Relocation to Japan

    I started making attempts to find work in Japan for a long time, pursuing two goals: one - to try to work abroad, and the second - to work in a team with professionals in various fields of IT. The first attempts ended without a hint of success. Almost everywhere, knowledge of the Japanese language was needed at least at an intermediate level. And in those rare cases when this was not required, for some reason, I could not reach out to HR of these companies. Then I abandoned this idea, but at the same time I created a profile on LinkedIn and tried to keep the profile up to date. A few years later, the situation changed.


    Work searches

    In my case, LinkedIn was the only tool with which I could get at least to the interview. At that moment, when I returned to the search (beginning of 2015), the site already had a lot of IT-vacancies in Tokyo without the requirements for knowledge of Japanese. As it turned out later, it was a new trend in attracting specialists from abroad.

    I found a vacancy that was interesting to me, followed the link, filled out a questionnaire, recorded a video interview and for a while forgot about all this, because I didn’t expect someone to answer me. But they answered me.

    Job interview

    We were invited to an interview on skype. There were 4 or 5 of them and only one of them is technical. On the others, it seemed to me that I was the interviewer. They told me about the company, projects, work, and I asked questions. As a result, during these interviews (which took about 2 months), I met someone from HR, my future manager, almost all the team members and the manager L2 (one of the executive). Those. without even knowing whether they would hire me, I already knew all those with whom I had to work. It seemed to me something incredible.

    Because English is not my native and I don’t have any certificates. Before the second or third interview, they sent me a link to an online test (Versant). A set of 50 points was a condition for moving to the next stage. This was perhaps the most exciting moment. I didn’t have much to communicate in spoken English, and Versant is not just an oral test, it is also checked by a “robot”.

    Before the last interview, I was sent two books in English, which I needed to read and write two short essays. I did not know how to write an essay, in the end I just wrote my thoughts on the topics covered in the books.

    About salary

    I indicated the desired salary in the questionnaire at the very beginning and it was not discussed anymore. Approximately the same figure I received in the offer plus six-month bonuses. As I understand it, salaries are rarely discussed and they give what I requested. The subtlety is that the larger the request, the greater the probability of failure at one stage. It can be said roulette, because the threshold depends on many conditions, including the budget of the team or project.

    In my calculations, I proceeded from how much is enough for me to have a normal (in my understanding) life in Tokyo with my family. When calculating, it should be borne in mind that within a company, salary usually grows slowly and does not depend on the role played.


    There is practically nothing to write about a visa. I received documents, handed over to the embassy, ​​waited and received a visa. Obtaining documents from Japan for a spouse with a child (dependent visa) may take a little longer (up to 3 months) than for a hired specialist.


    The company offered several real estate agencies. We began to correspond with one of them and chose several options for apartments (after a walk on Google Street View). I arrived first (visas for the family were not ready yet) a week before work began, stopped at the hostel and started driving to see the selected apartments. After about 2 weeks, I settled in one of them.

    There is an interesting point regarding compensation for relocation. Compensation is calculated in advance and indicated in the offer as a bonus. This bonus is paid at the end of the second (if I remember correctly) month of work.


    What my new team did covered a lot more areas than the system administration that I did before. We had our own project, in which we were responsible for everything: architecture, development, support and even promotion. For me it was incredible. What was happening was like an endless startup. A lot of creativity and challenges every day. From what I needed to work with, I knew practically nothing, and only a good knowledge of Linux allowed me to begin to delve into.

    For three months I had a trial period, which was rather a formality. For this period I was assigned a mentor who set me tasks and helped with difficult questions. Also during this period I needed to pass another test in English (TOEIC IP, quite simple).

    Our team has a manager (mainly solving organizational issues and providing all possible support to the team) and team lead (or technical lead). We have no distinctions as to who does what. It works like this: about once every six months we collect ideas, prioritize, draw them up into new projects and assign (usually volunteerly) each of them to one of the team members as responsible. At the same time, anyone from the team can work on the project. Then the projects are divided into tasks, and someone undertakes (usually volunteerly) to do these tasks. This whole system is not strict and from time to time we change certain rules if we notice that something is no longer working or find more effective ways to work.

    Two years later

    Looking back, it seems that I was incredibly lucky with the team, manager and, possibly, the company I got into. Over two years of work here, I gained experience and knowledge (and not only technical) comparable to the previous ten and, it seems, this is far from the end.

    The family feels good here. The son (4 years old) went to the garden six months ago and already speaks might and main in Japanese.


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