What is a Foreign Engineer|An explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of working for a foreign company, necessary skills and qualifications, and tips for working for a foreign company


  • Career Advice

The appeal of working for a foreign company for engineers is the opportunity to be involved in international projects and to hone cutting-edge technical skills. However, some may ask the following questions

  • What are the duties of an engineer working for a foreign company?
  • What are the advantages of working for a foreign company?
  • What skills do foreign engineers need?

This article discusses the role of a gaishikei engineer, job duties, advantages and disadvantages, required skills and qualifications, and how to work effectively. For engineers seeking a global career, cross-cultural communication skills and adaptability to teamwork are critical to success.

What is a foreign engineer?

In this section, we will explain in detail what a foreign engineer is, their role, what they do, and their participation in international projects.

Role of an Engineer in a Foreign Company

A foreign-affiliated engineer is an IT engineer who works for a company owned or operated by a foreign company. They not only solve technical problems, but also provide technical support for business growth and innovation.

Specifically, they develop software, implement and manage systems, analyze data, and ensure network security.

Benefits of Foreign Engineers

Becoming a foreign engineer offers many advantages.

Improved technical skills

Engineers working for foreign-affiliated companies have ample opportunities to be exposed to the latest technologies. This is because of the international projects and diverse technology base, which gives them access to the latest technologies and innovations from around the world. This allows you to effectively acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills. Because you can learn about a variety of technologies and methods from around the world, your technical skills will be greatly enhanced. In addition, engineers can acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills by working on international projects. Specifically, you will deepen your knowledge of the latest programming techniques, data science, cloud computing, cyber security, and agile methods. In addition, you will develop intercultural communication skills by participating in international projects. This allows you to acquire a high level of technical skills according to global standards, deepening your expertise and increasing your market value.

Salaries tend to be higher and benefits more generous than in domestic companies

Foreign companies often offer higher salaries than Japanese companies as a strategy to attract talented engineers in highly competitive technical fields. According to “Trends of IT Human Resources in Japan” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the average annual salary of a Japanese IT worker in his/her 20s is 4.13 million yen, while the average annual salary of a foreign IT worker in the same age group in the US is 10.23 million yen, more than double the salary level of a Japanese company.


(Reference: Trends of IT Human Resources in Japan|Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)

In addition, foreign-affiliated firms typically offer substantial benefits packages to increase employee motivation and satisfaction. For example, stock options and performance-based bonus programs, flexible working conditions, and extensive leave policies help employees achieve a good work-life balance.


Microsoft has a “Vege to GO” vegetable take-out system that sells carefully selected fruits and vegetables at low prices. Once a month, employees can receive a massage in the company's health care room. In addition, all meals are free at Google, and a dedicated chef provides a buffet of food.

Gain International Experience and Networking

Engineers working for foreign companies gain valuable skills to thrive in an international business environment by participating in projects around the world and working with team members and clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Specifically, this includes the ability to communicate cross-culturally, experience working with multinational teams, international project management experience, and an understanding of global markets. This allows engineers to develop a global perspective and cross-cultural communication skills.

Demerits of Foreign Engineers

It is not all advantages of becoming a foreign engineer. Here are some of the disadvantages of becoming a foreign engineer.

Lack of communication and efficiency due to language barriers

Foreign-affiliated companies often use English as the primary language of business, which can be a challenge for native Japanese-speaking engineers. Because technical discussions, documentation, and communication in meetings are conducted in English, without sufficient English proficiency, it can be difficult to share information accurately, which can lead to misunderstandings and delays in work. Sufficient English proficiency” for working at a foreign company is a level at which one can smoothly engage in daily conversation and e-mail exchanges as well as specialized technical discussions and presentations. Generally, a TOEIC score of 800 or higher is required, and fluent business communication is required.
To address these challenges, it is important for engineers to be proactive in language learning and to have a support system within the team. Language barriers can be insurmountable, but overcoming them can greatly improve an engineer's ability to communicate and adapt internationally.

Employment stability

Foreign-owned companies can experience sudden restructuring or closure of departments due to economic reasons or strategic reorganization. These situations can create uncertainty in an engineer's workplace stability and future career plans.

