I remember sitting at a system engineering gig a few years ago, fighting an angry LDAP server and talking about my goal of sitting on a beach and doing sysadmin and programming work from my laptop. My manager, a smart and practical fellow, laughed and told me it was a pipe dream and that such work simply didn’t exist. Two years later, I can work from the beach every day, if I feel like it.
Everyone loves remote work — whether it’s system administration, database administration, testing, QA, remote programming work, or something totally different. As with anything else, there are some downsides, but the advantages to both companies and employees are huge. Lower office costs for companies, fewer interruptions for employees; the list goes on and on. It’s still early in the ‘remote work’ timeline, and some businesses still need to get used to the idea. If you’re interested in an exhaustive pro-and-con list in book format, check out Remote: Office Not Required.
Here are a few of the sites I’ve used to search for (and get) both full-time and contracting work:
- https://weworkremotely.com (A site by the Ruby on Rails/Basecamp people, trying to build a business around their book Remote. I think I used this to find my current job, but I’m not sure anymore)
- https://angel.co (a great site if you’re interested in working for a startup — you can find some remote opportunities here, but since you’re dealing with startups, you’ll find a low percentage of jobs that are willing to give remote employment a chance)
- http://www.pythonjobs.com/ (self-explanatory)
- http://www.railsjobs.com/ (self-explanatory)
- https://gun.io/ (an excellent site for freelance developers looking for CONTRACT work)
Remember that if you’re a junior developer, it can be very hard to start off with remote work. You’ll generally want to have some experience working with a team before you begin applying to remote positions. It should go without saying, but it’s necessary that you are able to work without constant oversight. This means you need to be comfortable with the niche you’ve picked, whether it’s writing device drivers, HTTP microservices, or some part of the web application stack.
If you want to work remotely, you need to be able to show that:
- You’re competent and have experience doing similar work already.
- You know the software development process and can fit into their workflow (agile, scrum, kanban, boodlywhack, or whatever the software-development-methodology-du-jour is).
- You’re an excellent or masterful communicator — this is probably the most important skill you can have for working remotely. Without great communication skills (this includes language and writing skills, but goes far beyond), working remotely can be a painful and frustrating process.
Again, it’s not absolutely necessary that you have years of experience before starting to work remotely, but it’s going to be an incredibly tough experiment if you’re imagining working remotely at your first software development job.
Good luck, have fun, and feel free to leave recommendations for other remote-specific job boards in the comments!