I have worked in the IT industry in Japan for a year and a half, and I often chat with my colleagues on various topics in the industry.

Therefore, I recently intend to summarize my understanding of the Japanese IT industry, hoping to help students who plan to come to Japan’s IT industry to develop in the future~

1. What are the categories of Japanese IT industry?

I believe that when looking for a job, everyone will see a dazzling array of Japanese IT companies recruiting talents, but they don’t understand the difference.

I thought that as long as I could master some technology in the IT industry, I wouldn't be afraid of running out of food.

In fact, this idea is quite dangerous, because there are many types in the IT industry, and among them there are also very poorly paid black companies, so they cannot be generalized.

Then, from the perspective of profit model, I will introduce to you the three major types of IT companies in Japan!

1.1. The first category: Internet IT (Yahoo/Rakuten, etc.)

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Representative companies: Yahoo, Lotte, Melcari, Seiba Ejint, etc.

1) Make money by providing your own services

These companies mainly develop their own services/products, and most of them are APP development (not contracting).

For example, Yahoo shopping, Yahoo weather, Yahoo map, etc.

2) Actively introduce new technologies in order to improve services.

Just like ordinary manufacturing, in order to increase customer satisfaction, the quality and practicality of products will be continuously improved.

Internet development companies are the same. The services they provide are a source of money, so they will continue to actively learn new technologies to develop better service models.

3) High requirements for programmers / fierce competition

After all, you are developing your own services, and you will definitely want top programmers, so the technical threshold is high (programming questions will be asked in the interview).

Although such companies also recruit non-programming liberal arts students during the recruitment period.

But as far as I know, the liberal arts friends who have entered Yahoo or Rakuten as programmers have "taught programming by themselves and have a certain technical foundation."

Needless to say, if you change your job, the competition is very fierce, and it is basically difficult if you don't have certain technical strength.

4) Competitorism/ Treatment varies from person to person

Unlike the traditional Japanese annual merit sequence, the results of personal performance evaluation twice a year will be reflected on Bonus.

Active and capable people can get a high income. On the contrary, people with insufficient strength/motivated to work can easily be eliminated.

The basic salary reaches 30 per month, but it also includes a fixed overtime pay of around 6, so it is more suitable for friends who like to work and want to focus on accumulating wealth and technology while young.

1.2. The second category: WebAPP development

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1) Help customers make web pages (contract web development)

This type of company mainly focuses on helping customers make web pages, and does not have their own core services.

Therefore, most of them maintain their operations based on the model of "expanding customers-understanding needs-developing web pages-delivering on specified dates".

Since most of these companies do front-end development, most of their clients are small and medium-sized enterprises.

The WebAPP of large enterprises involves a lot of confidential information in the back-end (such as the database of the banking system, etc.), and requires hard enough back-end technology, so it is generally unlikely to entrust such enterprises.

2) Developed from social media

In addition to the former contracting type, there are also companies that specialize in developing their own Web media business.

For example, you build a website yourself and then hire someone to write articles/produce content, etc.

As the scale of the website becomes larger and larger, programmers are needed to develop new services or do operation and maintenance.

3) Treatment/not much room for growth

Regardless of the above-mentioned types of enterprises, there is not much room for treatment and growth.

Most of the frameworks used are WordPress, which basically cannot hold the needs of large websites, so most of the cases received are small cases.

In terms of technology, I can learn html, css, JQuery and other front-end knowledge, but I personally think that it is also important to understand the back-end knowledge if you want to develop in the direction of programmers for a long time.

If you stay in this type of company for a long time, it is difficult to transfer to the APP development category/SIer category, because the other two categories require hard enough back-end knowledge.

(Of course, it does not rule out companies that actively introduce and learn new technologies, but I think it is relatively rare.)

1.3. The third category: SIer/system development (IBM/Fujitsu, etc.)

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Representative companies: IBM, Fujitsu, NEC, Accenture, etc.

1) Help customers develop systems

Mainly it is the development of contracting systems. The difference from the previous two is that in addition to APP development, it also does system development in various fields.

Such as the handling fee calculation system of the bank backstage, the energy-saving system of the power company, the face recognition system of the confidential agency, etc.

2) Multiple contract structure

The biggest feature of SIer companies is that they are outsourcing layer by layer from the upstream (understanding customer needs/design) to the downstream (manufacturing/testing/operation and maintenance).

Therefore, in addition to the representative companies mentioned at the beginning, there are actually many small and medium-sized SMEs that are also SIers.

If you can stay at the general contractor or close to the upper-class companies, the treatment will be better than the lower ones.