In addition, in foreign-owned companies, the headquarters often decides to change business policies, and this information may not be fully communicated to local employees. As a result, local employees may have to deal with unexpected situations.
Individual adaptability, such as diversifying careers, expanding skill sets, and enhancing networking, is important in dealing with such instability. For example, diversifying one's career through new projects, enriching one's skill set by learning through online courses, and enhancing networking by attending industry events. By implementing these strategies, you can increase your adaptability to change. While employment instability is a challenge, it is also an opportunity for engineers to develop flexibility and the ability to adapt to change.

Outcome-Based Pressure

Foreign-affiliated companies tend to have a strong performance-based culture, where individual performance is directly linked to salary and promotion. While this provides high motivation and opportunities for self-fulfillment, it can also create a sense of constant pressure to achieve goals. Especially in an environment where results are strongly demanded in a short period of time, there is a risk of excessive stress and work-life imbalance.
While performance-based pressures provide opportunities for personal growth, they can also act as an emotional burden and should be considered in light of individual values and career goals.

Skills and qualifications required for a career change to a foreign engineering position

The following is a list of skills and qualifications required for a career change to a foreign engineering position.

Programming languages (e.g. Java, Python, C++)

One of the skills required to become a foreign-capital engineer is knowledge of programming languages. Java, Python, and C++, for example, are widely used in software development and system design. Python is popular for its versatility and easy-to-understand syntax for beginners.
C++ is used in performance-intensive systems and application development. By learning these languages, foreign engineers can work on a wide variety of projects and expand their career options.

Knowledge of system development and network administration

Knowledge of systems development and network administration is an essential skill for foreign engineers. System development requires the ability to understand the entire process of software design, coding, testing, and maintenance, and to build efficient and effective systems.

Knowledge of network administration, on the other hand, is essential for the smooth functioning of a company's information systems and includes skills in network design, implementation, monitoring, and troubleshooting. With this knowledge, engineers can play an important role in ensuring system stability and security and protecting corporate information assets.

To acquire knowledge of system development and network administration, it is effective to take related courses on online education platforms, participate in actual development projects, read specialized books, and obtain related certifications.

Certifications (e.g., PMP, Cisco certification)

For foreign engineers, certifications are important indicators of expertise and credibility. For example, the Project Management Professional (PMP) is an internationally recognized certification that demonstrates project management skills and knowledge. It demonstrates the ability to effectively manage the process of planning, executing, monitoring, and closing projects.

The Cisco certification also recognizes knowledge and skills in networking technologies and is especially valuable for engineers involved in network design and management. By obtaining these certifications, engineers can enhance their expertise and expand their career opportunities.

Tips for working for a foreign company

Here are some tips on how to work in a foreign company.

Understand the values and communication styles of different cultures

Cross-cultural communication skills are extremely important when working for a foreign company. This refers to the ability to effectively work with and understand people from different cultural backgrounds. Understanding and respecting the values and communication styles of different cultures can prevent misunderstandings and strengthen teamwork.

In addition, cross-cultural communication skills are the foundation for embracing new perspectives, generating new ideas and viewpoints, and using them to solve problems. As a result, it is possible to view problems from multiple perspectives and find new solutions. Because diversity is an advantage in a foreign company, mastering cross-cultural communication is directly related to success in the workplace and personal growth. This is because the ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds is essential to avoid misunderstandings, improve team collaboration, and facilitate projects.

In addition, it may be beneficial to attend trainings and seminars to improve your intercultural communication skills. Reading books on different cultures and watching relevant films and documentaries can also help you understand different perspectives and values.

Teamwork and Adapting to Diversity

Teamwork and adapting to diversity are important when working for a foreign company. In these companies, people from different cultural backgrounds work together and must respect and share different perspectives and ideas.

Communication and collaboration skills are essential for effective teamwork. It is important to understand your role within the team and be willing to work together while appreciating each other's differences. Learning from and inspiring each other from different cultures improves creativity and problem-solving skills. This is because new perspectives and ideas gained from different cultural backgrounds can lead to new solutions that go beyond traditional thinking patterns and approaches. Stimulation among different cultures also provides an opportunity to share unique solutions and creative ideas from each culture and to learn from each other. This improves not only individual abilities, but also the creativity and problem-solving skills of the team as a whole.


A career as an engineer in a foreign company offers many challenges and opportunities. Participation in international projects and access to advanced technologies are major attractions to hone your professional skills and increase your competitiveness in the global marketplace. However, there are also various challenges such as cross-cultural communication and language barriers. Overcoming these and working effectively will require continuous learning and adaptation. Ultimately, your experience in a foreign company may bring unique value and growth in your career.

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