The IT Evolution in the Digital World

— By Paul Ermlich, Business Manager, ACS Japan

As an executive recruitment consultant for the IT industry in Japan and APAC since 2005, I have been a witness to the continued evolution of the recruitment environment, from both the client-requirement “demands” and the technically-inclined candidate “supply”. One of the many recent trends, has been company’s continued acceleration to provide digital solutions to their customers through more assorted touchpoints. As a representative for clients across a diverse landscape, a commonality of requirements has emerged.

While Big Data and Hadoop are still nascent buzzwords, the need for engineers with web-based application development skills and data analytics continues to grow. For example, front-end web-application software development skills, such as JavaScript, J2EE, HTML5, SOA, Spring, Hibernate, Apache, Tomcat, are compulsory.  Understanding of SDLC methodologies, including Agile and Scrum, is a real plus. As companies continue to seek the power to reach consumers, engineers and developers for mobile technologies (iOS, Android OS, Swift) have an advantage at their fingertips. And the ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana) for DevOps is a trophy worthy of mounting on the wall.

From a statistical analytics perspective, traditional software skills such as SAS, SPSS, R, are still the foundation. Some companies have mature systems in place to analyze the data, others do not. Clients are seeking to enhance their sophistication by hiring talented Data Scientists who love to work with numbers. True number-crunching junkies are in fact “business analysts” who relish the feeling of being able to advise sales and marketing teams on how to improve ROI. You are in demand if you are familiar with R-Square-oriented modeling, Bayesian approach, Propensity Scoring, Time-Series Analysis, etc.

The common thread? The strongest challenge here in the Japan market, is the ubiquitous need to also speak English (in addition to native or very strong “Nihon-go”) for both of these profiles. Not only will “Ei-go” be used in daily communication with your multi-national colleagues, but also used in reporting to line managers. Data analysts from overseas who are working in Japan, would also need enough Japanese languages skills (JLPT-N2 or higher) to communicate (face-to-face, and by email) with native-Japanese colleagues. “Gambatte!”