How much can you earn as a software engineer in Japan?

One of the most rapidly developing fields open to expats to work in Japan is software development. IT degree holders even if they don’t speak Japanese are welcome in Japan to fill the gaps in the job market caused by the decreasing and aging population. In the following few lines I’m going to share with you the latest job opportunities in Japan for software developers. I’m also going to cast some light on the most popular IT related fields and the skills you can consider acquiring when you’re planning to apply for a job in Japan.

How much do software developers earn in Japan?

Linkedin is a popular platform not only in Japan but in other countries too and Japanese companies are actively using the job posting section of the site to find new potential employees. Some companies post their job advertisements in English, however you’ll find most of the postings in Japanese. For those who are not familiar with Linkedin or don’t know how to search for jobs in Japan in Japanese I selected three positions in the IT sector and I’m going to translate their content from Japanese into English. This will help you to understand how Japanese companies look for their employees and you’ll also gain some insight into the salaries offered by Japanese IT companies.

A few years ago, if you knew how to develop in Java or C#, investments banks and other large Japanese corporations hired you with a very nice salary. The HR were asking you about your English skills, your Japanese skills and whether you know the concept of Object Oriented Programming. You had to find your way through several rounds of interviews and you were given small programming tasks to showcase your server side or GUI development skills.

Technology and the world of IT changes rapidly and so does the job market in Japan. These days, if you search for IT jobs in Japan, you’ll find numerous AI related jobs listings. Cryptocurrency and crypto asset related fields are also very popular. If you understand the Blockchain protocol or you have some experience with the Ethereum ecosystem, try to find something for yourself on the Japanese job market! The following three positions I found on Linkedin were posted by Japanese companies to look for employees in these emerging fields.

If a company requires you to speak Japanese, usually they give you a Japanese language test, which is also given to Japanese applicants and I can tell you that the test is not easy at all. If your Japanese is on N2 or N1 level you don’t have to worry too much on this account, but you won’t be able to pass the test if you can’t read Japanese.

Let’s check out the first Japanese company that I found on Linkedin with a posting to recruit Artificial Intelligence experts. The company is called Heroz Japan and they have an English and a Japanese website as well.

A position at Heroz Japan

The company was established in 2004 and their headquarter is in Tokyo. The company is a member of the Japanese Deep Learning Community, the Artificial Intelligence and the FINTECH communities as well. According to their website they started with Shogi (将棋) and artificial intelligence, but these days they provide AI based solutions for various businesses.

Being an AI focused company, Herzo Japan is looking for developers who have previously scored high on an AI related gaming competition. Those who are currently doing research or have experience in a research institute are also welcomed. If you have publications in international scientific journals or you have excellent skills in high performance C++ computing feel free to apply. GPGPU related skills and Unity or Unreal Engine game engine related skills are also expedient to have.

Speaking of the required conditions, you must have some experience in game development, search algorithms, optimisation algorithms, machine learning and AI related research. Knowing C++, C# and Python is a must. They require you to use GIT for version control.

Their office is in Tokyo and the new employees would start work in this office. They would require you to work 8 hours from 10 am to 7 pm, with a 60 minutes break included and you’d have to work extra hours when requested.

And now let’s see the finances. You can anticipate your pre-tax annual salary to be between ¥6.000.000 ($57.200) and ¥12.000.000 ($114.433) excluding the money you’d get for your extra hours. This comes down to a ¥500.000 ($4.768) monthly salary. The leeway for negotiation is pretty large so new applicants should be prepared for a severe negotiation following the interview process.

Now let’s see the next position from Linkedin!

The next position is from a public company called SCSK, incorporated in Tokyo in 1969. Currently they have 13.979 employees and they provide IT solutions on a global scale.

A position at SCSK

SCSK has been actively engaging in the introduction of new technologies in over 37 countries. They own offices in cities like New York, Dallas, Boston, London and Shanghai and many other locations.

The position they’re advertising on Linkedin requires some IT skills, but instead of hard-core AI engineers, they’re recruiting professionals, who have a more diverse experience in the IT sector.

This is a position for those who have experience in data analysis and they would require you to use diagnostic tools to uncover hidden patterns in their already existing customer base and also to bring in additional clients.

If you get accepted for this position, you’d be working in Tokyo from 9 am to 5:30 pm with a 60 minute fixed break. This is a full time employment with a 3 months trial period.

Expect to be compensated in between ¥5.000.000 ($47.678) and ¥12.000.000 ($114.433) excluding the money you’d get for your extra hours. This comes down to a ¥331.900 ($3.165) pre-tax monthly salary. Check out this guide to learn more about income taxes in Japan!

And finally let’s see the third position in the IT sector of Tokyo.

The third position I’m going to introduce here is from Toyota Connected or トヨタコネクティッド株式会社. The company has strong ties with the well-known Japanese car company and it was established in 2000 in Nagoya. The fundamental driving force of Toyota Connected is to connect people, cars and society with the IT systems they provide. Currently, they employ 796 people and you could be one of them if you apply for this position.

A position at Toyota Connected

The company is very famous and their management principles are praiseworthy, but as we all know the devil is in the details so let’s go through the position more carefully.

Although the company was registered in Nagoya, you’d be working in Tokyo. You’d be undertaking agile software development projects and as these projects are aimed at service quality improvements and connecting various platforms the position requires you to have expertise in agile software development.

New employees in this position would be working from 8:45 am until 5:45 pm with a 1 hour break. Expect to work for 20-30 hours extra each month. This is a full time position with a trial period of 3 months.

Now let’s see the salary!

Your annual compensation would be between ¥5.000.000 ($47.678) and ¥13.000.000 ($123.984) excluding the money you’d get for your extra hours. This comes down to a ¥261.000 ($2.489) pre-tax monthly salary. Expect to receive a pay raise once a year and two bonuses yearly.

Your commute expenses would be covered and you’d get ¥19.500 ($186) extra if you have a child.


Although my data set is relatively small, as I investigated only three positions, you can discern some kind of pattern here. If you have many years of experience in a given field, and you also have scientific achievements you can find employment in the rapidly developing part of the IT world and earn up to $4000 in a month. If you have good analytical skills you can apply for a position at a company like SCSK and earn a little bit less, roughly $3000 per month before your taxes and health insurance fees are deducted. Some companies pay even less, like Toyota Connected, but they might have better perks, so it’s worth investigating the details of their advertisement as well, because you might eventually find their position more suitable for your personal character. Also, as a good starting point, offers hundreds of positions in Japan and their site is available on several languages. Check it out if you're interested.

Stay tuned for the next post! じゃねー!


Content: LB

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