How to survive and (hopefully prosper) In Japan

How to survive and (hopefully prosper) In Japan

Slides for Engineer community in Japan Meetup

B07486649dc4245eecd8914a795366db?s=128

Carlos Donderis

May 27, 2020
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Transcript

  1. 2.

    Carlos Donderis (CaDs) Engineer, Spaniard Been in Japan for 9+

    years GMO Group → Sansan → Mercari More info at https://about.me/cdonderis About Me
  2. 6.

    Some Statistics: • Unemployment Rate: 2.2% • Working hours: 40

    h/week (restrictions apply ) • Average salary: 3,500 $ / month • Average rent: 900 $ / month (20~30 m2) • Consumption Tax: 8% • Income Tax: ◦ Under 1.95 million yen per year: 5% ◦ 1.95-3.3 million yen per year: 10% ◦ 3.3 to 6.95 million yen per year: 20% ◦ 6.95 to 9 million yen per year: 23% • Residence Tax: around 6% of annual income Why Japan?
  3. 7.

    Visa options for working in Japan as an Engineer •

    Working Visa • Highly skilled professional Visa Visa Sponsorship procedure is common for companies looking for global talent. The procedure takes around 1 to 3 months. Why Japan?
  4. 9.

    • Getting Ready ◦ Check the current tech trends ▪

    Pick a technology you like and find communities • Finding English speaking communities outside tokyo might be challenging ▪ Search for companies using those technologies you are good at or want to be focusing on • Linked in • Wantedly (mostly in Japanese) How and where to Start?
  5. 10.

    • Getting Ready ◦ Be really good at something ▪

    Especially if you are applying from abroad, you will have to compete with local candidates. ▪ Companies have to make an extra investment in you (visa sponsorship, relocation) ▪ Your skills should make you stand out in the crowd. ▪ In my case? I became really good at testing. • Everyone loves coding • … not so much writing tests • But tests are necessary (especially with Ruby) • So that was my edge. How and where to Start?
  6. 11.

    • Getting Ready ◦ Meet People ▪ Meetups are great

    opportunities for meeting people • Companies looking for hiring • Exchange information on who is doing what ▪ Casual interviews with companies • Not as stressful as real interviews • You get more information on what companies are doing • You make contacts within the companies for when you are ready How and where to Start?
  7. 13.

    • I apply for my first job 100% online while

    I was in Spain ◦ Applied to Cookpad and Kumapon ◦ Cookpad interview went really well, while Kumapon one was a disaster. ◦ …. But I was rejected in Cookpad and got hired at Kumapon ▪ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ◦ I came to Japan 3 -4 months latter ▪ Arrived to Tokyo December 25th 2010 What went well
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    What went well Kumapon - Acquired by GMO Group -

    4 Million users - Ruby on Rails + lots of caching miracles - 99% Japanese company - Some foreigners… - ...that left shortly after I joined - No English speakers and I could barely speak Japanese - Attended Japanese lessons twice per week by myself - Was REALLY hard at the beginning but also really fun.
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    What went well TrustLogin (Former SkuID) - Global Sign service

    (GMO Group) - Ruby on Rails (sort of) - 70% Japanese company - Engineering mostly foreigners - All engineering work was in English! - Very challenging service from the very beginning. - Lots of technical / organizational challenges. - Rewrote the service from scratch in 3 months. - This was really fun. - Also did LOT of mentoring and in general helped people to grow and have a good time.
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    Sansan: - Worked on Eight - 10+ million users -

    Complex backend in Ruby, Python... - 99% Japanese company - Only 2 foreigners - Only 2 Englishs Speakers - I was working fully in Japanese - Doing both management and development. - Rewrote the activity feed. - Very challenging and interesting. - Learned a lot. Also it was fun. - Lots of opportunities (speaker at meetups, attending Ruby Kaigi, etc ) What went well
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    Mercari: - Working at Mercari JP - Zillions of users

    - Complex backend using both Go and PHP - Doing full time management - Managing several multicultural engineering teams - 60% Japanese - I can use English at work! - … sort of - Lots of challenges but also lots of opportunities What went well
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    Japanese Language: - Working and studying Japanese was really hard

    and never fully managed to become fluent. - I can speak but barely read - Working in a 100% Japanese environment was always a huge handicap for me. - At the same time, working in a Japanese environment helped me to become fluent at talking (sort of) in about 1 year. What went wrong
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    Working Culture: - Working in a 100% japanese company is

    hard. - Lots of unwritten rules that makes no sense for westerners. - … and leads to conflicts. - You either adapt or move on. - I would say is impossible to change this culture for medium/big companies - Maybe some hope for small startups? - Glass ceiling is real What went wrong
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    Tokyo can be overwhelming: - Tokyo can be the most

    exciting city in the world, but also can be ruthless. - Being alone in this city can be really hard. - Lots of people around but difficult to make long lasting friends. - Most of the expats here spend 1-3 years - NEVER get in trouble with Japanese police. What went wrong
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    Avoid traditional companies: - Working in a full traditional Japanese

    environment can be really challenging from the cultural point of view - Kohai / Sempai culture can be puzzling. - Staying until your boss leaves - Japanese language (written and read) is going to be vital - Good for deep immersion in the Japanese culture - ...but I would say not so good for your sanity. Advices for newcomers
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    Create your network: - Every interaction you do with people

    is an opportunity to expand your network. - Miles, the guy who interviewed me at cookpad ended up being one of my pals here in Tokyo - People you meet at events and meetups can become an important part of your life here. - Making an effort to step outside your comfort zone can help. Advices for newcomers
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    Help people out: - If you are in a position

    of helping people do so. - Chances are that you will meet people looking for a job, or trying to come to tokyo. Be nice and help people if you can. - Not because they might be able to help you back, just because is the right thing to do. - If your company is hiring, create recruiting events, hackathons... - Share the info of who is hiring with people looking for a job. Advices for newcomers
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    Have fun: - Don’t take things too seriously. - Tokyo

    is great, but so are many places around the world. - Not making it here doesn’t mean you can’t make it great somewhere else. - Enjoy the good things of Tokyo and Japan while are exciting. - Keep a curious mind. - Find a way to always have fun in what you do. Although this might be hard to do sometimes. Advices for newcomers