Professional, Economical and Salary Advantages Software Engineers Can Derive from Working in Japan


The continuing demand for highly-talented and innovative Software Engineers remains a challenge for many countries, especially for a technology-driven and progressive nation like Japan. Discover the advantages and benefits of working as a Software Engineer in Japan in comparison to other countries. 

Factors that prevent more foreigners from flocking to work in the IT industry in Japan

There are many various reasons in the past that have prevented equally-capable, highly-trained foreign IT people from flocking to Japan and working there for the country’s technology-driven economy.

One reason presented by those who are quite familiar with the Japanese IT community is the fact that Japanese culture is structured quite differently which extends to issues pertaining to the overall structure and specific requirements of companies in the IT industry. About one out of 50 workers in Japan is a foreigner(※), giving a view into the great challenge that must be overcome by companies to attract more foreign IT talents. One significant factor is that the average salaries received by IT people in Japan inhibits many companies from hiring a foreigner to work as a systems engineer or developer because, on top of that average salaries, additional expenses in visa processing and relocation are incurred.

※ Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, “Status of reporting on the employment of foreign workers by employers (October 2019)”

Foreign IT people, moreover, generally pursue a different professional path to achieve their present expertise, which is often unrelated or inapplicable in the Japanese business context. Hence, differences in titles, as well as the expected job description, pose challenges to the foreign worker who is unfamiliar with the new workplace environment.

These conditions help increase job opportunities for both Japanese companies and prospective foreign workers as the prevailing drive of the government and private companies to source out foreign workers in other sectors will eventually bring about positive changes in the IT industry.

As the world goes into the process of globalization, different industries and sectors realize the advantages and merits of hiring software engineers and IT professionals in general. Japan is actively making laws and programs to integrate foreign professionals into the country, and private corporations in the modern world cannot make do with IT. The world has seen what programs can do; increase productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, and this type of work has become a staple in all fields. Even establishments that have no direct relation to IT hires, and prefers applicants with knowledge in the field, what more in the industries that directly employ these professionals.

Japan has been a hub of advanced technology for years passed, and years to come. If Japan wants to maintain this lead, software engineers are essential, and all the important jobs in Japan are well compensated.

Things to consider when deciding to work in the software engineering sector in Japan 

Aside from bringing in fresh perspectives and unique innovations from such IT-rich talent lodes as Silicon Valley and others in the world, foreign workers can feel they are more in a better position to provide their knowhow and experience among the Japanese people who have been a paragon for diligence and patent dedication to excellence in science and technology. Hence, the opportunities for showing their own creativity and passions and learning new things within a new setting can provide a lasting motivation for a long-term work engagement. This gives foreigners some leeway in choosing the best job offer that can maximize income and work satisfaction. 

It would be to the benefit of interested applicants to evaluate and appreciate the contributions they can provide and seek ways to gain access through the doorways opening to foreign IT workers in the complex but exciting Japan labor market. They need to take as much time to do research or interviews with online consultants and bloggers to find out the unique characteristics of the IT industry in that country as well as the cultural dimensions that come into play. Weighing one’s IT experience in terms of Japanese technical practices and cultural norms is a necessary step toward fully achieving a realistic view of the desired job and expected benefits. For while a foreign IT worker can expect to acquire a suitable lifestyle while maintaining a fulfilling job in Japan, it is best to avoid common pitfalls or presumptions of reaching greener pastures without thorough assessment of cultural nuances. 

Applicants must, therefore, get to know the similarities and differences of the way standard IT tasks, systems and applications are utilized or undertaken based on your professional experience and that of general trends in Japan. There are a lot of references online you can check for this purpose..

Factors that make working in the Japanese IT industry worthwhile

There are several advantages that foreign IT workers can hope to benefit from in Japan. Looking at these several benefits will convince hopeful and enterprising applicants of the great potentials of relocating compared to remaining in the status quo.   

Some exceptional foreign workers can do land in lucrative positions, especially for those who have had work experience in big internationally-recognized companies but now work for small, start-up companies in Japan which bank on their acquired foreign talents to make their mark in the industry. We can liken this to a local movie outfit hiring a Hollywood celebrity star to showcase a major local movie production in order to cash in on the popularity, or, in this case, the prized expertise. 

One other attractive benefit for foreign IT workers in Japan is the fact that they can fetch salary rates ranging somewhere between 4 to 5 Million Yen for incoming new graduates, while if you look in the right places, you can get an even higher salary for higher level positions, such as a senior level programmer, for instance. Comparing that to the average salary received by Japanese IT workers, which is about 5.5 Million Yen, being exceptional, experienced and highly-motivated can pay off for those who desire to enter the IT world in Japan. 

※ Heikin Nenshu,, " System engineer (SE) annual income"

Working in Japan can offer a foreigner to live a lifestyle that is at par or even better than what one expects in Europe. At the price of a tiny flat in London, for instance, one can get a nice mini-apartment in Tokyo. Housing, in general, is not a big issue with the availability of decent and affordable units for rent. However, units are usually empty, so one has to purchase some furniture, cooking equipment and air-con unit. 

Some employers in Japan provide health insurance to foreign workers to cover medicine as well as medical consultation and other services; if not,  according to the Japan Local  Government Center, 70% is being covered by the government and slightly varies depending on the income. The hiring company usually assists your visa processing and approval for free that will allow the holder to reside in Japan while working. Processing may take about 2 months from application date. Bear in mind that getting a credit card in Japan can be quite difficult unless your company assists you.

※Japan Local Government Center, "Local Health Care Systems in Japan"


The level of position and compensation you can expect to get as a foreign IT worker in Japan will depend on a lot of factors, some of which we have enumerated. In the end, educational background, professional experience and individual creativity or, if you have it, genius, will carry the day for you. Although Japanese are generally a quiet and respectful, their respect for innate talent, resourcefulness and competence is well-known.


Here to provide a variety of articles from useful information about life, working, and studying in Japan to Japan's charms and attractive qualities.

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