Working remotely is no longer just a dream. If you can afford a decent laptop and access to the internet, combine it with solid work skills and that gives you a pretty good chance to find a remote job. Professionals in many industries including entrepreneurs, marketers, writers and of course software engineers have already chosen this route.
In fact, software engineers were one of the first professionals to have a chance to work remotely thanks to the flexibility of their profession. With access to the internet and a laptop, they can dedicate themselves to working on software development and writing code from anywhere.
The specifics of the job do not require constant communication with colleagues from other departments or physical presence in the office. Both a single software engineer or a team of software developers can perform their duty mostly autonomously, detached from the company operations and concentrating the communication within their group, which gives them an advantage over other professions when it comes to flexibility.
Why work remotely?
If working remotely was a privilege previously, it is now a regular practice being picked up by many organizations and professionals. The popularity of it keeps growing and scientists predict that by year 2020 30% of all workforce will be either freelance, outsourced, or have the flexibility to work from home or any other place in the world.
Remote working has proved to have numerous benefits for both employers and employees, from lower (or no) cost for office maintenance and reducing commute hours to improvements in mental health and lower stress levels.
Studies have shown that working remotely (or having a flexible job that allows work from home part-time) reduces the level of work-related stress and makes health and wellness a bigger priority for the employees. The respondents confirmed increasing productivity when they are not interrupted by their colleagues and not distracted by office life and politics. The performance of employees is closely connected to the anxiety and stress at work and improved productivity helps to reduce it.
The pandemic spread of remote workers and digital nomads happened due to technology development that now provides cheaper access to faster internet; many cloud-based tools that simplify remote team management even when everyone is based in different corners of the world; more powerful computers that can perform more complex operations without the additional hardware.
Globalization opened up numerous opportunities for people working remotely to travel and settle in different countries that offer better financial and living conditions or at least help to reduce the cost of living while maintaining the same level of income.
With shifting social paradigms, living anywhere in the world doesn’t seem like a crazy thing to do anymore and is more of a justification of high-level skill set and business abilities. Remote work requires trust and acknowledgment from the employer as well as self-organizational skills and a lot of focus from the employee.
Remote work has evolved greatly in the last couple of decades. If ten years ago working from home was a synonym of telemarketing or customer service position with a minimum wage, nowadays, thanks to the development of technology and internet access more and more highly skilled professionals make it their full-time choice and base their career decisions on work flexibility.
Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, which means that even great ideas such as having a remote job come with a number of challenges. And truth to be told - remote work isn’t for everyone.
Remote working tests your productivity and self-management skills every day. When you are not in the office, you may think that you will be distracted less - there aren’t colleagues chatting around or interrupting your workflow, not small talk by the water cooler, no phones ringing all the time, etc., but if you choose to work from home you need to be prepared for different kinds of distractions.
Chores, animals, family, and loved ones can easily get in the way of your productivity, steering your attention from the work. Add to this some people who don’t take working from home seriously and try to communicate with you during work hours - that could be rather disturbing too.
The best solution for remote working is going to a local shared workspace or having a home office (if you don’t want to have other people around), creating a clear work routine and separating work from daily life. As much flexibility as working remotely can give you, work is still your obligation and should be prioritized appropriately.
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is communication. With technology allowing us to be reached 24/7, nothing still beats a face to face conversation. And while communicating online 1-1 with your manager or other members of the team can be fairly easy, group communications, and especially brainstorming sessions, are difficult to perform.
Team distribution also complicates communication if people are spread all over the world and work different hours. Where +/-2 hours doesn’t make much of a difference, +/-6 hours creates a real problem not leaving enough time for the team to collaborate and for the worker to keep in touch with the rest of the company. Establishing obligatory presence hours ensures that there is a window of a time long enough to maintain daily contact when necessary.
Due to the decentralized nature of remote work, teamwork becomes result oriented, not process oriented as the companies and team leaders entrust the process to the employee. While it can eliminate unnecessary involvement of colleagues into the development process, it does put extra pressure on results and meeting deadlines. What matters is that the job is done not how you’ve done it and your performance is measured by that.
The limitations on communication in turn worsens the quality of collaboration. While in software engineering it might not be the most critical part of development process, it still might affect the quality of project work.
