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Popular Programming Languages in Japan 2024


Being an IT engineer is a good prospect in Japan, especially for foreigners. Rapid technology development in Japan made programmers, engineers, and developers highly wanted. To cover the shortage of workers, they continue to hire international talents.

Knowing what programming language is in-demand will help you find a job in Japan. The required language skill will naturally depend on the company or specific project, but there are general trends in popular languages. While small companies tend to hire engineers who are competent in multiple languages, big companies like to hire specialists in one or two languages.

Today, we will talk about programming languages in Japan based on their popularity and their salaries.

High demand programming languages

To see what language is in demand, we should look at the job postings. This data was retrieved from Indeed Japan in December 2023 to see the recent trends in the job market.

1. Java

Number of postings: 24,344

Even though it first appeared in 1995, Java is still popular today. It didn’t get old. Instead, it got more established over decades. Java can be used to develop applications for servers, web browsers, mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. Moreover, Java also can be used to build IoT technology. With technology enhancement in household devices such as smart television and lighting, Java engineers are in demand.

2. C

Number of postings: 24,060

C is another old programming language, even called the mother of all languages. There are two reasons: most compilers are written in C, and most programming languages follow C syntax. Even though there are many recent languages, C is still widely used to develop systems and applications. It is also commonly used to program hardware products.

3. Python

Number of postings: 18,056

Python is a general-purpose language. It can be used for data analysis, machine learning, web development, automation, software testing, and prototyping. It is easy to learn that non-programmers start using it for everyday tasks. For example, accountants can use python for organizing finances.

4. PHP

Number of postings: 16,748

PHP is known as the most used language for web servers on the internet. Japan is no exception. Launched in 1994, almost 80% of websites on the internet use PHP to run their servers nowadays. It is chosen by many companies because of its efficiency, user-friendliness, and affordable price.

5. JavaScript

Number of postings: 15,699

JavaScript is a versatile, object-oriented scripting language primarily used for client-side web development. It enables dynamic content, event-driven interactions, and cross-platform functionality. JavaScript supports asynchronous programming and has a robust ecosystem of libraries and frameworks, including React and Angular. Its role extends to server-side development with technologies like Node.js, making it a key language for building modern, interactive web applications.

The ranking details, including 6th place and above, are as follows.

High paying programming languages

After seeing what languages are highly in-demand, you may be wondering about the salaries. Do the popular ones also give the best payment? Or the less popular ones that will bring you a bigger paycheck instead? Let’s look at the rankings based on the HRog survey (2020).

1. R

Average annual salary: JPY 4,747,434 – 8,311,375

R is specifically built for statistics and data science. It has the most comprehensive tools, making it the go-to choice for data analysis and machine learning. Therefore, many companies use R as the language for analyzing data and become a highly sought-after skill. However, R is known as one of the challenging programming languages to learn. It takes time to master the language, but it will be worth it in the long run.

2. Go

Average annual salary: JPY 4,634,384 – 7,915,711

Go, or Golang is a multipurpose programming language. It can be used for system and network programming, game development, data science, and more. In addition to its flexibility, Go is also very simple and easy to learn.

3. TypeScript

Average annual salary: JPY 4,605,892 – 7,875,122

TypeScript was released in 2012 to fix the flaws in JavaScript. So, TypeScript is JavaScript plus some more features. It is excellent for both front-end and back-end development. Compared to JavaScript, TypeScript makes the web development process much easier.

4. Scala

Average annual salary: JPY 4,598,970 – 7,988,019

Scala is an upgraded version of Java released in 2004. It is a multiparadigm programming language. Because of the similarity to Java, it is easy to pick up Scala if you have learned Java before. Just like its name, Scala has a great scalability feature. It can be used in data processing, web development, microservices, and many more.

5. Kotlin

Average annual salary: JPY 4,521,563 – 7,549,194

Kotlin is another Java alternative. At first, it was built specifically for Android development. However, it became popular. Since then, its usage has expanded to full-stack web development and data science. Kotlin has been the fastest-growing language over the last couple of years.

The ranking details, including 6th place and above, are as follows.


Based on the data, you can see that old established languages are still widely used in Japan. On the other hand, newer languages developed in the 2000s tend to have higher salaries.

So, we conclude:

Decent salary, many opportunities: Java, C, Python, PHP, Javascript

High salary, limited opportunity: R, Scala, TypeScript, Go, Kotlin

Balanced, middle to high salary and pretty high opportunity: JavaScript, Python, Ruby

These trends will continuously change when a new language is released or the old language stops improving. However, by seeing the trends you can predict what languages suit your career goals. In the end, companies in Japan are willing to pay you generously with enough experience and qualified skills. Even if you don’t have a specific language competency, they can hire you first and then give you time to learn.



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