How to get a Remote Programming Job

Is working remotely important to you?  Do you want to work from home?  Or do you want to live the digital nomad lifestyle?  A good programmer may be an introvert or a traveler, and more companies are figuring out that it doesn’t matter if their employees don’t live near each other — what matters is finding talent.  Wherever it is.

Remote software developer jobs definitely exist.  You’ve got your pick — you can find remote jobs that are full-time salaried positions, part-time, contract work (or contract-to-hire) or freelance work.  Freelance is what most people probably think of when they hear about someone working from home.  But it’s certainly not the only option any longer.  You can work for a small or large company as a remote employee.  Some big name companies that work in this way include Github, Trello, and Automattic.

Are you a WordPress theme or plugin developer?  Or skilled in PHP, Javascript, and CSS?  You may be able to get a remote programming job at Alley Interactive, where I work.  Tell them that I referred you.  If you are a UI or UX developer, you might also want to check out Alley Interactive, because sometimes there are job openings for those positions as well.

Tip #1: Use Google to find Jobs

Search for “distributed team” and your skill or other keyword.  For example, I often search for the name of a particular programming language, or for the job title, like Software Engineer, Software Developer, etc.  I just did a google search for “php distributed team” and found TeamSnap, who’s hiring a Ruby on Rails Developer and an  iOS Developer.  Yeah, that’s not PHP, so this method is not perfect nor fast, but you will find so-called “unadvertised jobs.”

You can also use Google’s Advanced Search options to search for new results, or sign up to Google Alerts.  This might send you an email alert when a start-up company creates an “about us” page when they decide that they need to start hiring.  There are lots of tech start-ups out there, so you never know what you might find!

Make an effort to really dig through the search results.  Don’t stop on page 1 or 2!  While “distributed team” is a big buzzword these days, you can also search for the words “remote” and “telecommute.”

Many companies don’t advertise positions outside of their website.  This means that these job openings don’t appear on job listing sites, so you have to actually go digging to find them.  Look at the bottom of company websites for a “Careers” page.  Also look at all “About us” and “Partners” sites.  I found my current job from following a link from one of those “Our Partner” pages.  So, be curious, follow links and dig around.

Tip #2: Use these Websites to Find Remote Programming Jobs

 

Stack Overflow – Remote Jobs

The above link will take you to the Stack Overflow Careers website search with “Allows Remote” selected.  You can toggle this option on and off by hovering your cursor over the location box.  They currently have 246 remote jobs.  The nice thing about Stack Overflow jobs are that the job listings are almost all really high quality.  Companies have to pay to list their job opening on that site (the fee starts at $699), so you can be pretty sure that the companies are actively hiring.  And it is a great site for job hunters because Stack Overflow gives you the ability to build a pretty comprehensive profile, so you can really show off your skills and link to your code samples and projects.

We Work Remotely – Programming Jobs

We Work Remotely is a job listings website that’s 100% focused on remote jobs.  They don’t have a ton of listings, but they do have a separate category for programming gigs, and you can subscribe to the RSS Feed, so that you can be the first one to know when jobs are added.  This isn’t a free site for companies (it costs them $200 for 30 days), which is good for you because it means no spam!

Skip the Drive

Skip the Drive is all about remote and telecommuting jobs.  The people over there seem to be quite friendly (despite a very annoying splash screen), and you can sign up for daily new job emails.  They are an aggregator, so if you’re looking at the other sites on this list, you might run into a lot of repeats.  But, they might find something you didn’t see.  Right now, they have 120 remote software development jobs, web related jobs, and a dozen WordPress related remote jobs.

Indeed (Put in the keyword “remote” and leave the location field blank)

Probably one of the more popular job sites, I did use Indeed to look for remote jobs, but it was annoying because there were lots of “No Remote!” jobs that came up in the search results.  I still found it worth my time to sift through their listings.  They will send you an email every day with new search results, and when I was job hunting, I would often start my day by going through their email.  Every once in awhile, there was a real gem.

Tip #3: Show off Your Greatness!

There is a reason they call it “Human resources.”  Talented employees are resources.  Companies go shopping for more resources.   You need to sell yourself.

Remote workers have to have:

  1. Skill.  No one is going to hire someone remotely who can’t do the job.  Prove that you can do the job by having code samples.  Or showcase your previous projects.  Or write some technical articles.  If the company you want to work for has some open-source projects, try to contribute to them.  It’s a sure way to make your application stand-out.
  2. Excellent written communication skills.  Prove that you know how to communicate well.  Show it off in your cover letter (ALWAYS write a cover letter!), thank you letter, in your social media profiles, Stack Overflow questions/answers, or on your personal blog.  Great communication is critical for interacting with clients and also important for getting things done.  Unclear communication is a time waster.
  3. Self-Direction and Time management.  You must be able to prioritize and juggle tasks.  The freedom of working remotely also comes with great responsibility.

Think about your life history and think about what things you’ve done that make you a great fit for the position you’re interested in.  And then at the interview, tell them why you would be a great fit.  Remember, they want you to be the one for the position.  (Otherwise, they wouldn’t have arranged the interview.)  You just have to sell yourself.

Do research about their company and honestly tell them how your skills are a good match.  Honesty goes a long way.  If you don’t know something, tell them that you don’t know, but explain how you could go about finding out the answer.  Remember that no one knows everything, but if you know how to get the answer, that’s good enough 80% of the time.

This got to be a bit of a ramble, but I hope that the above links help.  My final thoughts are, don’t give up, and yes, remote programming jobs exist.

Related ~ Links

How to Hire a Remote Team

 

One thought on “How to get a Remote Programming Job”

  1. Thanks for this! I tweeted a link to it too via my mjassen twitter handle; I like the tip about searching directly through google. Thanks for this advice and these tips — also for the encouraging words at the end to not give up and keep going!

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