Engineers Salary and Life in Japan – from PHP Study Meeting

Hello Asiajin readers,
I, Yusuke ANDO (aka yandod), was asked by Asiajin to write about my presentation on PHP developers’ and other software engineers’ salaries and communities at the 40th Monthly PHP Study Meeting Kanto (Tokyo and surrounding area) this month.

I referred to some surveys in my report[J].
Asial Inc. published a survey of Japanese PHP users[J], which is based on a questionnaire from the Japan PHP Conference (PHP is one of the most popular web languages in Japan).
The survey results show a breakdown of the attendees’ salaries.

Salary (in USD) # of answers Percent
less than $ 21,505 13 9.09%
less than $ 32,258 17 11.89%
less than $ 43,010 37 25.87%
less than $ 53,763 44 30.77%
less than $ 64,516 11 7.69%
less than $ 75,268 9 6.29%
less than $ 107,526 9 6.29%
more than $ 107,526 3 2.10%

As can be seen, quite a large portion of PHP engineers get paid under $54,446.
Workport published a newsletter[J], which shows that the number of PHP jobs is high, ranked 4th following Java, C and C++, with a higher demand than other web scripting languages (Perl, Ruby, Python).
The survey also shows average salary by programming language. The list of the top 10 does not include PHP.

Rank Language Avg. Salary (USD) Avg. Raise from Previous Year (USD)
1 C# $ 67,408 $ 6,193
2 C $ 59,172 $ 1,534
3 COBOL $ 57,967 $ 1,441
4 ASP.NET $ 61,000 $ 1,432
5 VisualBASIC.NET $ 65,236 $ 1,255
6 VBA $ 58,064 $ 1,088
7 RPG $ 56,537 $ 753
8 C++ $ 59,817 $ 725
9 JavaScript $ 57,935 $ 585
10 JAVA $ 59,892 $ 46

Average salary and pay raise, by programming language
The average salary of PHP engineers shown in the first survey is not as high as those using the above 10 languages, which I think many PHP programmers recognize.
There are many PHP community activities such as meetup events almost every week, which generate a lot of fun and enjoyment, but I think these software engineers also have to pursue financial rewards.
A video of my presentation is below.

(proofread by Sean O’Hagan)

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Yusuke Ando


  1. はじめまして、
    I think that the value of php dev is low because of the vast amount of free available turn-key php based code available on the internet. The popularity of it is also it’s weakness.
    On another hand, most php dev are self teaching php, that want to hone their skills by providing cheap services, thus depreciating the market.

  2. I’m familiar with the salaries of software developers in Tokyo and I usually see a big difference between what someone who works for a keiretsu earns and what someone from a gaishikei earns.
    The averages for C programmers still look a bit low, though I can imagine small business that pay minimum wage.

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