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Makinami

Study in Japan?

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Hi,

In near future I am to face a problem of choosing university. From it my question emerges: is it worth to study in Japan?

For now I'd really like to live and work (as an game engine programmer) in Japan even though I've never been there before. But for today I don't know Japanese too well so even if I'd be accepted almost certainly I'd have to struggle with language what would greatly decrease the amount of time that I could spend on learning all the details that no university can teach me. Maybe someone know the level of education, in terms of programming, in Japan or can even compare it to some other country (the best would be Poland, where I live, but I'm aware there might not be anyone that know how it is here).

I'm aware of that employers mainly pay attention to real skills and experience rather than a diploma, but the question still is whether it'd be better to jump into deep water or stay home and devote free time to develop skills on my own.

Thank you for any and all advice,

Yuki-chan

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1. is it worth to study in Japan?
2. For now I'd really like to live and work (as an game engine programmer) in Japan even though I've never been there before.
3. I don't know Japanese too well so even if I'd be accepted almost certainly I'd have to struggle with language


1. "Worth" is subjective. Since you say you want to work in Japan, then yes, it probably IS "worth it" (to YOU). Read FAQ 66.
2. Then you probably should study there. Read FAQ 48.
3. Then you should start studying it as soon as you possibly can!

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If you have no experience and don’t speak the language, your chances are essentially 0%.
Therefor you must focus on both at the same time.

So, is it worth it to study in Japan given that you must also study programming?

Well, here is the problem. Studying in Japan means studying Japanese, in Japan. Not programming.
There may be international schools that have fully English curriculums, but then why would you be in Japan just to study in English?
Unless you want to study in Japan just to be in Japan, but I am assuming you would be more serious about your language studies.


So if you do study in Japan for the purpose of learning Japanese, you will have to program on your own time outside of school (unless you found some kind of rare gem in which the school teaches Japanese but has a programming class in English).
That means you will walk away with a degree in Japanese, not programming.

That degree would later help you get a job teaching English, not game engine programming. Japan is strict on the credentials of the people it hires.


Or you could study programming in Japan and focus on Japanese language in your own spare time. This is possible, and you walk away with a degree in programming, which will be more useful to you.


Or you could study programming anywhere, and still learn Japanese in your own spare time.



I personally went the last route.
I majored in computer programming at a simple 2-year vocational college after dropping out of high school.
I studied Japanese in Thailand for 2 years before actually moving to Japan where I now work doing exactly what you want: game engine programming for a major game company in Tokyo.

Ultimately, you don’t need to be in Japan to learn Japanese or game programming. The only real reason is that you just want to be in Japan because you like Japan.
If you are truly goal-oriented, you would be better off saving your money on a cheaper education (good programmers are good because they program all the time, not because they went to good schools) and wisely using your spare time for Japanese lessons at a Japanese school (not online lessons, not books, not CD’s).

But in any case, you need to start on your Japanese lessons immediately.




Maybe someone know the level of education, in terms of programming, in Japan or can even compare it to some other country (the best would be Poland, where I live, but I'm aware there might not be anyone that know how it is here).?

I don’t know how it is in Poland, but it depends on the company where you want to work.
Small companies are everywhere, and the skill level is not so impressive, but you may have to put up with crazy bosses who get drunk and send belittling/threatening e-mails.
If you want to work for a medium-sized company a few of the employees there will be crap but not as many.
The high-end companies such as Square Enix are elitist. Using Square Enix as a specific example, they don’t actually care about your level of Japanese language, but you have to prove your skills are 99.9% higher than anyone else they can find (for their engine programmers; regular programmers are not required to be as strong).
Konami doesn’t have that strict of a requirement on skill level, but do require good Japanese.
Nintendo only recruits Japanese fresh graduates or exceptionally elite programmers. A friend of mine made an iPhone game that was #1 in the app store for a while and was only then able to get a job at Nintendo (he is Japanese).

Luckily, it is simply not possible to simply jump into game engine programming nor into a major company. No matter what, you have to start as a regular game programmer, and at a smaller or medium-sized company. You can work up from there as you become ready.


L. Spiro

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