For many software developers who choose to work remotely the social factor plays a significant role when deciding if that kind of work is right for them. Just as mentioned above, software development doesn’t require active communication with other divisions in the company, which misleads people into thinking that software engineers are detached from social groups.
Just like other people software developers need to socialize and given the fact that work occupies at least ⅓ of your daily life, human interaction in the office seems logical, if not vital. Removing social interactions may help greatly to improve productivity, but it’s a big concern for professionals who enjoy having an active social life.
Last but not least, a challenge that greatly affects both employer and the employee is cybersecurity. It is easy to believe that tech giants like Yahoo or Google carry a high risk of data breaches and cyber attacks, but the truth is that every company, no matter how small or big, technical or not, is under a risk of cyber crime. Whether it is customer data,financial operations, or any kind of sensitive information that you have, there is always risk of hackers targeting your company.
Remote work is a weak link that exposes the company to the cyber threats. Unprotected public wifi, weak passwords, careless handling of personal data - all that can result in unwelcome attention to the company data. To protect yourself from cybercrime, companies create obligatory security protocols that serve as a set of rules that everyone has to follow in order to minimise the risks by monitoring and maintaining company-issued devices. This allows the company to foresee weak spots in security and provide employees with the tools and the means to maintain their devices protected.
There are a great variety of tools available online that simplifies remote working. These tools mainly facilitate communication and project management and can make is seem like you haven’t left the office at all.
Slack is more than just cloud-based chatting service - it enables management of documents and communication for the team in one place and greatly contributes collaboration.
Zoom is the leader in video communications. Besides providing software for video conferences Zoom has many convenient options for video recording, multi-user conference, mobile and chat.
Skype is a pioneer in providing software for video chats and voice calls between various devices via Internet. It’s being used by millions of businesses and individuals.
Google Hangouts is a hybrid platform that replaces other communication apps developed by Google. It combines messaging, video conferences and VOIP features.
GitHub provides hosting for software developers with several collaborative features, like task management, bug tracking, project wikis and helps developers share and build better software.
As the name suggests, Screenhero is a collaborative screen sharing tool and real-time web tools. It basically works as Google docs but for applications where everyone can contribute at the same time.
Trello is an online project management tool, which is well-known for it’s lists. It’s a web-based application that helps to organize and prioritize projects in a flexible way.
Asana is another application for project organization and progress tracking that aims to simplify team-based work management.
InVision is a helpful prototyping tool widely used by designers and software engineers that need to map out their projects and collaborate on the digital products.
Google Drive is one of the most popular resources for file storage and sharing for teams that rely heavily on collaboration. It allows users to contribute to documents, synchronize files across devices, and create and edit documents.
Dropbox is a cloud-based file hosting service that has features such as storage and file synchronization across various devices.
Why remote working is good for developers
You have already seen the pros and cons of working remotely illustrated above. Even though the challenges may put you off, but if you can overcome them l working remotely can be an extremely beneficial experience. And while people of almost any trade can take advantage of remote work, we believe it does especially benefit software engineers.
Remote work gives software developers access to international jobs and projects. This is especially valid for the ones who live in the developing countries where the number of software development projects might be lower than in the developed locations. Their knowledge, experience, and ability to perform the same quality of work, while based abroad, gives them an opportunity to compete for positions as local engineers, and have a competitive advantage when it comes to price.
For software development being a rather creative job having flexible hours helps to optimize the work time. You can work when you are the most productive as long as you stay in contact during the stipulated hours and deliver work on time. This also gives a chance to manage and prioritize time in a way that benefits your work-life balance.
Working remotely allows you to eliminate distractions and be in the “zone”. It’s where developers are the most effective, where they write your best code, where they can be creative and find the best solutions to complex problems. In the end, this is what assesses their skillset - the ability to find simple and elegant solutions to complex and twisted problems.
Where To Find Remote Software Engineering Jobs?
There is no shortage of software development jobs if you know where to look for them. Based on your availability, schedule, skills and requirements you can choose from different options to find the one that suits you best.
Freelance is often associated with project-based jobs rather than long-term commitment to one company. It offers you much more flexibility in terms of working hours and choosing the clients, but less stability and lower payment. Here are the top places to find a freelance software development project:
Upwork is a global freelance marketplace where independent professionals can connect and collaborate with businesses.
