IT Industry Analysis: Salaries, Companies, and How to Become an IT Engineer in Japan

Updated: Dec 25, 2019

Author: Jen Santelices

Date Published: 21st November 2019

Figuring out where to start your career as an IT professional in Japan might feel a little confusing, so to better understand the industry and the job opportunities out there, let's first take a deep dive into Japan's IT industry. #jportlibrary

So, what's IT like in Japan?

Despite Japan's image as a high-tech country, the country's IT industry has been lagging behind in the past few years. One factor might be Japan's slow tech innovation compared to other countries—new tech companies started only recently, and Japan doesn't have its own hub for ideas like the Silicon Valley.

Japan is also known to have labor shortage problems, and the IT industry is one that is affected by this. Private companies and the Japanese government have been taking initiatives to bring foreign talents to fill this gap. Experts say that by 2030, there will be a shortage of up to 600,000 IT employees in Japan.

This means that if you're looking for a job in IT and you want to work in Japan, this is the perfect time to do so. But first, you need to learn some of the names in the industry.

What IT companies are there in Japan?

IT companies in Japan fall under two categories: product-based and service-based. Their differences can help you figure out which company to work for and how they affect you as a potential employee.

A product-based company develops products under their own brand for release to consumers. In IT, products are usually not tangible—they can be apps, websites, or programs.

Take Google for example: they’re best known for web products like their search engine, email (Gmail), and navigation tools (Google Maps), among many others. Job requirements vary per company, but generally, these companies look for an applicant’s IT skills in things like programming.

Service-based companies have clients to whom they offer their expertise and skills to, in order to fulfill requirements. Possible services are consulting, cybersecurity, and tech support, to name just a few. Jobs in these companies tend to need good communication skills to interact with clients.

A company can also offer both. For example NEC in Japan sells their own brand of computers but also has services like cybersecurity. In cases like this, it’ll depend on what job you’ll do for the company, but it’ll be an advantage to have skills all-around.

In 2019, Nikkei and Rakuten held a survey for the 2020 batch of graduating students of Japan, and they ranked IT companies based on how students liked certain aspects such as the appeal of the company, jobs within the company, and employment systems.

The top 10 most popular IT companies in Japan according to the survey are listed below. Out of the ten, three of them have origins abroad (Google, Yahoo! and Accenture) while the rest are homegrown companies that expanded from Japan.

1. NTT Data (NTT データ)

2. Rakuten (楽天)

3. Fujitsu (富士通)

4. Google


6. Yahoo!

7. CTC (伊藤忠テクノソリューションズ)

8. Accenture

9. Line

10. Hitachi (日立製作所)

These companies can help you get familiarized with the big IT names in Japan, however, they are just a small percentage of those you can apply for. You can view the full list of companies in the 2019 rankings here or you can view IT companies listed in Japanese through the job-hunting site, Rikunabi, here.

What’s the average salary in IT in Japan?

Now let’s take a look at the average salaries you can expect by working in IT.

According to a 2019 survey of average salaries, employees in the IT industry received the highest yearly average annual salary in Japan.

Below is a chart with the average starting salary for fresh graduates for the Top 10 IT companies listed previously and how they compare to the average starting salary for university graduates in Japan.

Of course, it all depends on the company you’re applying for—your role and the size of the company also play in as factors. During your application, always confirm information through the company itself.

Keep in mind that the salary should not be your sole determining factor in choosing a company—it's good to assess your skills and personality to see if you're a good fit for the company.