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Re: [tlug] [OT] Questions about Employment in Japan

On 2008-12-09 18:56 +0900 (Tue), Kenneth Burling wrote:

> My questions are simple (Though the answers might not be.).

Actually, the questions themselves are not, for the most part, simple.
But I'll try and chuck a few answers your way.

> I still have a couple years left in the Navy, so I have not started on
> various Visa paperwork yet. I am however married finally.

The visa will be no problem, if you're married. You can basically do any
work you like, as far as I know.

> I am currently working towards an associates degree in Business
> Administration/Information Admin.  The degree program is more business
> based than Tech based, but it does mix the two.  

It sounds like a good degree to have. In my opinion, business knowledge
is always useful, since in the end, when you're working for a business,
the desired end result is usually to achieve some sort of business goal.
(Though this might not be the desired end result of your immediate
supervisors, in a large or sometimes even small company.)

One thing to consider is whether you'd rather be a specialist (what
you might call a "technician") or a generalist. Generalists are more
employable, though given the right conditions, specialists will find it
easier to find jobs.

> When I more on to a bachelears I intend to go more towards computer
> science. Perhaps network security.

I might look a bit more carefully into what "computer science" is. It's
not network security (which in the commonly used sense I'd say is a
"specialist" application), though computer science often deals with
network security.

For some insight into what makes a computer scientist, rather than just
a programmer, you might want to spend some time studying SICP (the full
text is available at <>) and contrast
that with what, say, C++ and Java programmers do. In my experience, if
you've mastered SICP and have written a few tens of thousands of lines
of production code in two or three languages, you'll probably be able
to pick up anything pretty well. That would likely get you a job with
Starling whether or not you knew Haskell or Ruby. On the other hand, it
probably won't be considered an advantage in a shop that's looking for a
"Java programmer."

> I have an interest in learning most any skill set that may be usefull,
> and am confident in my learning abilities. :-)

That's a good start. You can hone your learning abilities by learning
a lot of different things, as well as few things in depth, though what
you learn in depth should be well chosen (i.e., "interesting" things in
the sense of intellectually interesting) if you want to be efficient
about time. In particular, you want to cover a fairly broad range of the
levels of the machine, as it were. For example, a good DBMS guy will
understand both the relational algebra and just how heads move across
disks and disk I/O is scheduled in the OS.

> 1. What skill set is preffered for finding work in the Tokyo or
> Yokohama area.

This is really an unanswerable question. If you just want the best
guarantee possible of employment at something over starvation wages, the
most important thing will be fluent Japanese, a good understanding of
Japanese business culture, and the ability to work well and make people
happy even when you're extremely bored for years at a time. :-)

> 2.  How hard is it to actually get a job.

Dead easy, if you start your own company. :-)

Actually, I would seriously consider that. If you have the capability to
start one and run one for a couple of years, even if you get tired of it
later, you can probably do a much wider range of jobs than someone who
can't do that.

BTW, you might want to consider using a spell-checker on a regular basis.

Curt Sampson       <>        +81 90 7737 2974   
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