Fiverr is another online marketplace for online services. If mainly focuses on fast and cheap gigs, but you can find projects that will help build your portfolio.
Gun.io is a service that helps to find and hire software engineering freelancers and acts as a mediator between the hiring company and the professional.
Lorem provides companies with selected and vetted software development experts. It offers affordable project-based pricing and competitive remuneration for the freelancers.
Rent A Coder
Rent a coder specialises on freelance programmers and designers that were hand-picked and are reputable experts in their industries.
Codeable is an exclusive marketplace for Wordpress developers, that connects thousands of freelancers, agencies and businesses online.
Job boards serve like a marketplace that connects employers and employees. And if freelance websites focus more on one-time jobs, job boards advertise the possibilities for long-term collaboration and integration in the company.
We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely is the largest job boards and remote working community for all kinds of professionals, that also provides resources to help make freelancers the best choice.
RemoteOK has more than 30 thousand remote jobs available and it is trusted by millions remote workers and hiring companies.
Who is Hiring
Who is Hiring specialises on software development jobs and aims at making hiring process less painful for both parties.
Nodesk is a curated collection of resources and remote job openings for professionals who want to work from home or from abroad.
Skip The Drive
Skip The Drive simplifies the process of finding a remote job and offers a wide range of options remote positions.
Working Nomads is a selection of job positions for professionals looking to start their remote working journey.
Staffing and placement agencies can be a great help when it comes to looking for a longer commitment within one company. While there may not be plenty of agencies that specialise solely in remote software development jobs, here are some that have open positions and can help you to find a good employer:
Distant Job specialises in helping entreprises to select and hire remote software development talent. Working with this niche made them experts in hiring for remote software engineering jobs.
Remote.co has various job offers and a good selection of remote software engineering positions. It also provides plenty of resources that simplify hiring process for both parties.
Remote Talent helps to match companies with remote professionals who are perfect for them and helps with selection and pre-screening process.
Fut-ure focuses on recruitment for tech industry and aims at providing the companies with the specific knowledge that they man lack when it comes to technology.
Global companies hiring remotely
And finally, here is the list of international companies that continuously hire remote software engineers and can offer great working experience together with the traditional work benefits. This list is always growing, but we’ve picked the best ones for you.
Mentioned earlier , InVision offers a unique working environment, full of collaboration and work benefits like flexible vacation policy, competitive salaries and professional growth.
If you want to work in a company that improves innovative artificial intelligence systems, Appen might be a great fit for you. With offices all over the world it has plenty of software development openings both in-house and remotely.
Dell is a well-known leader in technology sector and doesn’t have a shortage of software engineering jobs. If you are interested in working for a company that sells personal computers, cameras, printers, mp3 players - Dell is a perfect match for you.
Aeolus Robotics is a pretty young company (founded in 2016). It offers the world's first generation general-purpose consumer robotics or to put it simply household robot assistants. It actively employs software developers for remote positions all over the world.
SAP is provider for real-time data-processing solutions who supplies clients with enterprise software and services in more than 180 countries. More than 15% of its employees work from home and it actively promotes healthy work-life balance.
Leidos is on its way to become a global leader in the integration and application of information technology, engineering, and science create solutions for its customers challenges. It values its corporate culture and makes sure that all employees feel included and important to the company.
Trio is a software engineering house that helps small and medium business to bring their vision to life and create impactful web and mobile applications. Trio is a fully remote company with extensive experience in remote software engineering team management.
Alight Solutions is an information technology and services company. The company supports workplace diversity and flexibility, offering several remote positions in IT and development departments.
Wikimedia Foundation is the infamous host of Wikipedia, the knowledge base that we can’t imagine life without. It operates thanks to donations from people who contribute to it from all over the world. If you are looking to join a company with a bigger purpose, this would be a perfect choice for you.
VMware is a technology company focusing on cloud infrastructure and digital workplace technology. It works closely with network transformation and security. It offers remote positions as well as a number of openings in its offices all over the world.
You can guess from the name that Study.com is an educational portal that provides audio and video learning content structured as courses in all possible disciplines. This company would be a great match for those who are looking for a job with a strong sense of purpose.
Salesforce is an american cloud-based software provider, mostly known for its CRM system, that helps its clients to connect better with their customers and partners. Being the leader in the market, Salesforce is constantly looking for software developers to join its team.