Author: M.Kok

Common frustrations of IT specialists in Japan (Part 1)

Working as a Dev of some sort or other is a rewarding means of employment. And working in Japan has the bonus of being surrounded by a new fascinating culture. But with everything good, there is (even if just a little) the bad. What are the frustrations of working in the IT industry in Japan? And how can you overcome them? 

IT Job search in Japan, the frustration

Before you can experience the pains of an IT specialist working in Japan, you need to find a job. The job search itself can be disappointing.

There are popular memes in the coding circles that read:

“Developer of so and so wanted with six years of experience using the system that came out three years ago”

or 

“Junior dev wanted! With senior dev experience, for the salary of an intern”

These kinds of job listings do happen everywhere, and Japan is no exception. Apart from the ones that grossly over exaggerate the minimum requirements, some also withhold information. 

It is all very frustrating, but you need to understand that these are the clients’ requirements. Clients of whom many if not all have very little to no understanding of the job itself. 

Imagine an entry-level job that gets commissioned by a middle manager. In the hope of impressing their boss, the manager wants the ‘Best Person’ for the least money. 

Since the job is just ‘entry level’, it gets passed down to people who are sometimes ‘entry level’ themselves. 

Now you can get frustrated with this and try to die on the hill of explaining all the intricacies of the job all the way up to the CEO of the imaginary company.

Or you can accept it for what it is. A vacancy created by a party that does not understand/value the position. They want/need the end product. 

If you skim it down, there are two options. But first, you need to ask yourself if a job listing like this is worth the effort of applying.

Yes. It is.

Maybe you want to work for that specific company. Or they are doing a project that you are keen on, or it provides you with the learning tools you need to further your career. Or maybe, it is just really close to your house. 

Whatever your reason is, make sure it is good enough to make it worth the effort.

When you get as far as the interview phase, don’t forget to pack in extra patience to answer all the repetitive questions, of which many have nothing to do with the job. Just remember how the job came (probably) to be. If the novice HR agent asks you whether you can use MS Word, smile and say you can. After all, we all are or have been new at something.

No, it is not worth it.

Then don’t be frustrated. Think of listings like that as trailers for poor movies. You will be glad you found out before you bought the ticket.

Use a proper recruitment agency

There are specialist recruitment agencies to whom reputation is everything. Most modern agents understand that careers are not stagnant and that you might use them again in the future. Also, happy workers are much more productive. Offering you a position you want to fill and do good at is a win for everyone involved.

Conclusion

A job is ideally a fit both ways. It is not just you that needs to meet the listed requirements. It is the same with the job. For a healthy professional life, it needs to fit yours as well. 

This school of thought is relatively new. Work used to be and in many circles still is something for what you need to make sacrifices. But because of the available information and the working cultures of many economically advanced countries leaning towards improving the quality of life, it is spreading. And leading this change is the tech industry. 

Because of this, for every inadequate job listing, there are several great ones.

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