Do you all know that programming classes for children have recently become a big topic on Japanese television and in the news?
Today, I’d like to consider what the effect will be on foreign engineers if the number of Japanese engineers increases.
(1)Status of programming classes for children in Japan
The Japanese government announced that programming classes will be added to compulsory education starting in 2020 as one of its strategies for growth.*1 This announcement has brought national attention to the topic of programming classes for children, and many study schools and classrooms related to the IT industry have started to appear.
(2)Current foreign engineer situation
Foreigners working in the information and communication industry numbered about 28,000 at the end of October 2013, a 56% increase (10,000 extra workers) compared to 18,000 in 2008.
The following reference source was created for a government-sponsored conference by Mr. Mikitani, a representative of the information conglomerate Rakuten. In this document, he proposes creating a system that makes it easier for foreign engineers to work in Japan.
6th Annual Industry Competition Conference: Mikitani Resource P16
(3) Forecast regarding future shortage of engineers
According to a survey released by METI in June 2016 titled, “Survey of latest trends and future estimates for IT workers”, there was a shortage of about 170,000 IT workers in Japan (both foreign and Japanese) as of 2016, and a predicted shortage of about 790,000 IT workers in the year 2030.
In short, programming classes for children will increase, and the number of both Japanese and foreign engineers will increase. Even so, there is expected to be a future shortage of up to 790,000 IT workers.
The following three things are expected from foreign engineers.
<1> A high level of technical expertise (even higher than Japanese people)
<2> Ability to handle global projects due to their language ability (native language + Japanese)
<3> Low cost development (mainly in the case of engineers from countries with prices lower than Japan)
<1> and <2> are the main strengths of foreign engineers. If you can emphasize these advantages, it will be easier to land a project that has favorable conditions for you. It is only natural that keeping your technical abilities well-honed and continuing to improve your communication skills (including your Japanese ability) is very important to your career.
*1Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. About the current state of programming classes at the grade school level
*2 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Status report summary on “foreign worker employment status”