Caree Fly(CF): Hello! Mr. Armando, what’s your story? How you became an Engineer? What inspired you to choose programming?
Mr. Armando(A) : I am from Puerto Rico. I did my studies there. I joined Puerto Rico university as a general student & took computer science only as a subject. In those computer programming classes, something sparked and I decided to do Computer engineerings as my mains. I am in love with programming now.
CF: After graduation, you had so many places to go, as in America & other places? Why did you decide to work in Japan?
A : After my graduation, the whole new world of opportunities had opened up for me. But I decided to come to Japan. I had already been to Japan earlier for 3 weeks as a tourist & I liked this place a lot.
CF: How you came to Japan earlier?
A : I went from Puerto Rico to Thailand for a student exchange program and traveled from there to Japan. During that time I really liked Japan & it remained back of my mind that I want to live here someday.
CF: So, how did you search for a job in Japan from Puerto Rico?
A : Over the internet through many groups. My search was very limited as I was looking for companies accepting Non- Japanese candidates and also offering a working visa. I found Solairo over the internet. I didn’t know the Ruby language before joining Solairo. But I had learned other languages, so it helped me familiarizing with Ruby on rails.
Mr.Armando’s tip to budding engineers: Learn the most difficult programming language and find similarities & build your skills in other languages accordingly.
CF: And what about the Japanese language? Lol
A : Oh, its tougher than programming. Lol. I am still learning. However, I learnt a bit of language before coming to Japan over internet. I practiced kanji & grammar a lot.
CF: What difference do you feel between traveling in Japan & actually living in Japan?
A : The only difference I see is that while traveling I could discover the whole of Japan but while working I am just bound to this place. So basically physical boundaries. Rest all is the same. People are very friendly & welcoming either way.
CF: Can you tell something about your initial days in Japan? Did you face a lot of challenges?
A : It was a very smooth start for me. It wasn’t hard for me. I have always loved Japanese food: sushi & ramen. Traveling system in much better here, so for me it wasn’t troubled on those lines.
The only hard part was looking for a house in central Tokyo close to my workplace. It all ended fine & I got a good place just a station away.
CF: How did you make friends here?
A : Go out, talk to people. I went out a lot in the initial days. I spoke to random people & that’s how I made a lot of friends. Now I know many people, I prefer to stay at home. Lol
CF: Can you talk about your work at Solairo? How is it going? How did you familiarize with Ok Sky system? I think it’s pretty unique.
A : I like the system of flex timing at Solairo. It suits my personality. Also when I joined the company there was an American guy. He made me familiar with Ok Sky system & spoke to me mostly in English. Therefore, it was an easy start professionally as well. And to communicate with my fellow Japanese co-workers I use slack.
CF: Now after year an a half how is it going for you in terms of Japanese language & communicating with your co-workers?
A : We still use slack, and also I am getting better at my Japanese.
CF: How big is your team now?
A : My American boss is no more with this organization, so I am doing his work now.
I have a junior developer working with me. He is also a foreigner from Bulgaria & we communicate in English with each other. We both are working on this application. Then there is a parallel team working on AI.
CF: Do you also wish to explore AI (Artifical Intelligence) someday?
A : Yes, I do. But currently, they use the Japanese Language for AI. Maybe in the future, if the company decides to do AI in English, I would love to work on that. It’s also my goal.
CF: Do you plan to make your team bigger?
A : Yes, more the better. If there are more people, I can do much more work.
CF: What are your other interests apart from programming?
A : I like building music & developing apps to help build music. I am parallel working on those apps in my free time. I usually build apps that help me. Lol
CF : So are you using Ruby mostly for programming?
A : On the front side we use Java, but on the server-side we use Ruby on Rails.
CF: Some engineers like Ruby & some don’t. What are your views about this language?
A : Ruby is good to write & read, but when it runs, it is slow & bad in memory. If you want something real quick & easy Ruby is perfect. It’s very convenient & powerful.
CF: What languages you studied during your college?
A : C, C++, JAVA & assembly. I also did a binary in my college. And to graduate, we made a project using HTML only.
CF: Was is it difficult to learn a language on your own?
A : Yes, a little bit. I learned Japanese on my own, and also Ruby by googling & watching videos.
But the hardest part for me was learning the company’s code. It actually took a long time. There was no easy way to learn but to fix the bugs and learn the code while doing so.
Japanese was harder for me to learn because I was doing it alone in Puerto Rico. I couldn’t practice it much. I remember I also watched anime in Japanese, to learn better.
CF: You sound like a very motivated person. From where does this motivation come?
A : Actually till 8th I was very rebellious and my focus was not towards study. But soon after joining another school which was specialized in maths & science, I got back on tracks.
CF: Do you wish to settle down in Japan? Or explore more?
A : I wish the whole world was like Japan. It’s so peaceful and has the best transport in the whole world. But I wish to explore more. World is too big.
CF: What is your future career plan in Japan.
A : Getting better at what I do. I wish to develop a better bug-less perfect system.
CF: What’s your biggest dream?
A : To reach people with music. Build applications that can bring people together. And also save the environment.
CF: Any advice for candidates wanting to build their career in Japan?
A : One can achieve anything even if you don’t know the language. You just need to put all your energy and focus on your goal.
CF: Thank you very much for such great advice. Hope it inspires other candidates to build their career in Japan.
Richa from Career Fly, Mr.Armando from Solairo and Tomomi from Career Fly
Mr. Armando J. Ortiz from Solairo
Meet Mr. Armando J Ortiz who joined Solairo 1.5 years back from Puerto Rico. He works as a full stack engineer. He traveled to Japan once for three weeks & liked it so much that he decided to start his career here.
Read his motivating story as he didn’t know the Japanese language & also didn’t know the programming language which he is currently working one, but still was able to build a career in Japan. Towards the end of the interview, Mr.Armando gives some good advice for future candidates.