In-Demand Programming Skills in Japan 2020

In-Demand Programming Skills in Japan 2020

Which programming languages will get you good jobs in 2020?
The demand for IT specialists and programmers is high in Japan, but it isn’t always easy to find information on which skills Japanese companies are looking for.

That’s why this article shows you the most sought-after programming languages in Japan by income and demand.

The Demand

According to a study on which programming languages are being used at companies in Japan, the most widespread programming skills were C/C++ and JavaScript.

Still fairly popular and regularly employed by companies are C#, Java, Python, HTML/CSS, and VisualBasic. Less commonly used are languages like Ruby, COBOL, and Perl. At the bottom of the popularity list are Go, Scala, and Kotlin. While not used (yet) by most companies these programming skills fetch the highest salaries, as we will see in a bit.

Noticeable about the demand is that it is highest for well-established, ‘older’ programming languages, while the employment of more recent languages appears to be on the slow side, with the main exception being Python.

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The Income

A high demand alone does not mean much if it doesn’t also pay well. That’s why to get the full picture here are the best programming languages by (conservatively estimated) income information.

# PL Income (avg) Income (max) Jobs ads
1. Go 6M Yen 16M Yen 2,202
2. Scala 6M Yen 13M Yen 1,489
3. Python 5.75M Yen 15M Yen 9,344
4. Kotlin 5.75M Yen 12M Yen 961
5. Type Script 5.75M Yen 12M Yen 667
6. R 5.75M Yen 10M Yen 220
7. Ruby 5.5M Yen 10M Yen 11,676
8. Swift 5.5M Yen 12M Yen 3,353
9. Perl 5.25M Yen 12M Yen 4,509
10. C 5.25M Yen 10M Yen 9.347

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So far so good.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at these averages is that this might not be the average income for your age group and thus only gives a rough orientation.

For many companies in Japan, aside from the skills, the employee’s age remains a factor when deciding salaries.

So, as 25-something getting paid the big bucks is not impossible but quite unlikely unless you have a unique skill set to bring to the table.

Another rule of thumb: The bigger the company, the higher is your earning potential.

Average income of engineers in Japan by gender.


The data suggest that if you have the luxury of doing so, studying a new programming language will, in the long run, be better than learning a popular one.

At first, it might be easier to get a job with a well-established language as there are more job offers but a high demand doesn’t always mean a high salary.

Java, currently the programming language with the highest number of job ads (over 30% of all programming language-specific job ads), didn’t even make the Top 10 of the income ranking.

Salaries for ‘older’ programming languages tend to drop over time.
And even widely used languages are no exception.

Can you earn a good income with established programming languages?
Yes, absolutely! You will still earn more than an average income just by falling into the “engineering” job category.

Looking at long-term prospects though, new programming languages don’t only offer a better payout, chances are they can also be used for longer.

While these numbers can be used as valuable pointers, the choice of something you enjoy working on is up to you. After all, Japan has many companies. Active in a wide variety of fields what they have in common is their dire need for people that know how to code. The market is all in favor of the applicants.

Looking for work?

If you’re currently living in Japan or another part of Asia, you can sign up for Diversity HR, an IT job placement service from Zenken Corporation. After entering your details and requirements, you’ll receive job offers for positions that match your profile. Registration is free, so give it a try! The button below will take you to the entry form. For more info, check out our guide on how to use the service.

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After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.