New opportunities for foreigners in the Japanese IT industry | Daily News

New opportunities for foreigners in the Japanese IT industry

The tendency to recruit foreign people for professional jobs in Japan has come out just recently. We foresee that the demand for foreign professionals, especially in the IT sector, will grow up rapidly in the coming years due to increasing demand for such skills and decreasing youth population. It is the right time for Sri Lankan youth to consider Japan as a “new destination” for IT jobs. But, don’t forget! IT skill is not the only skill you need to develop a successful career in Japan. Go something beyond that, and grab Japanese language skills, plus a good understanding of the Japanese business practices. The key to a successful international career will be in your hand soon!

Especially the graduates from countries like Vietnam, China and India are getting the benefits of high demand in the country. The following table compares Japan with Europe’s largest economy and with Australia. In terms of safety, quality of life and economic benefits Japan can be positioned as one of the best places to work. Therefore, professionals can expect a very safe working and living environment while enjoying a highly competitive salary. On average 7.5 million Yen per year.

In most ways, Japan is one of the best destinations to start a professional career for a graduate. Working on time and being extra careful about the quality of your work are basic qualities society expects from you all the time. This is not limited to the job you do; disposing of garbage is also a skill you should improve gradually. But, once you get used to them, it will be a gift from Japan to have a better future.

Many Japanese companies still have the concept of lifetime employment. Therefore, companies invest a lot in employee training. Initial training goes for many months for fresh graduates. If you are lucky to join a Japanese company as a fresh graduate, then you will be able to get this training. This training based on actual working experience is very effective, which you cannot find in any paid course program. Even after this training, the company gradually introduces the working culture and technology to the new employees during the first few years.

But, unfortunately, the language and cultural barriers have made entering this job market a painful challenge. Especially in a field like software engineering both language and cultural knowledge matter very much. Proper software development practices and extreme testing are essential parts of this environment. That does not mean opportunities are limited to a unique set of people. There is a large population of foreign IT professionals working in Japan. Once get used to this working culture, it will be a good foundation to work anywhere in the world with confidence and discipline.

Japan has a well-shaped modern economy that has evolved for centuries. While protecting the ancient roots, the country has been able to hold a leading place in the global market. The following table shows how the economy has changed over the last century.

Within the IT industry, there is a big demand for experts in areas like Information Security, Big data, Artificial Intelligence in parallel to Japan’s “Society 5.0” concept, “A human-centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space”.

Japan expects to achieve a smarter and human-friendly society through better utilization of computer science and cyberspace. Lots of improvements and innovations are required in the coming decades to achieve this goal. Therefore, even with the challenges of Covid-19, top Japanese companies plan to invest more in IT-related projects.

Population-decrease in Japan is a well-studied aspect in Japanese society. Lots of contemporary socioeconomic factors have contributed to this situation. But people tend to see many pros and cons of it. One of the main disadvantages to the country is the lack of a workforce to drive the country’s industry. This has become one of the biggest challenges to economic growth. Especially the booming IT industry suffers severely from this, creating a good demand for foreign experts.

The government of Japan has already taken many steps for this. One major step is to attract highly skilled foreign professionals from potential nations. For that, they are also making bilateral agreements to make a conducive environment for the professionals to come inside the country. Nearly 300,000 foreign software engineers were needed in the year 2020 to fill the vacancies in the Japanese IT industry. In the year 2030, this number will pass 500,000.

The author is the Chairman of the Lanka Nippon BizTech Institute (LNBTI), the first Japanese higher education institute established in Sri Lanka, with courses on the IT sector. He also is a founding member of Metatechno Inc Japan the main software provider for many multinational companies in Japan including Canon Corporation.