State of remote working in 2018

I am working remotely for more than 5 years now and I hope I will continue doing so. My personal opinion is that remote work opportunities are stronger than ever. I compiled together a list of sources which I believe can land you remote gigs.

But first, a few assumptions…

  • The below refer to remote work opportunities for developers. I am not aware of the market for other specialisations.
  • I am assuming you are a senior developer and have skills that are somewhat in demand.
  • I considered sources that can get you to at least $50k a year, i.e. a decent living in most countries. But usually under $100k. It’s pretty hard to go over this if you are working remotely.

Upwork

https://www.upwork.com/ is probably the largest freelancer market in the world. It’s a jungle. 95% of the clients have unrealistic expectations. If you post a project, you get hundreds of applicants in minutes, most of them being fake profiles, accepting any conditions you ask for just so you award them the job.

However, if you manage to get over all the noise, you can land some well paid and interesting jobs. On top of that, anyone can join Upwork. Activate your account, put up a good looking profile and you’re good to go.

Here are a few tips to be efficient on Upwork

  • Do not bother with general job applications, search for the specific combination of skills that you have (i.e. Magento + WordPress + SEO). Once in a while, a client will need exactly that, you will be an awesome fit. Any Upwork search can be saved as a RSS feed, do so and wait for the jobs to come to you.
  • To get reputation, snipe for “Urgent” jobs, i.e. set your RSS feeds to “Urgent Magento”. There are a few number of users that break their sites and will take on the first developer that applies to the job. This assumes you are available to work right away. And most of the time, it implies only a few hours of work. Definitely not worth the money, but can help build up reputation quickly.

Even with a good reputation, you will still spend a lot of unbillable time searching for jobs. I’d advice to leave Upwork as the last resort to get work, but consider it nevertheless.

TopTal

https://www.toptal.com/ is a nice surprise. Similar to Upwork, they are a project/job market. However, they are curated. First, you have to go through a pretty hard interview process to get admitted. Then, they do the same with the clients. You will not find any “I need a website built for $100” requests on TopTal.

Then, TopTal only works hourly. Not sure about you, but I suck at estimates. 9 cases out of 10 I lose money in a fixed bid, so being able to work on hourly engagements is the best for me.

The best thing about them is that they have recruiters. Most of the time, a recruiter will ping you about a job that was posted and fits your skills. While you can definitely apply to jobs yourself, you can also sit tight and wait for the recruiters to find good matches for you.

They also try to build a community, there are a lot of events, both online and offline that can really help you grow professionally.

Crossover

https://www.crossover.com/ only does full-time jobs, so it is a bit different from the above. They also have pretty hard interview process. As a twist, they organise “hiring tournaments” in which you go, spend the day working on some challenges and can go home with a job.

They exaggerate a bit in that when they say a job is paid 200k per year, they actually mean you get the amount if you log 8h/day, which would mean at least 10-11 hours spent in office. And that you never take a vacation. So a job with them is probably paid 30% less than advertised, but that’s still a pretty sweet deal!

While I never worked with them directly, I heard from first-hand acquaintances that you get hired in a few weeks after passing the interview.

X-Team

https://x-team.com/ – similar to Crossover, they only offer full time jobs. You sign up with them and get to work as an addition to an existing dev team. Their interview is easier, in that you can showcase existing code instead of writing something new. If you get accepted, you tell them your rate, skills and desired start date and they will find something for you.

I never worked for them since I am not looking into a full-time job, but they contacted me a few times with opportunities so they look like an active community.

Stack Overflow

This is pretty simple –¬†https://stackoverflow.com/jobs/remote-developer-jobs . Watch this list, apply to jobs that fit your skills.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is usually fit for full-time in-office jobs. However, there are a few tricks here…

  • Add the word “freelancer” to your profile.
  • Make sure your profile emphasises your technical skills. Things like “I helped the company grow 10 times bigger” are good for corporations/non-dev roles.
  • Be prepared to get a lot of offers that are not remote. Responding with “Thanks, but I am not interested in an office job” is not too hard.
  • Wait. At some point you may get a remote opportunity. Personally I got a few clients form LinkedIn.

Direct

Know the companies that work remotely. GitHub, Automatic, Mozilla are just a few names that hire remotely. Get to know the ones that match your skill set. Watch their job listings. Get hired.