It’s fair to say that the most popular form of remote work and work for digital nomads, for that matter, is coding. There seems to be a recognition among employers that developers work best by themselves and that it’s a profession that benefits from alone time.
That means finding remote work, as long as you have the skills is easier than for other professionals. The best way to find remote work for developers includes networking, finding companies and applying directly as well as searching various job boards online.
Let’s take a look at look at your options for remote work as a developer:
Table of Contents
How To Look For Remote Work As A Developer (Your Three Options)
Your Personal Network Is The Best Place To Begin
Let’s be straight up about this – your personal network is the best place to find any kind of work. An introduction to a potential employer by somebody that they like, trust and respect clears a lot of the early hassle out of the way.
It also means you’re likely to get a much more favorable interview situation than someone who was found on a job board. In fact, it may mean that you are the only candidate that they talk to before making a hiring decision.
The best way to put out your feelers for work via your personal network is to get on LinkedIn and reach out to people you know. Now, don’t spam everyone with an “I’m looking for work” message but find people who are likely to have contacts, refresh your personal connection (particularly if you haven’t spoken to each other in a while) and then ask those people.
You can also put up a “looking for remote work as an XYZ developer” message in your LinkedIn profile description. You can guarantee most of your contacts will see this and you may even turn up in a few recruiter’s searches too.
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best.
This, of course, assumes that you have a well-developed personal network thanks to a few years of employment. If not, you might want to skip this phase (except for updating your profile).
Finding Companies And Applying Directly To Them Is Your Second Plan Of Attack
If you can find a role that you really want or a company that you really want to work for, it’s often best to cut out the middleman and apply directly to the business.
Now, you can start (again) on LinkedIn and work out who the relevant people at the business you want to work for are. We’d skip HR and look for senior programmers or the Head of Development or something similar – unless HR is the only contact you can find.
Then use LinkedIn’s networking function to see if you can connect (via your personal network) to the person you want to speak to. This may involve asking one person to introduce you to another person in order for them to introduce you to the person you want to talk to. Don’t worry about this – this kind of introduction is almost always as good as a personal introduction.
If you want remote work as a developer, it really can pay to have a strong personal network to talk about opportunities with.
Now, if you can’t find someone to connect you to the place you want to work; don’t let that stop you from getting in touch via LinkedIn or the company’s website and sending a cover letter and a resume. Do this even if they have no jobs advertised on their website – sometimes a vacancy comes up and sometimes, they forget to put vacancies on company websites.
If you can’t find anything inspiring by searching the web, talking to your mates and having a long leaf through LinkedIn then you might want to try these two links below, they are huge lists of companies with a history of hiring freelancers and remote workers. It can’t hurt to try them, can it?
Over 1,000 Hiring Companies For Remote Work Developers!
Thanks to the two digital nomads who constructed these lists too – we can’t take any credit for this.
We’d like to think that you’ll find at least one good lead for remote work as a developer in that lot. It’s a substantial collection of direct opportunities.
When All Else Fails – Find Work Using Job Boards
Job boards are the most common way to find work. Sadly, the competition tends to be much more fierce for work via these boards than it is if you go direct and that means you have a lower chance of gaining an interview and unless your skills are fairly specialist, you also have less negotiating power when it comes to salary, benefits, etc.
However, if you’ve tried the other ways to find remote work as a developer and had no luck then a job is better than no job, right?
Remote OK is a huge source of remote work for developers. It has regular adverts on there and much more business in the coding category than it has in any other category. We’d estimate that on an average day they’re picking up 10 vacancies and some days it is much, much more.
They have a good reputation as a job board and the $299 posting fee means that all their vacancies are legit even if they aren’t all going to be filled (this is the nature of business and not the job board).
We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely is another big player in the remote work scene and like Remote OK most of the work it features is for developers. They appear to get about 5-10 new positions advertised each day and they seem to be different, in the main, from Remote OK – so that adds a lot of scope to your job hunting.
Indeed is one of the bigger job boards online, it’s not a specialist developer recruitment site but its near-global footprint means that it’s crammed with opportunity and you ought to at least check it on a weekly basis.
Skip The Drive
Skip The Drive is one of the bigger recruitment sites for remote workers but it doesn’t get as many vacancies as the three players above and it’s hard to see how old a vacancy is without opening it and playing around.
It’s definitely worth including in your digital nomad search for remote work as a developer but you may not want to put it as a top pick, either.
Because Zip Recruiter uses geo-information based on your IP address there are no remote vacancies shown for Hanoi… however, they do offer remote developer work – we just don’t know how much. You ought to give it a whirl and preferably before you leave your home country (or maybe a VPN works fine too?).
Toptal is the best source of freelance remote work if you want to work with a “development content mill”. They have a reputation for fair pay, paying on time but also for a tough and rigorous selection process and if you get blacklisted from Toptal for any reason – you won’t ever get work from them again.
Guru is also worth a look. They have fewer vacancies than Toptal and it is a freelancing site which means you need to pay attention to payment terms and ensure that you’re properly covering your posterior on the deal. However, they’ve been around forever and have a better reputation than the last two entrants on our list.
We’re starting to scrape the barrel and an experienced developer from a Western nation ought not to be working via Upwork. There’s plenty of work on there but most of it is poorly paid and clients can be great or terrible. However, if you need to put food on the table – there’s no shame in taking a quick project via Upwork before finding a better job.
It may be the world’s biggest freelance site but that’s only because 90% of the clients and freelancers are from developing nations. Freelancer is where noobs cut their teeth for pennies while they’re at college. However, if you’re desperate – you can easily find work on Freelancer as long as you’re prepared to be paid a pittance for it.
It’s not hard to find remote work as a developer, in fact, it ought to be easier than in any other profession. As long as you have valuable skills, you ought to reach out via your network for opportunities in the first instance. Secondly, try finding a job or a company that you want to work for and going direct. Finally, if all else fails go with a job board. Good luck!