3) Treatment/growth space

SIer is mainly to help customers develop systems, so in accordance with customer needs and delivery within the specified date is the top priority.

Because of the pressure of on-time delivery and the developed system is not a product of its own (low interest and motivation), it is difficult to have the motivation to spend extra time to learn new IT technologies.

(Of course, it does not rule out that many large companies regularly train their employees in new technologies.)

I personally suggest that if you want to enter SIer, you must enter a large company. Large companies have complete benefits. In order to maintain the corporate image, they will not squeeze employees, and there are opportunities for upward development.

In contrast, if it is a small and medium-sized enterprise, there are particularly many black companies, and most of the work done is testing and operation and maintenance, and it is difficult to learn new knowledge.

2. Which category is suitable for me?

2.1. Want to start a business

If you understand IT technology and have an Idea, starting a business is basically easy.

In the current Internet age, you basically need to use Internet knowledge to start a business, so the first type of business (Yahoo, Rakuten, etc.) is definitely the first choice.

The technology and knowledge learned in the first category can be used to develop e-commerce, APP, self-media, etc. in the future.

If you are not confident that you can enter the first type of company, you can also try the third type of company.

Although the third type of enterprise is mainly based on the development of back-end systems, the technical knowledge involved is basically the same. You only need to spend extra time to learn knowledge about online marketing.

The most important thing is whether you are in the first or third category, you must strive to enter the more open/innovative department, so that it is easier to obtain new incentives and ideas, and it will also be of great help to entrepreneurship!

2.2. Want to manage in the company

If you feel that starting a business is troublesome, and you want to continue to grow into a managerial position in your career, the first or third category is also recommended.

The big difference between the two types is the different profit model.

The first category is to develop their own services/products, so it is suitable for those who want to support their own products for the rest of their lives.

The third category is contracting system development, so it is suitable for people who want to stay in a certain field (banking, agriculture, universe) for a lifetime.

Regardless of the first or third category, if you want to be a manager, you must understand project management, so it is recommended that you must have high-level experience!

2.3. Want an interesting work experience

Money, status is only second, fun work is the most important!If you think so, I recommend the first or second category.

The first category is because you develop your own products, so if the business/idea you want to develop happens to be in line with the company’s interests, there is a chance to get support from the above proposal.

In the second category, there are actually many start-ups (excluding contractors). Although these start-ups are not large in scale, because of their young physique and free spirit, there are many places that support unique ideas.

What I want to remind everyone here is that most of the emerging companies are not stable, and there are also many black companies, so you must do business research when looking for a job!

3. How should I prepare?

3.1. Science students

If you are a programming-related major, the biggest worry is probably the Japanese and Japanese way of thinking.

But in fact, like the first type of Lotte or the third type of foreign investment (IBM etc.), talents with skills and English speaking are very welcome.

So I suggest you don't worry too much.I can understand daily conversation in Japanese (N2 or so). If I can communicate in English technically, I don’t have to worry about it.

If you are not a programming major, but I believe it is not difficult to learn programming with your logical thinking ability, so it is recommended to learn some programming knowledge by yourself before looking for a job!

The rest is basically the same. Japanese can be used for daily conversation, and technically, it is enough to communicate in English.

3.2. Liberal Arts Students

I believe that the Japanese language and the Japanese way of thinking is not difficult for you at all, but I am afraid that my skills are not good.

But in fact, Japanese companies like the third category (Fujitsu, etc.) are willing to recruit and train liberal arts programmers from scratch.

Therefore, as long as your Japanese level is sufficient (to be able to communicate at a business level), and your personality/personality meets their needs, you can basically pass.

Of course, if you want to target the first type of enterprise from the beginning, you can also pass self-learning programming. It is recommended to learn relevant knowledge in advance before looking for a job!

3.3. How to learn programming

If you are confident in your self-learning ability and perseverance, I recommend that you can find relevant online courses on websites such as ドットインストール or youtube.

If you are not confident, you can also try enrolling in classes. The following article recommends you several well-known programming online schools in Japan, not only wired courses/Q&A services, but also job search support services.

[Work in Japan] Recommend three Japanese programming online schools~ A good way to join Japanese IT industry


So that's it for today!

In the future, I will continue to introduce relevant information in the Japanese IT industry.

Of course, many of them are personal opinions. If there is something wrong, please leave a message to let me know!

[2020.11.11] If you want to know about my experience in IT work in Japan, you can also refer to the following article!

[Jobs in Japan] Work content of Japanese IT system engineers (SE) + recent thoughts

[Work in Japan] What is it like to be an IT programmer in Japan?

[Work in Japan] My experiences and thoughts after working for a year + suggestions for everyone

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