You’re dreaming about a full time remote job, deciding where to work from, not having to wake up early to get ready to go to the office, and having the peace and quiet that you need to do your job properly…
Luckily for you, with more and more companies offering remote work opportunities since the global pandemic, this dream can easily become reality. Not only does remote work offer you more freedom to create your ideal work-life balance, according to a Stanford University professor, Nicholas Bloom, it actually increases productivity! What’s more, it allows employees to work wherever they want, and however they want. If you’re a tech professional with an unshakable wanderlust, then there’s nothing stopping you from travelling around the world, whilst being able to continue working in a role you love.
So, if you’ve decided that it’s time to wave goodbye to that 9-5 office job for good, read on below for KWAN’s guide to the top 10 skills you need to break into remote tech, and go back to working on your own terms - now without a pandemic preventing you from leaving your city!
10 Skills You Need to Get Yourself a Remote Role in Tech
1. Technical Expertise
In order to land any remote role in the tech industry, you need to be able to demonstrate that you already have the skills and technical knowledge required for the role from the get-go. Unlike the office job, which provides easy access to training and mentoring alongside your everyday tasks, working remotely requires a lot more independence and initiative. While you can schedule virtual coaching sessions and support from your superiors, this will require more effort on your part, so be sure that you are willing to go the extra mile if you feel as though you still have more to learn. We would suggest brushing up on the basics before you apply to any remote role, so as to ensure you are ready for the interview. Once this is done, make sure your CV speaks volumes, and cater your application to fit the role or the company you are applying for. If they require certain skills, or request experience with specific databases and softwares, then incorporate these into your profile, and employment history.
2. Communication Skills
While an essential skill in most industries, your ability to effectively communicate is particularly important as a remote worker. It is vital that you can confidently interact with people regardless of their location. While one might assume that all you need is a solid understanding of tech and coding to land a remote role in the industry, being able to communicate, and to tailor your language or communication style according to each specific circumstance, is fundamental to ensure you perform to the standard required and expected of you. Find out what communication style suits you and your peers best (and this article can help) be it email, phone or video calls, and be sure to remain approachable to colleagues, no matter how far away they might be from you physically! Whether you need to train a new starter, or there’s an issue that needs to be fixed in another department that calls for your help, the key is to always be on hand, so even though you may be halfway across the world, your company knows they can rely on you.
3. Video Calls
As mentioned above, video calling and online virtual conferences have become one of the most popular methods of professional industries since the global pandemic. The majority of working professionals around the world are now more than familiar with this method of interaction among colleagues. But to shine as a video call expert, you need to take a step further. Are you able to solve video call related issues, such as the microphone or camera not working due to privacy issues? And can you help your colleagues do the same while working remotely? Can you work with more than one video call platform such as Zoom, Google Meet or Skype? Can you easily adapt to a platform you have never worked before?
Being able to show that you can confidently, effectively, and clearly express yourself through this method of communication is a highly valued skill for a remote tech professional, so be sure you include a reference to it in your CV!
4. Team Player
Of course, this skill is much easier to put into action when sitting in an office with your tech pals. However, it can still be managed while working remotely, most effectively through the use of messaging programmes such as Slack and Trello. If you are familiar with digital business tools like these, make sure to mention this when applying for a role. If you can showcase your collaborative skills in a professional scenario, perhaps offering a past example of how you worked in a team remotely (even if it was only during Covid-19 quarantine!) and demonstrate that your job was as awesome as if you were in the office, this will put you in very good stead, placing you above other candidates applying for the same role.
To exercise flexibility in the tech industry is a skill, arguably more important than any other, since it is an industry that continuously evolves at every corner. Not only should you be able to keep on top of current softwares and systems, but you must make sure to show your interest in updating yourself on the latest technologies and new industry trends. Adaptability is crucial, and you need to be able to show that you are not afraid of taking on challenges and trying something new. It’s essential that you are able to adapt quickly to change, delays or issues when you don’t have people around you to offer immediate support or advice.
6. Time Management
If you thought managing your time in a 9-5 was challenging, then you best get ready to step it up a little! If you’re working for a different timezone (even if only temporarily) you’ll have to consider the timezone of your colleagues and adapt to it. Perhaps waking up earlier or finishing the day a few hours later. And if several members of your team are working from different time zones that could be even more challenging, especially if you need recurrent video calls to perform your job.
By the way, how many hours of difference will still allow you to work comfortably? What’s the limit? Check this article for some orientation!
With remote perks comes more responsibility when considering the organisation of your working day. Are you an early riser, and like to get all of the hard work done in the morning so you can do the easy tasks when the end of the day approaches? Or do you think you’re more productive starting off by the easy tasks, and then moving your focus to the hard ones?
Whatever kind of working timetable you believe fits for you, remember that your boss won’t suddenly show up at your desk, so as long as you get the work done to the standard and timing expected of you, all organisation methods are accepted. Here are some tips that might help you spread out your day, as taking breaks is very important when working remotely.
8. Perfect your Workspace
When we say remote work, your mind might jump to lying on a beach in some tropical island, with a laptop in one hand and a pina colada in the other. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like this. In order to be a successful remote worker in the tech industry, you have to make sure you set your workspace up around you in order to maximise productivity. Even the smallest things such as maintaining good posture and doing some exercise during the day will help improve your productivity. Read our article on tips to feeling better and boosting productivity as a tech professional.
9. Taking the Initiative
From coding programmes to website and software development, tech professionals must always be ready to step out of their comfort zone, and not be afraid to take the initiative when necessary. This might be anything from asking for a meeting, or suggesting an innovative way of solving an issue. While working as a remote tech worker, strategic thinking and quick problem-solving are very important skills, but being able to communicate those strategies and solutions is an essential one.
So while working remotely, make sure you don’t shy away from taking the initiative, and if you don’t find an opportunity to expose your ideas - ask for one!
Although we have already explored communication skills and teamwork a lot, being aware of your teammates' well-being, not only from a professional standpoint but also a personal one, is particularly important when you don’t get to see them in the office. While remote working, if your colleagues are going through a particularly stressful or painful situation - whether that be work-related or not - it might not be so easy to pick up on during virtual interactions. Then one day when they suddenly hand in their notice out of nowhere, you might ask yourself:
Why didn’t they say anything to me? I could have helped."
This is why we suggest being virtually present, not only for work matters, but also making time to check up on your colleagues, scheduling informal video calls, or perhaps even arranging to meet up after work if you’re both in the same city. Besides, being able to maintain your social life among fellow employees, while working remotely, will definitely help improve your popularity in the company, and make long meetings more enjoyable!
10 Skills You Need to Get Yourself a Remote Role in Tech: Final Thoughts
So there we have it! All of these skills will put you ahead of other candidates when applying for a remote role in the tech industry, so make sure to demonstrate them on your application and when you get asked for an interview.
We hope this guide will help you in securing your exciting new role in tech. If you don’t know where to start, at KWAN, we’re happy to help you find the job that perfectly matches your tastes and preferences - including it being fully remote! Get in touch today.