Remote Working: The future of development and coding careers?

11 July 2016 By Alastair Cleland

1503 Original

​Amazon, Intuit, Salesforce, Adobe, Apple, (not to mention the world’s most exciting start-ups) - what do they all have in common? They’re all hiring developers to work remotely.

For many developers, it’s the absolute dream. Not only could you roll out of bed 2 minutes before work (if you even got out of bed at all), but you’d also never be snooped-on by your boss, or forced to waste hours in mind-numbing meetings. Ah, the freedom!

Remote working in the development community has become something of a phenomenon. Why? Partly, because it allows companies to access the best talent wherever it is in the world. But also, with web developers in such high demand, for those with the skills, the ball really is in the employee’s court to demand the lifestyle you want.

So, is remote working really the future of development?

Our consultant Paul Stokes, who chats to developers all day every day, certainly thinks so. In a recent LinkedIn blog, Paul described how “companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find talent in major cities like London where property prices and general living costs are just too out of this world.”

“I have come across many businesses who have actually built their whole company on the remote model and they are seeing huge success. They see better employee retention, save money on office space and see a huge increase in productivity.”

There’s an added bonus too. With remote work, it becomes all about the work, rather than your clock-in time - all-too-often used as the ‘gold standard’ of employees.

Jason Fried, author of Remote: Office Not Required, praises “the clarity [remote work] introduces. When it's all about the work, it's clear who in the company is pulling their weight and who isn't.”

The candidates Paul speaks to are increasingly requesting remote roles. “It makes sense,” says Paul, “I mean who wouldn't want to work for a global company, get paid western rates, stay in your home town, or even work from a beach?!”

What’s life actually like as a remote developer?

Yes, on a remote contract, you really could code from the beach. But is sand in the MacBook really ideal? What’s the Wi-Fi like on Ko Samui? And could you ignore the distractions galore?

Remember, there’s 2 parts to remote work: “remote”, yes, but also “work”!

To make remote work ‘work’, you’ll definitely need the right setup. Scott Danzig’s been coding for over 20 years. His top tip: start with an absolutely rock-solid internet connection. And have a reliable backup plan too.

Remote employee and company founder Ryan Wilcox goes further, detailing a full toolset of kit you’ll need, from hardware like a headset and a kettle to software like bug-trackers and chat tools. Not to mention “a quiet place to think.”

The remote lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Whilst you might feel elation saying sayonara to bosses and colleagues, there’s no denying it’ll be less social. You might miss out on events, chit chat, or just that feeling of being in a team.

But if that doesn’t phase you - why not dive in? Scott Danzing certainly didn’t regret it: “the benefits definitely far outweigh such concerns and challenges.” Take the plunge!