Thursday, 6 January 2022

How to carve out a remote working lifestyle in the tech industry

How to carve out a remote working lifestyle in the tech industry

Remote working is one of the most commonly used buzzwords of the past couple of years, rising from obscurity to common parlance.

There is a simple reason for this - since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been forced to work at home for lengthy periods of time, which has resulted in a whole new working environment.

This is not to say remote working was not present before 2020, but it was rarely regarded as acceptable for anyone other than high-ranking employees or exterior consultants. Fast forward to the present day, and the benefits of remote working have been laid bare for everyone from employees to business owners to see.

These benefits revolve around the obvious fact that remote working allows you to work from home, eliminating the need to commute long distances to an office or work face-to-face with colleagues you don’t get along well with.

For business owners, they can save money on office space, as well as hidden overheads like heating, electricity, and insurance. They may well have a more motivated workforce, to boot.

If you work in the tech industry or are hoping to start your career in the near future, you may consider the tantalizing prospect of working from wherever you want in the world and how you can engineer a situation where it is possible for you.

The truth is that it isn’t easy because not all jobs suit a remote working environment, but if you want to carve out a living as a remote worker in the tech industry, this is what you need to know:

Become a specialist in a valuable niche

Becoming a remote worker by choice - rather than being forced upon you by wider restrictions or an emergency - is difficult. If you are only starting out in a lowly position within the tech industry, then you may struggle to command the necessary bargaining power to persuade your boss that it is a good idea, especially if they aren’t convinced by remote working.

As a result, it is crucial to develop a skill-set that allows you to enter a business at a higher level - preferably as a consultant with minimal strings attached.

Although there is no way of fast-tracking your progress completely, specializing in a valuable niche or skill which is sought after by company bosses.

For instance, you could specialize in computer science, which is an increasingly important skill for almost all businesses to have access to. This is because data scientists can make sense of the complicated data they collect about their corporate performance and the behavior of their consumers. It is difficult to decipher to the untrained eye, but if a data scientist can break it down into easy-to-understand trends, this data is gold dust.

What’s more, many data scientists are high-ranking members of a business, far more able to consider remote working (especially as any group work can be performed via video conferencing platforms and cloud software).

If you want to become skilled in computer science, consider an online masters computer science.

Concentrate on gaining experience at first

Of course, gaining a top tech qualification is only one piece of the puzzle. It is unlikely that you will be able to enter a business at a high level with at least a modicum of real-world experience.

Indeed, even if you were able to work from home as a newbie, it would likely be a stressful or even overwhelming experience because you will have no colleagues around to consult or help guide you.

Therefore, focus on gaining some work experience at a firm in your chosen industry, or work an entry-level job for a while, even if it is a temporary position.

The experience you gain will make you a more valuable proposition to companies in the future and give you the added confidence to perform at a higher level.

Focus on consultancy

If you want to work remotely, then you may want to consider becoming a tech consultant.

The reason for this is that consultants are not contracted employees, but advisors who help businesses with a certain tech problem, then move on to another client.

This is incredibly important if you want to become a remote worker because it does not oblige you to work in a particular office, and you won’t have any particular strings you are attached to for long periods of time. Resultantly, you can work from wherever you like (unless the time zone difference is too extreme).

Being a consultant isn’t easy, though. You will need to carve out a strong reputation in a certain industry or niche, able to generate a consistent stream of clients on demand. It may take a good deal of time to reach this point, but when you do, remote working will almost certainly be the norm, rather than the exception.

Locate clients who need your help the most

If you do want to go down the consultancy route (or even if you want to become a full-time employee), you should try to locate the right type of client.

For instance, if you are just starting out, then you are better off finding small businesses that are struggling with a particular tech problem and have few (if any) IT professionals on hand to deal with it.

They will likely be grateful for your help and be willing to offer you a temporary or full-time position. It might not always be the case, but these types of companies are usually run by a small team, so if you do a good job, then your positive impact will immediately be noticed. Furthermore, you may even be referred to other small businesses within their network, which helps you with your cash flow.

Contrast this with a multinational corporation that has several in-house tech teams. If you were to approach them, it would be highly unlikely that they will feel the need to hire your specialist services, especially if you want to work remotely.

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