Remote software engineering is just one of the many professional outlooks in tech that have seen a significant uptick in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With more trained professionals settling into their personal spaces with the benefits of remote software engineer jobs, it is essential to understand what remote software development means for tech teams that have previously worked in the office. It is also crucial to understand the potential challenges a company and its employees might face with switching to the workforce of distributed teams.
It is important to be clear on professional rules, boundaries, team roles, collaboration tools, and communication channels to ensure maximum benefits with flexibility and productivity while allowing every team member a healthy work-life balance in remote jobs. With the right mindset, seeing results and staying on track with deadlines and team goals can be more manageable.
The purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the increasing trend of remote jobs for both novice and experienced software engineers. We will also offer tips on how to find these roles and excel in them.
What are remote software engineers?
Remote software engineers have similar job responsibilities and goals as in-office workers, with just one significant difference – they work remotely from anywhere they feel comfortable and have good internet connectivity.
It is essential to understand the importance of communication in this role, primarily if you work as part of a team. You must understand how to develop, design, test and maintain software solutions and systems. In remote roles, most workplaces use digital means such as digital messaging platforms, Customer Relationship Management (CRMs), email and online meetings to communicate.
There has been a significant rise in the popularity of these roles due to the growth in the gig economy and the impact of Covid-19. Remote work is a solution that can work wonders for both the employee and employer if executed properly, with several perks, including financial and productivity-related benefits.
What qualities are essential to excel as a remote software engineer?
To establish yourself as a high-performing remote-working professional, you need to develop specific skills that set you a league apart from the competition. Some common skills in all successful remote software engineers are technical understanding, time management, collaboration, communication, self-discipline, and adaptability. To learn more about the mistakes you should avoid as a software engineer, check out this detailed guide.
Next, we take a more detailed look into the skills you need to develop if you wish to excel in the role:
Since you will be working with tech, you must have strong technical skills, including an understanding of software development frameworks, tools and a strong knowledge of programming languages. Like in-office software engineers, remote professionals must remember that their job is beyond designing and developing software solutions.
Understanding the proper techniques for quality assurance testing, and debugging the solutions, is essential. In a remote role, you must configure servers and debug application code without depending on others.
The technical skillset and toolkit you develop at the start of your career will evolve as you move forward with your professional goals. Technology evolves constantly and brings a list of project management rules, work processes, and systems with it. For example, you might need to learn a new language or understand a complex algorithm for a new project, so “accepting” and “expecting” constant upskilling and adaptability as part of your role and career will help you set better expectations.
We have already discussed the importance of effective communication for remote roles. It is plausible to consider communication the most critical soft skill for success as a remote software engineer.
You will need to stay in touch with an entire line of different stakeholders, colleagues, clients and team members. Whether getting requests, receiving feedback or giving suggestions, you will use several communication forms like instant messaging, video conferencing and email.
Understanding the right way to approach other groups is essential to prevent miscommunication. For instance, you need to respect time differences if you work in a company with global stakeholders. So, being empathetic when communicating a complex solution to a non-technical audience is important.
Self-discipline and time management
Since a standard office environment and its timings do not confine remote software engineers, they must be able to manage their time effectively and remain self-motivated to meet deadlines set by senior members without direct supervision. This requires a lot of self-discipline as remote workers must juggle work and life duties simultaneously and ensure that neither gets neglected.
Time management is another area some beginners fail to develop, which results in work-related stress. Therefore, implementing time management techniques such as timeboxing or the pomodoro technique to help you set routines and schedules will help you in the long term. As long as you can balance important tasks, prioritise when needed and avoid distractions, it will be easier to limit work-related stress.
Lastly, remote software engineers need to exhibit problem-solving skills that can help them to identify and resolve technical issues. For example, several instances require detailed analysis, such as optimising the performance of an app or troubleshooting issues with remote servers.
Whatever the challenge and no matter how complex, a successful remote software engineer will proactively work to understand it, learn about it, and fix it to ensure that business operations can continue smoothly.
What are the best strategies to get a job as a remote software engineer?
First, you need to build an online presence on applications like GitHub and Linkedin to showcase your portfolio and skillset online. Having your portfolio website tailored to the services you offer and excel at is also a good idea. It is important to note that landing a remote software development role will require extensive research.
While you might find some job listings online, opportunities will require a direct approach from your end with a cold email.
Communication and networking are pivotal factors that can make or break your professional goals. Networking with seniors in your field and like-minded professionals through meetups or virtual meetings is a great idea. Not only will this make it easier for you to learn trade secrets, but you might also learn about job openings!
Your resume and cover letter should showcase your communication and time management skills. Furthermore, it is crucial to be prepared for remote interviews’ social and technical challenges even after landing a job. Finally, since you are away physically, you must impress your hiring manager or other relevant stakeholders to showcase that you are the right professional.
Some remote software engineers prefer a traditional job role, while others offer their services as contract freelancers. No matter how you wish to pursue it, a career as a remote software engineer is possible if you are willing to work on your skills and improve. Suppose you’re looking to become a software engineer. In that case, you can start choosing to study with a reputable school like the Institute of Data, which teaches relevant software development skills to help you land a job.
Is remote software engineering a good career path?
Moving towards remote software engineering is a great career path, and it has become much more accessible and familiar recently. Of course, like any other job, a specific learning curve needs to be worked through. But it is a challenge worth the work for a tech student passionate about their work, personal life, and adventures.
Some big tech companies hiring remote frontend engineers, full-stack developers and full-stack software engineers are Google, IBM, Apple and Oracle.
The benefit of remote work is choosing when, how long, and where you work. If you deliver the required results, getting the perfect work-life balance and having enough time for your hobbies and family with a job that pays excellent compensation is straightforward.
One popular site remote software engineers use is Upwork which acts as a marketplace for businesses and remote workers. Remote software engineering is an option here. Workers can choose the tasks they want to work on and earn money on the go. So if you are interested in working on your own terms or are not getting the opportunities you seek in your current location, remote work may be the ideal option.
However, remember the benefits of a remote position comes with its challenges. It is up to you to be self-motivated, disciplined and to communicate well. If you feel you have what it takes to thrive in a remote work environment, take the first step and send that job application. Your career goals will become much more realistic once you take the initiative.
The rising popularity of fully remote developer roles is based on the excellent productivity and financial benefits it provides employees and employers. However, just like with any other career shift, there are specific rules and skills you can practise to enjoy more success towards your target goals.
So long as you are committed to staying organised, productive, deadline-oriented and practising good communication, it will be easy to deliver outstanding results as a team member and enjoy the perks of remote work simultaneously. If you are ready to break into a new career role as a software engineer, schedule a career consultation with one of our experts today and get the proper roadmap and assessment that will take you straight to your professional goals.