An anomaly to some, an enigma to many, the remote software engineer is a very real thing. Perhaps you’ve already considered that after a coding bootcamp, all you need is your laptop and decent wifi to be a productive software developer... from anywhere. Whether you wish to work from exotic locations, or simply work from home, becoming a remote developer helps you design the lifestyle you want. With modern communication tools, cloud-based file sharing and the global demand for software engineers – coding bootcamp grads truly have the world at their fingertips. But before you sell all your belongings and buy a one-way ticket to [insert dream location], read on for important considerations and tips from CodingNomads on finding remote work after a coding bootcamp.
You’ll learn about:
- Is remote coding for you?
- Do you want to be a remote employee or a freelancer?
- Tips for finding remote work.
- Resources to build your digital nomad network.
- How to prepare for a remote coding interview.
Outpost coworking space backyard in Ubud, Bali - an unofficial conference call spot.
As a coding bootcamp grad, you are still at the beginning of your learning curve. Some people benefit from an in-person environment with face-to-face interaction. That said, having amazing mentors and a supportive team isn’t dependent on going into an office, and many people work and learn better on their own terms. Here are some crucial characteristics of a successful remote developer:
- Disciplined self-starter. You are responsible for staying focused and accountable, as well as not just working all the time. Thrives with autonomy.
- Ability to quickly adopt new technologies. Each remote team will employ its own communication and productivity tools that you’ll be expected to use.
- Lone Ranger. While working remotely still typically means working with a team, remote workers must be ok with digital vs. in-person interaction. More productive when left to your own devices.
Do you prefer the stability of a paycheck? Or do you seek the variety of contract work?
Sometimes coding bootcamp grads need to start as contractors before landing a full-time job— especially if you want to work remotely. Starting as a contractor can be a great way to get your foot in the door, build your experience, and/or achieve the lifestyle you seek. Considerations for working as an employee vs. contractor:
- Pros: Stable team environment. Employer motivation to train and mentor you. May include benefits like paid vacation and healthcare.
- Cons: Less flexibility in terms of hours worked, vacation requests, etc.
Freelance / Contract
- Pros: Make your own schedule, set your own rates, be your own boss. Build your experience while still learning.
- Cons: Can be a lack of mentorship and training for new developers. Don’t get paid when you don’t work. Responsible for finding the next gig.
Now that you’ve decided to ditch the cubicle, it’s time to find a remote job. The following tips are tried-and-true strategies from fellow digital nomads and our coding bootcamp graduates.
1. Work for less, gain more
We know you didn’t go to a coding bootcamp to make less money, but hear us out. Small companies and startups need software engineers, but can’t always afford a senior developer. You need to gain experience and want the flexibility of remote work. Make it a win-win by starting at an affordable rate, while you continue learning, building experience, and creating your ideal lifestyle.
Spend less money by working remotely
- Remote workers save money on commuting, lunch, work clothes, etc. You can choose to work from a location with a lower cost of living (e.g. find a remote job from California, live anywhere else). Oftentimes, remote workers also value other priorities in life over a paycheck - like flexible hours and working from where you want. A common theme we’ve noticed: Digital nomads are happier making slightly less, owning less stuff, and living more.
Grow your experience, grow your income
- This is not a suggestion to undervalue your skills or go hungry - it’s a suggestion to help you gain experience and freedom. Especially with your first job out of a bootcamp, offering a modest hourly rate will increase your chances of finding work fast. It’s how most people start their careers, even with college degrees. Figure out what income you need to be comfortable for the next 6-12 months. Within that time, if you’ve continued growing your experience, your income will grow too.
2. Reach out to your network
Looking for remote work is an endless abyss of possibilities. Reaching out to your family, friends, and professional contacts is the easiest and most effective way to find work. Your software engineering skills are in high demand, so it’s very likely that someone in your extended network could use the help. Remember Tip #1. You’re not putting anyone out. You’re potentially doing them a favor.
Write up a quick message that outlines your motivations, skills, and the type of remote position you seek. Send it to your contacts, and ask them to pass it along too. Demonstrate that you have valuable skills to offer, and the eagerness to learn. You’ll have a much better chance getting an interview by means of someone who can vouch for you.
Your online networks are also a critical component to finding remote work. Online people are your people, and the sky’s the limit on how far your online network extends. This is also the best way for a remote company to vet who you are, and the value you bring to the table.
Be searchable through your profiles
- Spend time building your LinkedIn, AngelList, and any other relevant social media profiles. Include your bootcamp experience: the programming languages, frameworks, databases, project management tools, and other applicable technologies you learned. Be clear in your profile that you’re looking for remote work, and include relevant keywords so you are searchable by employers.
Showcase your personality
- In addition to your tech skills, show some personality through your profile headline, summary, etc. Sounds basic, but include a nice photo of yourself. It’s your goal to stand out as someone that employers want to work with; someone who has more dimensions than just work. For more tips on building a great LinkedIn profile, this thorough blog includes specific ideas for remote workers.
Join relevant networking communities
- After updating your profiles, join LinkedIn groups and follow companies relevant to your search. Beyond LinkedIn and AngelList, there are tons of online communities where you can connect with people looking for software engineers, such as:
- When searching online platforms, include remote-based keywords in your search like “remote,” “telecommute,” “virtual,” “work from home,” etc. Reach out to people at companies you’re interested in for informational interviews, and a potential foot in the door. Connecting on a “personal” level (even when online) will go a long way in your remote job search.
Alongside building your network, you’ll need all the nuts-and-bolts items for landing your first job out of a coding bootcamp. This includes polishing your resume and cover letter, ensuring that you convey your technical skills, personality, and your value to the company in each.
Check out these additional tips on finding a job after a coding bootcamp, including how to seek companies you want to work for, customize your outreach, prepare for the technical interview, and succeed on the job.
5. And finally: online job boards
Building your network is the most effective way to secure remote work. Entry-level positions are often not advertised online. If they are, cold-applying to jobs makes you just another applicant in the pool.
However, there are tons of developer job listings, so online job boards are worth a mention. Below are a handful, and a Google search will reveal many more.
(Pro tip: If you see a company you like that’s hiring devs of any level, try to connect with dev employees on LinkedIn / AngelList. Ask if they’d be willing to chat with you about what it’s like to work there on the team. See if they’re looking for any entry-level devs.)
- Remote Work Job Boards
- Tech Job Boards with Remote Listings
- Online Job Boards
Many coding bootcamp students join CodingNomads to jumpstart their dream of becoming a digital nomad. While learning to code at coworking spaces in Bali, Thailand, Mexico, and around the world, our students meet and learn from real-life remote developers—as well as remote companies that are hiring.
By learning to code from the road, and surrounded by a cohort with the same goal, students can focus on learning fast. We get a real taste of life as a digital nomad—working hard, having fun, and experiencing the world.
Where would you like to go?
Working remotely can be a great arrangement for the right people, offering the flexibility to spend more time at home, or wherever you choose. But remember that it’s still hard work. If after your coding bootcamp—or at any point in your career—you seek autonomy and are ready for the challenge, use these tips as guidance for a rewarding remote developer career.
Digital nomads: any more tried and true tips for coders new to the remote scene?
Bootcamp grads: any questions about working remotely?
Let us know in the comments!
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