Tips for Finding a Remote IT Job
Cloud computing, big data, and personal electronic devices are creating a “perfect storm” of good news for job seekers in the computer and information technology field. The very nature of the industry lends itself to working from home, and flexible job openings continue to be robust, particularly for people looking for a remote IT job.
Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a projected growth of 12% in computer and information technology occupations through 2024. What’s more, according to the federal agency’s data, the money is good. Skilled IT professionals earn a median annual wage of nearly $83,000, significantly higher than the median wage of about $37,000 a year for all other occupations.
So what’s the best way to get hired if you’re in the market for a remote IT job? It helps to have the right training and education, for sure. As with careers across many industries, remote IT jobs aren’t one-size-fits-all. Fact is, there’s a long list of job titles that fall under the work-from-home IT umbrella. Here are just a few sample IT job titles:
- web developer
- systems analyst
- database administrator
- DevOps engineer
- UI/UX designer
- Ruby on Rails engineer
- software engineer
- network architect
- IT analyst
- help desk support technician
Given that diverse list (which is far from complete), it makes sense to figure out your career direction before launching your job search for flexible computer & IT jobs. Understanding IT sub-categories such as software development, system administration, computer security, or technical support may be an additional way to help you find your focus. That said, if your background, training, and experience are in the computer and IT sector, what’s the best way to land a great flexible job that allows you to work virtually?
Here are a few tips for finding a remote IT job:
Get the right training and education.
It may seem obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to emphasize that focusing your educational background on the specific job you’re after can boost your prospects. What does that mean for people seeking remote IT jobs? A help desk or computer support technician, for example, may require only an associate’s degree in information technology or a related IT certification that can be earned online or at your local community college. However, if you’re looking for a mid-level job or higher, the prospective employer’s educational requirements may demand at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like computer science, information security, or IT management.
Additionally, some employers may require specialized certifications, particularly if you’re looking to find work related to, say, computer language programming or cyber security. Start by researching general certifications in computer science to understand how to match your skills and career aspirations to the job market. People looking for remote IT jobs in the cyber security field may find it worthwhile to determine which IT computer security certifications might best meet their career goals.
Set up a state-of-the-art home office.
This much is true for all remote job seekers: you’ll need the most up-to-date home office and equipment that you can muster. If you’re looking for remote IT jobs, the technological bar is set even higher. Beyond rote tech equipment like a late-model computer and reliable high-speed Internet, you’ll likely need to have in place some additional tools of the trade that demonstrate your ability to meet any high-level technical needs of your prospective employer.
An employer will likely test the functionality of your home office set-up to make sure you can do the job from home, beyond testing your skills to confirm your capability. In some instances, employers may even offer remote workers home office equipment. In this competitive field, you’ll stand out as a strong candidate if you already possess much of what’s needed for the job, technologically speaking, and have it in place in a dedicated home office.
Target your search to ensure the right flexibility.
Not all computer and IT jobs are created equal when it comes to work flexibility, particularly when it comes to remote work. To be sure, because of the inherent technical nature of IT work, the computer and IT sector offers a huge array of work-from-home opportunities. But some remote IT jobs may require you to come into a bricks-and-mortar office occasionally, while other positions may be more fully virtual.
If it’s your job search goal to be fully remote, it’s incumbent upon you to investigate each position separately to determine the degree to which you can work virtually. And while you’re at it, you may also want to look into whether a specific position is a freelance or contract job that better suits your short-term career goals, versus a staff position that might offer longer-range employment, along with potential benefits like health insurance.
Stay up to date with your IT skills and network.
Perhaps more than in most other industries, it’s imperative for applicants looking for remote IT jobs to keep up with ever-evolving technologies and innovations, to make sure their training doesn’t lag behind industry standards. On top of that, it’s a good idea to check up and self-test on professional skills that could make you an even more attractive job candidate.
As you continue your IT training and education, make sure to keep your resume updated with both your soft skills and hard skills (more tech-oriented standards like certifications). As your job search evolves, stay focused on your resume with an eye toward updating it as needed, and work to customize your resume to each individual job application.
What’s the upshot? If you’re looking for great remote jobs, seek out employers who’ve embraced work flexibility and demonstrated their commitment to creating a productive work environment for remote employees. As an IT professional, that commitment could go a long way toward helping you nurture your IT career over the long haul.
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By Adrianne Bibby | Categories: Work Remotely