Use the ITPEC Exam to work in Japan without a degree

ITPEC Exam: Be an Engineer in Japan Without a Degree

4月 27, 2022 0コメント

If you want to be an engineer in Japan, you’ll need a visa. The easiest one to get is the “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa (shortened to “Engineering” visa from now on). However, that visa requires an engineering degree. So, what can you do? Take the ITPEC exam!

In this article, we’ll walk you through 2 ways to get a visa without a degree, an overview of the ITPEC exam, where to take it, the 3 types of exams, and what opportunities you’ll get with your engineering visa.

The 2 Ways to Get a Visa Without a Degree

Technically, there are 2 ways to get around needing a degree. To clarify, one is more friendly to those younger in the field.

Option 1: Experience

If you don’t have a degree but have worked in the field for over 10 years, immigration will recognize this in place of your degree.

In other words, you need 10 years of related experience.

In order to use this option, you need proof that you worked as an engineer. The work can be from freelancing, part-timing, or even academic studies.

Option 2: ITPEC Exam

If you’re new to the field and don’t have 10 years of experience, taking the ITPEC exam will be easier for you.

What’s the ITPEC Exam?

The ITPEC exam is short for the Information Technology Professionals Examination Council Common Examination.

This is a 5-hour examination used to measure the skills and knowledge of IT engineers around Asia.

With this exam, the immigration bureau will recognize your IT knowledge and employability regardless of experience or academic background.

Where can I take the ITPEC exam?

ITPEC exams are held twice a year in multiple countries. However, only 6 countries hold exams in English that fulfill Japan’s requirements. They are:

  1. The Philippines
  2. Thailand
  3. Vietnam
  4. Myanmar
  5. Mongolia
  6. Bangladesh

In short, if you’re already in Japan, taking the exam in the Philippines will be easier.

The 3 Types of ITPEC Exams

From easiest to hardest, the 3 types of ITPEC exams are:

  1. Information Technology Passport Examination (“IP”)
  2. Fundamental Information Technology Engineer Examination (“FE”)
  3. Applied Information Technology Engineer Examination (“AP”)

1. Information Technology Passport Examination (“IP”)

According to the agency, the “IP” exam measures basic IT knowledge. This is the easiest test. As a result, this category is ideal for job-seekers, students, or employees who are looking to move into IT.

Target audience

  • Workers needing basic IT in work
  • Students preparing to job hunt

Knowledge and skill requirements

  • Basic knowledge in information security and network
  • Able to strategize in business and legal affairs
  • Problem solving through analysis
  • Proficiency with office tools

2. Fundamental Information Technology Engineer Examination (“FE”)

According to the agency, the “FE” exam measures whether you have the knowledge and skills to be an IT engineer. So, this category tests your ability to work with algorithms, networks, databases, information security, practical programming, and more.

Target audience

  • IT engineers
  • Students wanting to be IT engineers

Knowledge and skill requirements

  • Knowledge in system architecture design
  • Software programming and development
  • System operation and management
  • Able to analyze, evaluate, and plan

3. Applied Information Technology Engineer Examination (“AP”)

The “AP” exam is the hardest test of the three. To sum up, it measures whether you have the knowledge and skills to be an IT engineer and team leader. The “AP” exam tests the same skills as the “FE” exam. But, it also emphasizes your leadership and management skills. In essence, you need to merge your IT skills with management and leadership skills.

Target audience

  • IT engineer who wants to be a team leader

Knowledge and skill requirements

  • System design, development, operation and management
  • Able to analyze, evaluate, and plan business strategies
  • Experience scoping, budgeting, processing, and managing projects
  • Able to apply project management, architectural design, and information security skills

Job Opportunities With the ITPEC Exam

The ITPEC exam is modeled on the Information-Technology Engineers Examination (jōhō shori gijutsusha shiken, 情報処理技術者試験, or ITEE) in Japan. The ITEE is the most popular IT exam in Japan. In other words, the ITEE sets the standard for the Japanese IT industry.

With the ITPEC exam under your belt, you should have access to the same jobs as university-trained IT professionals. Therefore, immigration will waive the requirement for a degree and grant you the “Engineering” visa if you have the other required paperwork.

Engineering Visa Period of Stay

While we know using the ITPEC exams to highlight your IT qualifications is useful, we don’t know how it influences how long your engineering visa is valid. It can be as long as 5 years or as short as 3 months.

Insider tip: Every immigration bureau has its own set of requirements. That’s why we suggest you prepare extra in case your immigration officer prefers more documents. For example, you can print out examples of previous work and pass them in with your application package.

Have Your Visa?

If you have your visa, have a look at our job board. You can find your dream tech job in Japan today!

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