Becoming an international developer
Ryoko started her career as a typical Japanese office worker, but went through a dramatic career change, joining Givery as a Frontend Engineer where she speaks almost exclusively in English.
Ryoko was living the life of a typical Japanese office worker. Her days blurred together, with one day after the next seeming the same. At 27, she decided she’d had enough of the daily grind, and wanted to drastically change her life. So she moved to the Philippines to study English for two months, and then moved to Australia to continue her studies while working for another year.
After graduating, she searched for positions, and was attracted to Givery. She said, “I was looking for a position where I could use English and modern programming languages and libraries such as React and TypeScript. They matched the requirements very well, and also their products were attractive because they help engineers to grow their skills and career.”
I saw Givery has a really diverse environment, and a good atmosphere in the team.
In addition to Givery, other companies made her offers, and she was struggling to choose which position to take. So Givery suggested she do a two week paid trial with them, without needing to commit further, to help her make up her mind. She said, “I saw Givery has a really diverse environment, and a good atmosphere in the team. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to join them.”
One of the most fun aspects of Ryoko’s job is the communication she gets to do. She said, “When I develop a new feature, I create a mockup, and share it with the team. They will give me some feedback. I enjoy this because I feel like we are improving the product for the users together. Also, when we release features, we get some feedback from the customer support team. Sometimes they tell us the feature was really good, but other times they tell us the user has problems. Either way, it’s motivational for making improvements and new features.”
The managers always respect what I’m interested in and give me opportunities to take on new challenges. Since I joined Givery, I feel like I am learning something new and growing every day.
Ryoko’s manager recognized that she enjoyed communicating with others, and so offered her the opportunity to act as a product owner on a small project. Always up for trying new things, she agreed. She said, “It was a really good experience. I could develop the product from scratch, so I could choose the libraries and languages used. I created a mockup, and the design too. When I joined Givery, I didn’t have any design skills. At first, it was hard for me, but I started to like it. The managers always respect what I’m interested in and give me opportunities to take on new challenges. Since I joined Givery, I feel like I am learning something new and growing every day.”
In her position, Ryoko uses English almost exclusively. Despite speaking it as a second language, she hasn’t found this a challenge. She said, “I don’t have any big problems. If I’m in a meeting, and I don’t understand what they’re saying, I just ask them, and they can explain with simpler English. When we talk over text, I can understand almost everything, and if I don’t, I can just translate it.”
Ryoko suggests other Japanese developers looking to work in an international environment just go for it. She said, “If they like working in an international environment, they can just join. It’s fun. I really liked it, not only because I liked speaking English, I liked the atmosphere. When I speak Japanese, I only use keigo and am always aware of the hierarchy, but when I speak English, there is no keigo. It’s more casual.”