people in other sectors.

According to a report by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Results of Fact-finding Inquiry into the Salaries of IT-related Industries), the average annual income for an engineer is roughly 5.42 million yen. This is quite high considering that the average annual salary of a full-time employee at a general Japanese company is roughly 4.09 million yen. 

However, as there are several types of engineers, the actual pay that you can expect will depend on the industry as well as your skill set and years of experience. The size and scale of the company will also factor into it.

Types of Engineers

There are numerous types of IT employees performing a wide range of tasks from development to maintenance and even sales. Some of the most common engineering jobs are:

  • System Engineer

System engineers will develop computer systems, being involved every step of the way from proposal to design, development, and testing.   

  • Programmer 

Programmers will create programs based on the design specifications provided by the system engineer along with performing various operational checks on the finished product. 

  • Web Engineer 

Web engineers will create online applications while designing, building, operating, maintaining, and managing websites.

  • IT Infrastructure Engineer

IT infrastructure engineers will design, build, operate, maintain, and repair IT infrastructure for businesses.

This information is provided by the employment agency tsunagu Local Jobs, which specializes in engineering recruitment, career changes, and other services for foreigners in Japan. Our multilingual native Japanese staff will work tirelessly to help you find the job of your dreams.

Employment Advice for Engineers

To get a job in IT in Japan, you should first acquire basic IT knowledge such as programming. In addition, make sure that you are learning a programming language that is in demand in your desired field of work or the IT industry at large.

While you can learn programming languages at specialized schools, it’s also possible to study alone via educational websites and publications. This will help you save money while acquiring the necessary skills to thrive.

When job-hunting, it’s extremely important to have your own portfolio of IT systems and applications you’ve created. By doing this, you’ll be able to show off your actual accomplishments, making yourself more appealing to employers.

Things to be Aware of When Job-Hunting as a Foreign Engineer

In order to work as an engineer in Japan, you’ll first need to acquire the necessary status of residence.* The two most common types are:

  • Highly Skilled Professional: The Residence Status for Bringing Over Talented Individuals from Abroad to Japan

This residence status allows Japanese companies to hire talented individuals from abroad. Those granted this visa will be able to perform a wide range of activities in Japan, including engineering. A series of criteria known as the “Highly Skilled Professional Points System” assigns points to determine eligibility for the status. This includes academic background, career, age, annual salary, and more.

  • Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services

As long as you meet the right conditions, you’ll be able to work in Japan as an engineer under this status of residence. The conditions are as follows: 

  1. Graduated from a business-related science university (including junior college, technical college, or graduate school). Also includes applicants who possess qualification levels A, B, or C and higher under the DOEACC system in India.      
  2. Earned a diploma or advanced diploma from a Japanese technical college.
  3. Has 10 years of practical experience.

Those who meet any one of the above conditions, along with “receiving remuneration equal to or greater than that of a Japanese person working the same job,” are eligible for this status of residence. In addition, for the development of computer programs or information processing systems, foreigners who possess qualifications relating to information processing as stipulated by the Minister of Justice may be exempted from conditions 1-3.

However, even if hired as an engineer, your actual work may be outside the scope of your residence status, making it illegal. Be aware of this when seeking employment or changing careers. Also, once hired as an engineer, immediately apply for the relevant visa so everything is ready by day one. 

*Those with Permanent Resident, Spouse of Japanese National, Spouse of Permanent Resident, or Long-Term Resident statuses can work in Japan with no restrictions.

Unlock Your Engineering Career in Japan!

We hope you found this introductory guide to IT engineering in Japan helpful! If you’re considering pursuing a career as an engineer in Japan, use this article alongside additional resources to make sure your job-hunting goes as smoothly as possible.

If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you’d really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook!

By the way, if you're looking for a job or career change and you're already in Japan, we now have a jobs site called tsunagu Local Jobs! On top of having exclusive job listings that you won't find anywhere else, we've vetted all the listings to ensure that they're foreigner-friendly and high quality. If you register for an account on the site, you can even make use of our agent service where our international staff will help you find the perfect job in Japan, so check it out today!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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