My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

Post-University Life

Now before I go any further, I think I should probably say that I never really considered teaching English as a career option for myself, and not just teaching English, but teaching it as a second language. What I was interested in was Japan! It was always my dream to visit and experience this majestic country and culture in all its glory since I first uncovered its existence as a curious first grader during reading time at my school library.

I pursued the study of its culture, language, literature, and almost everything about Japan all the way up to my university days. Many times along the way, there were numerous opportunities to visit Japan, but they were eventually denied to me due to uncontrollable factors. These events were truly upsetting letdowns for me, but it only made my resolve stronger. I was determined to — someday & somehow — find my way to Japan.

After graduating, I managed to discover online that there were many job opportunities for teaching English.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 16.13.44.png

“That’s it!” I thought — that’s how I’ll get to Japan. The job description read: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). A, L, T… hm sounds interesting. For many recent college graduates who have their prospects on working in Japan, this position would probably be the first they hear of in regards to getting a job, and it’s also a position considered the most easiest to land.

Living in Orange County with a degree in East Asian Cultures and a minor in Japanese, there weren’t exactly many jobs jumping out to me screaming they needed me. Additionally, with my looming student loan payments creeping up from deferment, I really needed a job. It was harsh times. My part-time gig as a barista wasn’t cutting it, so an ALT position didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

The barebones requirements to be an ALT are fairly straightforward: have a bachelor’s degree + come from an English-speaking country. *okay, check. and check!* In addition to those, I also got me a TEFL/TESL certification as well to give my qualifications an added edge.

Soon after, I applied to ECC, GABA, Berlitz, and a couple other companies if I remember correctly, but I ended up getting a reply and interview with Interac first. Of all the ALT companies on the web, Interac seemed to be the most established, and although I did read negative reviews of the company, I didn’t think much of it at the time because almost every company and English conversation school had its share of negative reviews, so it didn’t really matter if I went with Interac, ECC, or some other company. I was probably just more excited at the fact that I was finally inching closer to my dream and seeing it become a reality.

I did what I had to do to make it happen: I submitted my application, did a phone screening, and before I knew it I had myself an interview.

The interview wasn’t too bad, and it was everything I expected from a proper interview. All the details of how the interview would be conducted were all outlined in a pre-interview email anyway, so there were no surprises here.

Two weeks after my interview, I received an email in my inbox.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 16.36.19.png
The beginning of a new life

This job offer marked two very important milestones for me since my graduation, one being that it was my first full-time job offer, and two, it marked the achievement of my life-long dream of going to Japan. I finally did it!


Jump to a Section

  1. Oh So Bittersweet
  2. Post-University Life
  3. Sapporo: My Second New Home
  4. My ALT Experience
  5. Living On The Poverty Line
  6. #NotAboutThatLife Part One
  7. #NotAboutThatLife Part Deux
  8. Learn To Code The Hard Way
  9. Democratize Publishing Part One
  10. Democratize Publishing Part Deux
  11. Welcome To The Chaos

Posted by

Movement. Growth. Ambition. Everything Builds.

12 thoughts on “My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Paulo. Even though I knew the outcome I still held my breath a little there at the end, nervous for you! The GIFs were perfect too. Congrats on finding a career you love and on your beautiful family as well!

  2. I believe they’re always hiring. Lol. How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses? I’m planning to apply, and I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog. I think I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application.

    1. I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog.

      Thanks for stopping by! And I’m glad you were also able find something useful 🙂

      How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses?

      In total, give or take 3 years — a bit long, but this was on top of a full-time job, parenting, and not having any background in web development. And I literally dipped my hand into everything i.e. programming, digital marketing, design, etc.

      I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application

      Yeah, that would definitely help! If I were to look back on what I could have done to prepare more effectively, maybe I would’ve considered focusing more on CSS proficiency, WooCommerce, and making sure I know how to work & navigate the WordPress.com platform like the back of my hand 😄

      I’d be glad to answer any other questions, so feel free to shoot an email anytime: https://peaeb.blog/contact/

  3. What a journey! I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.
    I’m currently learning JavaScript with TreeHouse and Codecademy at the same time, using the second to practice rather than as the primary source of learning tool. I’ve also learned CSS, HTML and Python from Codecademy but I might need to practice and start working on some websites of my own, to experiment and stuff.
    While the degree I’m pursuing at university is not related to tech at all, I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

    1. I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.

      Nice, and best of luck! If you haven’t already, check out the Happiness Engineer blog:

      https://happinessengineer.blog/

      I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

      Absolutely. Being self-motivated to continuously learn is an invaluable quality to have. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually find that many opportunities start opening up for you 🙂

  4. Hey,
    This is the very first time, I read any post for word by word without any break. Most of the time, I read few sentences and just get the overview.

    But your post and the journey to Automatic keep me curious to read what will happen in the next line.
    It will really awesome.
    It also encouraging me to do my preparations for Automatic.

    Thank you for inspiring. 🙂

Leave a Reply