Journal

How To: Be a Remote Software Developer

WiFi Tribe Jamaica

In a day and age when the internet rules all things, it's pretty obvious that jobs within the technology industry are constantly booming, evolving and offering more and more opportunities. Having said this, it's also common knowledge that one of the most remote friendly jobs is a Software Developer, among other software related job titles (see: Software Engineer or Dev Ops).

While this profession is one of the most accepted within the digital nomadic community, this does not mean that it is the easiest (because frankly, no remote job is 100% easy, it's simply preferable to some that enjoy mixing business and an ever evolving scenery.). Every remote position requires dedication, reliability and overall skill at what you do, whereas a Software Developer has an added list of crucial skills in order to be successful (mainly knowledge of coding language and attention to detail). 

We, as a tribe, have taken it upon ourselves to share some knowledge of past tribers to get a good sense of how they have made the digital nomad life work for them, while maintaining their careers. Our ultimate goal is to educate those who may be questioning if this lifestyle if something that is doable for them, or could potentially influence them into taking that leap into something new and exciting! Regardless, we want you to be prepared with the information and hold realistic expectations prior to solidifying next steps.

Here is the inside scoop from one of our very own:

Position | Functional Role:

Julia is a Software Developer for Harvest and considers her main responsibilities to be building new functionalities or fixing bugs for Harvest and Forecast (the apps they build). They work in small teams and everybody is involved in every stage of the development process, from preliminary discussions until the functionality is built and available to everybody and even after that when they get to answer questions/complaints/feedback from their users.

Hours | Pay Scale | Benefits:

Julia works around 35 hours per week Monday to Friday. Harvest HQ are in NYC (EDT Timezone) but are not required to work on that timezone, as you can see here, their employees are spread all over North America and Europe. However, they do try to overlap at least 3 or 4 hours a day to keep up with real-time communication. 

As a full-time contractor with Harvest, Julia gets paid a flat rate. But she also grabs extra work on the side if she has time (most recently teaching and mentoring for the Ironhack Bootcamp where she charges by the hour). For other global companies, keep in mind that your salary may differ depending on what region you are located and what skillsets you possess. Additionally, you may not get the same working for an Spanish company than working for an American company, and it's not the same in NYC than in SF (cost of living def. plays a factor geographically). All in all, a Senior Software Developer can earn ~120k a year for a full-time job.  

Other companies that are known for their global employee roster are 10up, Arkency and Automattic. Check out this full list of remote companies that come highly recommended in the tech world. 

Even though she works as a contractor, Julia gets almost the same benefits as everybody else in the company (conferences, education, equipment, team events etc).

Attributes for Success:

Most important is internet connection and a computer! Basically all of your communication back and forth is going to be through email or messaging/project management applications so internet is a number one priority to stay in touch and to submit your work.

Training/Education:

While Julia has a degree in Computer Science, she says it's not necessary to become a Software Developer. All the information that you possibly need is available online for free, there are full-time bootcamps in almost every country, free and paid online tools with really good courses, meetups where people are willing to teach you... etc.

What she would not recommend is to start working as a Software Developer in a remote position, At the beginning, it's super important that you take advantage of the mentorship that your senior colleagues can provide and that's easier/faster to get on-site. 


We're hoping this gives you a nice rundown of what it's like to be a remote Software Developer; if this is the career for you, have a look and see if Harvest is hiring! At the very least, have a look at their website and see if you can get a better understanding of what this type of remote company is looking for in an employee. As an added bonus, here is a complete list of companies currently hiring (subject to change of course). 

Once the job is all sorted, if the next stage if your transition into the digi-nomadic world includes looking for an awesome group of like minded digital nomads to travel to amazing places with, don't hesitate to apply and join the tribe! We would love to have you add to our ongoing adventures around the world. Stay up to date with where we are now as well, since we have just launched two simultaneous chapters on different continents (so you can see which might appeal to you more!)