Can I Work from Home as a Programmer?
Aspiring computer programmers used to dream of working in San Francisco or New York and enjoy the most of startup office culture. Many still head that way, but another dream is beginning to emerge: It’s pajamas over khakis, cats over coworkers, and couch seating over hotdesks.
According to career site Glassdoor, searches for remote jobs have surged by 460% in the past two years. Computer programming is the perfect fit for this new, work from home-working-model. You can code from anywhere with the right machine and tools.
If you’re looking to land a remote career in programming, look no further. This article will explain how it works and where to find the right job, plus where to find training if you need it.
What do you need for remote programming jobs?
Work-from-home programming jobs are just like their in-person counterparts in terms of skill and technical requirements. The big difference is you won’t need to go into an office; everything you’ll need is under your roof (though you may want a mobile setup if you love to travel).
A basic work-from-home tech setup
Like other remote tech professionals, remote programmers need quality home office setups. That includes:
- A dedicated workspace with a comfortable desk and chair.
- Login information for essential tools like Github.
- A quality webcam for video conference meetings.
- Quality headphones and microphone for video and audio calls.
- Reliable high-speed internet.
- A laptop or desktop computer that is compatible with industry tools.
A programmer’s machine is their livelihood, so you’ll need a good one. Experts recommend:
- At least 4 GB of RAM, if not 8 GB or even 16 GB.
- A 256 solid-state hard drive.
- A 3 GHz-frequency processor.
- Official Linux support.
How many monitors should I have as a programmer?
You’ll probably want at least two monitors. Programmers prefer to have multiple monitors so they can dedicate one screen to writing and debugging code and another screen for viewing results. Some programmers also dedicate an additional monitor to meetings!
Will remote programming jobs give me hardware?
Some remote programming jobs give you specific hardware to use, but it’s smart to be prepared and have your own setup from the start. Having your own setup will make you feel more at home for everything job-related, whether that be job tasks, coding interviews—hands-on tests of your programming skills and computer knowledge—or even upskilling—learning more computing skills and completing class assignments.
Can I travel while working a remote job?
This answer depends on your company’s policies and your contractual obligations. Many remote work positions allow you to travel, so long as you can get your work done. In fact, many so-called “digital nomads” live this exact lifestyle: Taking advantage of remote work arrangements by traveling freely.
When traveling, though, you’ll need a portable device—preferably a laptop with at least all of the above specs plus at least six hours of battery life—and on-the-go tech peripherals, such as mobile wifi/hotspots and maybe even portable monitors.
What skills do I need to work from home as a programmer?
Work-from-home (WFH) coders require the same skills and use the same programming languages as their in-office counterparts. Some examples include:
You’ll also need strong communication skills because you’ll interact with your team virtually and by text or email. In both scenarios, you need to get your message across clearly and concisely.
How do computer programmers work from home?
Apart from a major interaction difference—remote and virtual communications instead of in-person—home-based computer programmers work in much the same way as their in-office counterparts do. The computer programmer’s primary task is to write and refine code for working applications and software. Most are also responsible for quality assurance — testing new code for bugs and security vulnerabilities and troubleshooting existing programs.
Programmers typically work on teams with other tech professionals and report to management and senior leadership. With remote work, consistently staying in touch is key for up-to-date communication and trust-building. Slack is a popular tool for email-style messaging and file sharing, and many WFH programmers keep it open for use throughout the day.
For meetings, remote programmers rely on Zoom and similar video conferencing tools. Daily meetings are normal in tech, but savvy team leaders try to let their coders work uninterrupted as much as possible. Computer programming is not the kind of job where you’ll spend all day in front of a live Zoom camera.
What percentage of computer programmers work from home?
Remote work has been trending among programmers for years. In 2016, one in five jobs in the popular site Hacker News mentioned remote work. By March of 2020, that number went up to 35%—almost two in five.
The global pandemic accelerated the work-from-home trend. By mid-2021, more than 75% of jobs published in Hacker News in mid-2021 mentioned remote work.
The percentage of remote workers is similar or higher in fields related to programming. In the 2021 State of Remote Engineering Report, 86% of software engineers reported working remotely full-time, and 76% of engineers say that they’d be happy working from home at least 60% of the time.
It’s unclear how many computer science and information technology professionals will work from home in the coming years. Preferences for remote versus in-office work are mixed, so it’s likely that both options will be available. Some programmers will opt for settings where they can talk through code in person, while others prefer a workday at home or on the road.
Different settings work for different programmers, and tech companies will respond with options to keep the best talent.
What computer programmer jobs offer remote work?
“Computer programmer” is only one of the remote positions you can get as a coder. In April 2021, U.S.News and World Report named software development as the #1 job to work from home. Computer systems analysts also made the list, but there are many more.
Other programming-related jobs that offer remote work opportunities include:
- Software engineer
- Mobile app developer
- Web developer
- Full-stack developer
- Back-end or front-end developer
- Computer systems engineer
- Network engineer
- Database administrator
How to find work from home programmer jobs
Job seekers have many work-from-home options, especially now that remote work is an accepted norm.
One option is to look for new jobs on LinkedIn, where you can specify “Remote” as the job location. At the time of this writing, more than 15,0000 jobs turned up in a search for remote computer programming work.
Other good sources for remote programming jobs include:
You can also go through a recruiter and request remote or remote-friendly opportunities. WeBuild Staffing exclusively places professionals in computer programming and related fields like full stack developers and systems engineers.
Next steps: Qualifying for work from home jobs in computer programming
In the past, most entry-level programmers had bachelor’s degrees. However, today the field has become much more accessible thanks to high-quality online education.
Many programmers today got their start in coding bootcamps, intensive short-term programs that cover today’s in-demand job skills. Bootcamps typically take four to nine months, depending on the program and courses involved.
If you’re not ready for an intensive learning experience, you can still get started with a stand-alone programming course. edX offers numerous free courses from top institutions like Harvard and MIT. Check out your options today, and get started on your journey as a work-from-home computer programmer.