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Remote programming job is usually not an option

reg__ profile image Adam Sawicki Originally published at asawicki.info on ・2 min read

Every programmer these days receives lots of job offers from recruiters, especially if having profile on LinkedIn. Some people make fun of it. I used to ignore or reject them, telling that “sorry, I’m not looking for a new job at the moment, I’m happy with my current one”. For some time I started to do something different - I tell them that I’m not interested in relocation to California/​London/​Germany/​Iceland/​South Korea/​wherever and ask if I can work remotely. The answer is usually “no”.

This is contrary to a popular belief that programmers can often work from home. I have a remote job now, but this one is unique and I know such job is hard to find. Maybe it’s more frequent when someone develops web pages, mobile apps, or other small programs that a single person can make. A freelancer hunting for specific projects and tasks may have an opportunity to work from anywhere in the world. But if you want to work in a team of many programmers developing a large and complex project, they usually expect you to be full time on site.

You can come from any place in the world and have a great coding talent. You can study solid computer science at your local university or even learn by yourself from the Internet. But it’s unlikely you can make a world-class career or take part in state-of-the-art, innovative projects while staying in your small home town. For that you have to move to one of these technology hubs, like Silicon Valley. This is despite the developments in telecoferencing, Skype, Slack, etc.

Here are screenshots of 12 chats I had with recruiters on LinkedIn since the beginning of this year. I told them I don’t want to relocate and asked them if I could work remotely. 11 of them said “no”. Only 1 said it’s possible.

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Adam Sawicki

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All opinions are my own and do not reflect that of my employer.

Discussion

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This is 100% accurate.

In addition to not being remote, most developer roles advertised are:

  • Relatively low-paid
  • Of a temporary or fleeting nature
  • Repetitive grunt-work that don't build skills
  • Little flexibility in working hours or other conditions

It's the old 80/20 rule: a large number of low-value options and a small number of high-value ones.

Also, almost by definition, if someone is knocking at your door trying to sell you something, it's probably worthless, at least in market terms.

There are still well paid and/or remote and/or interesting jobs out there – with a lot of effort and a little luck, you can find them. This is why I find it necessary to put a lot of effort into sales, marketing and market-research, rather than just focussing on being a good developer. Being a good developer isn't going to help your career, if the people you want to work for don't even know you exist!

 

That's a good point! I totally agree with you.

 

please don’t. It’s fake news.

There is a lot of fake news around here. Let's say I'm a rookie and I only know Python. Why? It is because it's the language that they taught me back in School. It's not rare to find a rookie saying "Python is the best language ever!", Best language in comparison to what?. It's really cringing.

It also happens with buzzterms:

  • AI (aka statistic)
  • BigData (aka so many files or unstructured information around here).
  • Cloud (aka hosting).
  • Microservices (but finally they are doing old SOA).
  • Quantum computer

And one of my favorites, blockchain. Wallmart even promised that they reduced the costs of transporting bananas by 20% using blockchain. It's amazing because it is not how it works.