Do engineers need to be proficient in English? If you work in Japan, you don’t need it, do you? Some people think so.
Indeed, English is not very necessary in daily work. However, as globalization advances, there are more and more situations where English skills are required in order to broaden the antenna for the latest technology and trends.
Here, we will introduce how much English proficiency is required for engineers, along with the benefits of acquiring it.
Do Engineers Need English?
Since information on the latest technology is often disseminated in English, it is indeed better for engineers to have English proficiency. However, not all engineers are required to have the same level of English proficiency.
The level of English proficiency required varies on a case-by-case basis, depending on the company you belong to, the way you work, and the career path you are aiming for. Let’s take a look at it separately, specifically if you belong to a company and if you’re a freelancer.
If you belong to a company
If you belong to a company and work in Japan, basically, in most cases, a high level of English is not required. The main language of communication at work is Japanese, and it is said that many people find it sufficient to have the latest information translated into Japanese in time.
However, as globalization progresses, many companies are doing more business overseas. If you have English ability, you will not only be able to differentiate your presence from others, but you will also have more opportunities to get great opportunities in overseas projects. At the very least, you should be able to have a simple conversation and read documents. If you can exchange emails in English, your chances will increase.
English is probably more important for freelancers than for people who work for companies. Since transactions are directly exchanged, English is essential for overseas business. If you can speak English, you will be able to do business with companies not only in Japan but also overseas, which will increase the chances of getting more projects and a more stable income.
If you are a freelancer, you should be able to read and write at a level that allows you to participate in discussions in overseas forums about your language and technology and acquire the latest information and technology. In addition, you will need business-level conversational skills to prepare presentation materials in English for clients, make presentations, and negotiate terms.
English is an important skill for freelancers as a weapon to expand their business fields.
Advantages of engineers having English proficiency
There are three major benefits for engineers to acquire English proficiency.
・Be able to read English documents
– Possibility of better treatment
– Opportunities to work abroad
Let’s take a closer look at how they are related and what benefits each element has.
Be able to read English literature
In the field of IT technology, most of the latest technology is published in English. English is used so much that even Japanese technology is announced in both Japanese and English at the same time. It is no exaggeration to say that the official language in the IT field is English. This is because Internet technology and computer development originated in the English-speaking world, and the language used in the system is based on English.
Another factor is that many of the leading companies in the IT field are English-speaking companies, and the company’s official language is English. Not only are many documents written in English, but many programming language user forums have discussions in English. If you have enough reading comprehension to read and understand the contents of these forums and English literature, you can quickly update your knowledge and improve your skills.
If you quickly incorporate the latest technology trends and improve your skills, you will be able to differentiate yourself from other engineers and increase your human resource value.
could be treated better
English proficiency increases the speed of incorporating the latest technical information and speeds up skill improvement. In addition, the wealth of knowledge and the ability to handle business in English are highly evaluated as human resource value. Therefore, compared to engineers with the same level of experience, they often have a positive impact in terms of the range of projects they are entrusted with, their treatment, and their salaries.
In addition, as globalization expands the scope of work and the number of clients, it is a privilege for engineers with high English proficiency that the conditions for choosing a job are not limited to domestic ones. If you have English skills, you can participate in overseas projects, so you can get more opportunities.
More opportunities to work abroad
If you have business-level English, you can work abroad. As introduced in the previous section, many of the top companies in the IT industry, including GAFA, are foreign-affiliated and have multiple overseas bases. In addition, compared to Japan, the number of engineer job openings around the world is incomparably greater, and the types and benefits are wide-ranging. This variety of options is very attractive when you want to build your ideal career.
Also, English proficiency has a big impact when changing jobs. For example, many foreign-affiliated companies require English proficiency, such as a TOEIC score, as a hiring condition, even if they work in Japan. Behind this is not only the fact that English is used in the company’s official language and internal documents but also the possibility that work will occur at overseas bases.
To acquire the English skills necessary for engineers
There are four ways to acquire the English skills necessary for engineers. It can be broadly divided into the direct method of “learning and mastering it on the spot” and the indirect method of “learning grammar and vocabulary in Japanese and then practicing”.
Focus on grammar
By training your reading skills, you will be able to read and understand documents and documents quickly. It is also useful for exchanging emails in English and creating presentation materials. Since it is difficult to read technical information from overseas without good grammar skills, you can also choose to focus on improving your grammar and vocabulary first.
Also, once you have mastered your grammar and vocabulary, it is recommended that you take TOEIC measures to achieve the scores required by foreign-affiliated companies. Not only do you know your current overall English proficiency, but by raising your score, you can write it on your resume, so you can show off your English proficiency.
Read overseas IT technology sites every day
In addition to improving your English reading comprehension, you can learn the latest IT technology information while improving your English technical and technical terms and writing skills. When you write business documents in English, you can learn more efficiently by reading while being conscious of what style you should use.
Listening makes use of movies, dramas, etc.
As for listening, you can enjoy learning English for daily conversations by using foreign movies and dramas. Once you’ve learned to listen, I recommend listening to free podcasts, online videos, and lectures. By focusing on tech stuff, it is possible to improve your listening skills along with your technical knowledge.
move to a foreign company
If you have the basic English skills required by foreign-affiliated companies to meet the requirements for joining the company, you can get used to working in English and learn it faster if you use it every day and learn it on the job.
The most efficient way to learn a language is to actually use it. Having opportunities to speak English on a daily basis will greatly improve your English skills.
In the future, English ability is essential for engineers!
Now that globalization has progressed and the Japanese IT industry has opened up to the rest of the world, do you understand that English proficiency is important for future engineers? You don’t have to give up just because you’re not confident in your English ability. You can improve your language skills even after you become an adult by studying efficiently with a goal in mind. If you decide to study, you have plenty of time even now. Improve your career by improving your English.
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