The 2021 International Developers in Japan results are live!

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Paul McMahon

Founder of TokyoDev

In November 2021, I conducted a survey of international developers living in Japan. The results are now live, please check them out!

With 435 people responding, I had about 20% more responses than 2020’s survey. While in absolute terms this may not be a huge number, given the relatively niche audience I’m targetting, I’m happy with the results.

International developer salaries are rising in Japan

For almost all of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan’s border has been closed to new residents. From my personal observations, this has made international developers already in Japan be in high demand. Among respondents of this year’s survey, the median salary was ¥8.5 million, up ¥1 million from the previous year’s survey. While there could be other factors to explain this increase, it seemed to be fairly consistent across all levels of experience, so I think the increased competition for developers here could in part explain this finding.

Remote work continues to be the norm

With 68% of respondents working fully remotely, and an additional 20% working remotely at least 3 days per week, at least among international developers in Japan, remote work was very much the norm in 2021. Interestingly, respondents who worked fully remotely were better paid: they had a median salary of ¥9.5 million, compared to ¥6.5 million for those who went into the office at least one day a week.

Back-end pays better than front-end or full-stack

Back-end developers had a median salary that was ¥1.5 million more than front-end or full-stack roles. This was despite all roles having a similar average level of experience.

Bootcamp grads earned similar salaries to CS grads

When looking at salaries by experience and educational background, there wasn’t an appreciable difference in salary between coding bootcamp grads and those with a formal education, such as having obtained a computer science degree.

Using English at your job pays better than using Japanese

Respondents who used English more often were better paid, with those using it frequently having a median salary of ¥8.5 million compared to a median salary of ¥6.0 million for those who said they never used it.

Job satisfaction jumps at a salary of ¥8 million

Respondents with an annual salary under ¥8 million had a median job satisfaction of 7 out of 10, compared to 8 out of 10 for those earning more than that.

And much more…

There’s much more to be seen in the full survey results, so please take a look at them.

More about the author

Photo of Paul McMahon

Paul McMahon

Founder of TokyoDev

Paul is a Canadian software developer who has been living in Japan since 2006. Since 2011 he’s been helping other developers start and grow their careers in Japan through TokyoDev.

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