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What level of Japanese is required to find engineer jobs in Japan?

2024年04月28日 公開

執筆・監修:村元康太郎
JOBs Japan株式会社 代表。大手ソフトウェア開発企業の営業・マーケティング部門にて4年間従事した後、日本語オンラインスクールやIT JOBs in Japanを創業。
1000人以上の外国人に対して日本語学習サポートや、世界15カ国出身・100人以上のITエンジニアの転職支援など豊富な実績を持つ。

First of all, what level of Japanese is required to do some work in Japan? Many people who want to live or work in Japan have this question in mind.

What level of Japanese is required for each job?

N5 is the level at which you can understand basic Japanese to some extent, while N1 is the level at which you can understand Japanese used in a wide range of situations. In addition, in order to work as an employee at a typical Japanese company, it is said that at least the “N2” level is required.

Let’s take a look at what job options are available at each level.

  • N5-N4 level

This is a level that you can have daily conversations. At this level, your communication skills, practical skills, and understanding Japanese habit and discipline will be tested more than your language certification. It depends on the job, but the ability to adapt to the Japanese work environment and the desire to continue learning the language are also important. Full-time employment is difficult, and even part-time employment is often very limited, most of jobs doesn’t require speaking Japanese.

・Factory staff・English teacher ・Cleaning staff・Agricultural staff・Convenience store staff・Izakaya/Restaurant kitchen staff・Construction/construction staff

  • N3 level

Generally speaking, this level is said to be necessary for a wide range of part-time jobs, including customer service. Full-time employment is difficult, and even contract employment is often very limited.

It’s also rewarding because you get to communicate with other staff and interact directly with customers.

・Pub/restaurant hall staff・Convenience store/supermarket clerk・Travel guide for Japanese people

  • N2-N1 level

Once you reach the N2 level or above, if you have specific skills and experience, many Japanese companies will give job offer as a full-time employee. “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” is widely known as Working VISA. Most of employee work for Japanese company as full time, they have this type of VISA. If you want to live a long and stable life in Japan, you should definitely aim for this level.

・Including engineering positions, most of office work position require N2-N1.

In this way, the higher your Japanese level, the more likely you are to get a job with a stable working environment and good conditions.

【What is the level of Japanese at which you can advance your career?】

As we mentioned above, most Japanese companies require a minimum of N2 on the JLPT. Also, conversation skill level is required to be at least 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10) according to our conversational Japanese assessment method below.

Once you start working, you may find it difficult to find time to study Japanese because you are so busy with your daily tasks. Therefore, if you want to come and work in Japan, we recommend that you hone your Japanese language skills as much as possible while you are still in your home country.

Let me show job market in Japan for IT industry(software engineer) as one of the example. This shows the relation of job opportunities with experience and Japanese ability. If Japanese level is lower than JLPT N3 level, only 10 % of demands, otherwise, if JLPT N2-N1 level, there are for total 90% of demands and higher salary opportunities.

These 3 students have been studying with us at Nihongo online school. They improved Japanese skills, so got more opportunity for the next step. And successfully got new better job!

Successfully changed jobs from English teacher to engineer at an IT company

From Philippines, Full-stack engineer, joined DX company in Yokohama.

“Improved communication in Japanese, and was able to change job with desired annual salary.”

Annual salary before job change(English teacher at school): 3 million yen
Annual salary after changing jobs for software engineer(Tech company in Tokyo): 4.5 million yen

Passing the N2 exam increased the number of companies I applied to, and increased my annual salary】

From myanmar, Back-end engineer, joined DX company in Tokyo.

“I was looking for an engineering job in Osaka, but was limited in where I could apply due to my JLPT being N3.”
Outcome after taking the course: “Passed N2 and was able to find a job with the salary he was looking for after learning Business Japanese.”

Annual salary before job change: NA
Annual salary after changing jobs: 5.1 million yen

【Increased interview passing rate due to improved conversation skills, and got a new job with a higher salary

From France, cloud infrastructure engineer, joined Infrastructure company in Osaka.

Issues before taking this course:”I had passed JLPT N2, but was not able to get a job offer because I could not communicate well at the Japanese interview.”
Outcome after taking the course:”Improved conversational ability, increased interview pass rate, changed job to an IT company, and increased annual salary.”

Annual salary before job change: 4.5 million yen
Annual salary after changing jobs: 5.1 million yen

There is no such thing as studying Japanese too much. Learning Japanese is an investment in your future that will definitely give you a return. Let’s all work together to achieve your goals!

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