10 May 2021
5 min read
Today, it's never been easier to log in for work remotely, and a recent report suggests that clocking in from anywhere in the world could bring in more money than a traditional office job.
According to a State of Remote Work report from September 2019, 26% of remote workers earn more than $100,000 per year. This is compared to eight percent of on-site workers who earn over that. Additionally, seven percent of remote workers indicate that they earn over $200,000 a year; however, only one percent of on-site office workers can claim to make that.
This may partly be explained by the top industries represented by remote workers such as healthcare (15%), tech (10%) and financial services (9%).
With 42% of remote workers planning to work more remotely in the next five years and 51% of office workers indicating they want to make the switch, working from anywhere in the world may be the way forward for many.
As one of the fastest growing sectors, with a chronic shortage of qualified individuals, it seems that the tech industry is catching on to this trend. It therefore seems a technical background could pay off when it comes to getting a remote job that pays well.
Remote Works lists among its job listings, Data Engineer, Go Developer, and DevOps Engineer as a few of the highest-paid remote jobs at the moment. With full benefits packages, the increased flexibility of working from home, and the excellent work-life balance that comes from not being held to a particular region, it’s no wonder that more people are turning to careers in tech.
Of course, while working from anywhere certainly has its perks, doing so can also come at a price. According to the study, remote workers indicated that they work over 40 hours per week, 43 percent more than on-site workers do. One of the reasons why this may be is that it’s harder for remote workers to unplug from work.
So, with the decision set to embrace a remote working lifestyle, how does one go about getting a job as a Software Developer?
A 2017 study by Paysa, a personal careers advisor, confirmed that after analyzing more than 8,200 job postings and 70,000 resumes, the most in-demand job titles were Software Developers. Some of these postings were found at Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Uber.
It also showed that the skill in most demand at technology disruptors (private or public companies with a valuation of over $10 billion) was, understandably, Computer Science. With technology titans (public companies with a valuation of more than $100 billion), the most in demand were Computer Science and Management skills.
Software Developers typically have bachelor’s degree level education, usually in Computer Science. Other related subjects are Information Technology, Computing, with frequent cross over into other technical fields such as Math or Physics.
Computer Science degrees are generally the most common, due to the fact that they cover a wide range of topics and typical will dive into the fundamentals of theory as well as practical. When interviewing, having a good grounding in data structures and algorithms is often just as important as the more everyday programming skills.
Yet, that’s not the only way to go about it. This article from The Guardian in 2014, for example, shows how a person can become a software developer even if they lack formal qualifications. Other ways of gaining the necessary skills include certain graduate training schemes, online courses, plus a dedicated bootcamp such as The Recurse Centre and the Flatiron School in the US and UK.
In this article, it explains the ins and outs of coding bootcamps. For instance, a full-time bootcamp can last anywhere from six to 40 weeks, with the average being just over 12 weeks. Costing between $10,000 and $24,000, some even guarantee a developer job; however, if a person doesn’t get one they don’t have to pay anything apart from the initial deposit.
For those who do not have access to as much free time or funds, the online bootcamps may be the way forward. As this option is more flexible, it also means people won’t have to leave their job, but they will need to be focused on getting the work done.
With 24 coding bootcamps listed, each show whether they are in-person or online, where they’re located for in-person ones, how much they cost, how long they last, the median starting salary someone can expect, and the percentage of students who complete them.
This just goes to show that it’s no longer a requirement for someone to earn a degree if they want to follow a career path as a software developer. For those who are considering a career change, coding bootcamps could be an option rather than spending years at university.
Working as a software developer isn’t just about writing programs, once you gain these skills and start to enter the job market you will quickly find there are a whole host of other skills that will really help you in your career.
Aiming to work remotely in particular will highlight the need for excellent communication skills, the ability to work effectively with teams of people from different cultures and often digitally through messaging apps such as Slack.
Running a phrase search across job descriptions on Remote Works, we find there are several repeating themes:
Alongside the necessary technical skills, to be a successful developer there is a lot of creative work, design decisions and trade-offs to make, paying attention to details, even working with various teams such as product or sales.
You will not be working in a silo, how you write your code, document, track and fix bugs, give and receive feedback, etc. Will all contribute to your effectiveness and ability to work as part of a productive team.
As is often the case with many things in life, to get your career going you really will just need that one lucky break. Once you have that critical first year of experience you will find that your career can accelerate much more rapidly than any other.
However, to get that first break you will need to be patient, persistent and present. By present, specifically meaning, in the right places and communities.
You can get involved with open source communities through online projects on GitHub, this is a great way to get a real sense of what it can be like to work remotely and the communication and culture differences with distributed global teams. Platforms that utilise this approach to the recruiting process are emerging, where you can find out what companies are working on and you can engage with their projects outside of directly applying for a job.
Alongside this, you can also attend events such as Hackathons or Conferences. It is actually very common for non-technical people to attend Hackathons and make significant contributions, such as design, creative and leadership.
By communicating with people in these communities, engaging recruiters and putting yourself out there, it will just be a matter of time until a company is willing to take a gamble on you.
Once onboard, your learning curve will steepen sharply and you will be on your way!
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