Hello, I'm Ha Anh Ngo
Product Line Manager
Master in Engineering,
English, Japanese, Vietnamese
Ha Anh Ngo
My name is Ha Anh Ngo, I am from Vietnam and I graduated with a Master’s degree in Engineering from Shizuoka University. Currently, I am working in Fujitsu and managing technical support and product life cycle in the telecommunication field.
As to why I came to Japan, the first and most important reason is that I was offered a full scholarship with additional stipends for living expenses from my university. The second reason is that I was very interested in Japanese technology as well as its culture.
What Did You Do During College?
Most Memorable Thing I Did During College
In terms of academic activities, the most memorable experience was when I submitted a research paper and it got accepted to the EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) conference. That is one of the top-level scientific conferences, so I went to D.C. for my presentation. I think it was certainly one of the proudest things for me during my time in college.
As for club activities, I joined a club called ESS (English Speaking Society). During my second year in college, my Japanese senpai offered me the position of Club President. It was quite a surprise for me because at that time I was not that good at Japanese, but I thought “Why not?”, and accepted the challenge with the help and support from my teammates to run the club for one year. After serving as the President in my second year, I became the Club Advisor in my third year of college.
What I wish I had done during college
In my university, we had some exchange programs for three or four months to go to some overseas universities. However, we had to pay for that. Actually I really wanted to join that program but it was very expensive, the cost of the program alone was half a million yen plus the living expenses. In total it would cost me around 800 to 1 million yen for three months going abroad. At that time I decided to save money to study for a Master so I didn’t join that program even though I really wanted to. Now I think that if I had spent more time doing part-time jobs, tried to save more money, or taken more risks, it would have been a really great experience for me, but I missed that chance.
What Career Advice Would You Recommend Job -Hunters?
A Job = Business Deal
I think some people don't seem to understand the true meaning of looking for a job. For me, a job is like a business deal - you offer what you have and then the company, the other side, will look at the offer and decide whether they need it or not. For me, I’m a foreigner, I’m from Vietnam, so I have some criteria or conditions when looking for a company. For example, the company must be working with foreign countries, the company must have some kind of relationships with Vietnam, and the company is working in the engineering field. The reason why is that based on the three beneficial skills I just mentioned, if they’re working with a foreign country, they need English, if the company has a relationship with Vietnam I can use my background to deal with Vietnamese people, and if the company is in the engineering field, then I can use my background studying engineering in my university. In short, you have to match your conditions, what you have with what they need.
Avoid Any Mismatch
I think for many young graduates, the most common mistake is that: They don’t really see what the companies need, and they don’t really understand what they have. For example, many students from different fields look at IT and think “IT is such a hot industry right now, I should look into IT jobs” but they don’t have any IT skill sets, and they don’t have the foreign languages the IT companies need. Some other cases are when they want to work for a Japanese company but they can’t even speak Japanese, or they want to work for a foreign company because foreign companies in Japan offer much higher salaries, but they are not even good at English. So there we have a mismatch, it’s quite common in Japan, not only for foreign students but also for Japanese students.
What are the Benificial Skills Needed To Work in Japan?
Japanese Language Proficiency
The most important skill is the Japanese language. It seems obvious, but if you decide to live in Japan, you have to be able to communicate with Japanese people. The Japanese language is not just a tool, but also the key to understanding what people have in mind. Just my opinion, but if you say you understand the Japanese people but you don’t speak the language, then you're a liar. It’s just my opinion, but Japanese is very important.
Master Other Languages
Knowing other foreign languages, like English or Chinese, is also important. Most of the Japanese people don't expect you to speak Japanese at a native level - you can never be as good as Japanese people in Japanese. However, they require people to be good in other foreign languages. For example, of course, English because most of their customers are either in America or Europe and maybe Chinese or Korean. Even being able to speak Vietnamese can be very good because Vietnam has a good relationship with Japan recently.
The third one is what you learn from your Major. It’s obvious, but you need to have some specific skills, not just languages because you are not a translator, you need to work as a specialist.