As an engineering graduate and IT Consultant myself I always had big dreams of my future in this growing industry.
In this article I will walk through some observations which may be useful for those starting out in the IT sector in Japan.
Specialist or Generalist
I would love to say that being a specialist in one specific area is a guaranteed path to a rewarding career in IT but the truth is that is only the case in a very limited number of situations and hence not a reliable approach.
One of the reasons for this is that every few weeks a new technology is taking traction superseding the old one and as such one will need to be learning continuously which is something that I will elaborate more on in the following section.
Different projects will expose you to different environments, be it programming languages, HW platforms, Databases and so on. As such it is important to be able to pick things up quickly and adapt to the situation.
In order to do so you will need a solid grounding in the following core skills:
- System Administration in Linux and Windows
- HW / Infrastructure Fundamentals
- Virtualisation (ex: VMWare Administration)
- Object Oriented Programming (ex: C++ or Java)
- Scripting (ex: Python or PHP)
- SQL (ex: PostgreSQL or ORACLE)
I must admit I am still not happy with my Linux skills and I often find myself using google especially for command syntax where I need to pipe outputs from one command into another. So this is still an improvement area for me.
Almost every IT project I have been involved with touched on all the above skills and having good working knowledge of each will give you the confidence to contribute productively and efficiently to the project delivery.
Skills vs Salary
We can summarise the income levels of various skills using the following visualisation.
The data is taken from Avinton’s job openings database of ~1600 Job openings in the IT Sector
As we can see there are skills like PHP and Oracle which are in high demand with others less so.
On average though there is no one skill that sticks out as a clear winner when it comes to top paid positions. The reason is that for jobs at this level the employer is looking for someone who is having a broad experience in more than one area and in many cases expects experience as a team lead, solution design etc.
Hence back to the point about specialist vs generalist – one needs to have a relatively broad skillset with the ability to focus.
Every few weeks we are seeing new frameworks and databases appear on the scene for addressing the ever so active big data storage and analytics applications. The data for these new technologies looks very different from that of traditional IT skills like Java and PHP. As such we won’t read so much into this at this stage but generally speaking the data scientist roles currently have the best paid jobs in IT. These positions typically require the following skill combination:
- Analytic SQL
- Deep Learning Algorithms
- Experience with at least one popular machine learning library
- A degree in statistical analyses or equivalent
- Hive on SPARK or Hadoop
A typical income for a data scientist is from 0.8 ~ 1.4 M JPY.
We expect to see a slow down in this as engineers attracted by the higher salaries re-train to fill this gap.
At Avinton our tailored mentoring enables young engineers to achieve their career goals. Those working in our internal projects have the opportunity to learn from experts in Infrastructure, Big Data Solution design, Analytics and Visualisation. For those who are smart, motivated and looking for a rewarding challenge – join us.