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Re: [tlug] Looking for Summer Internship in Japan

On Tue, 17 Mar 2015 00:44:10 +0900
Noda Yoshikazu <> wrote:

> I am basically thinking of those low level mass programmers when
> I talk about Japan's IT crisis. Do you know what is happening at those
> system integration companies (called SIers in Japan)? They hire a lot
> of Haken people with a very little programming skill. Do you know why?
> They think programming is something anyone can do. Is the same thing
> happening in the U.S.? I always hear about high level people at Google
> or Apple are getting so much money in America but what about the rest
> of them?

What are Haken people?

I see similar things in Switzerland. But it is not black or white.
There are lots of jobs that are going east (though less is going
to India and China, but more to east europe, these days). These
are either because the company doesn't know any better and sees
only the bottom line or because it really is an easy job that can
be outsourced without big problems. But there are also a lot of
companies who know that a good programmer is worth a lot and are
willing to pay decent salaries. But, these companies also know that
getting good programmers is difficult. So, these seldom announce
their openings publicly. These jobs are handed out between friends
and friends of friends.

I can say from personal experience, that it's possible to get a very
good pay as a simple engineer/programmer. But you have to be willing
to reject a lot of jobs, be in the right circles that pass around jobs,
or have a good headhunter to hunt for you. You also need to have the
arogance to tell people what salary you actually want. To make this a bit
more concerete: I started with an average salary when I graduated.
I switched jobs 4 times, with the shortest employments being 3 months
(jobs I realized I didn't want to do at all) and 6 years (a job that I
didn't want to lose if it would have been possible). Over all I almost
doubled my salary from graduation to my last job 8 years later. And all
that without ever getting into a managerial position or "moving up" at
all. Just staying a "simple" engineer. And no, I didn't specialize
into a narrow field either (quite to the contrary, I'm probably as broad
as an electrical engineer can get).

I am pretty sure that it will be very difficult to increase my salary
further, if I stayed a "simple" engineer. But then, I think I would have
not been badly off with it. The reason why I am not a "simple" engineer
anymore lie elsewhere (acutally a mixture between problems on the managment
level of my last job, and an offer I couldn't decline).

I don't know how exactly things work in Japan, but the following strategy
has worked well for me:

1) Impress people with your skills. No matter what it is and whether it's
an exact fit for the company. There is no perfect applicant and all sane
people know this. If someone doesn't know, you don't want to work there
anyways (problems in the hiring system are very often a symptoms of problems
elsewhere in the organisation).

2) Tell people what you want as salary. Go for 10-30% higher what you would
want, but do not give off the impression that this cannot be negotiated.
Impressingly often people will just accept it without discussion. If they
ask you whether you would work for a lower value, add a couple percent on
top of that and return that without many words (don't give the impression
you cannot negotiated with, but neither that you are easy to haggle down).

3) If they give you a value lower than you wanted, say no. Do not take
it unless you have a need for the job (family, mortage, etc..). There
will be another job that will pay you as much as you want.

I have left out all other dimensions on which a job should be evaluated.
Even though I think the payment is the least important and you should
take a job that pays less than you want but where everything else is perfect,
you can usually get more salary out of a job than most people think.
Also be aware, that other stuff (vacation, office space, working hours, etc)
are often also negotiable. Though companies are a lot less flexible there.

			Attila Kinali

It is upon moral qualities that a society is ultimately founded. All 
the prosperity and technological sophistication in the world is of no 
use without that foundation.
                 -- Miss Matheson, The Diamond Age, Neil Stephenson

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