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Understanding Remote Software Engineering Jobs

Posted on 
February 24, 2021
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

Until recently, remote was considered to be the future of work. But a crisis accelerates impending change in societies, and thanks to the pandemic — remote work is one of those changes. Tech companies and software engineers were some of the early birds to go remote in the pre-Covid world. Tech companies such as Twitter and Shopify have switched to a permanent remote work policy.  

Many companies went fully remote during the pandemic permanently, while many have adopted a hybrid model, whereas some have taken to the remote route temporarily. This indicates that the world has realized how remote work allows for more flexibility, access to global talent, and increased productivity while reducing cost and saving money.

The win-win nature of this arrangement is making remote work an increasingly preferred option among many software professionals. In this post, we talk about why you should consider remote software engineering jobs as your next career stop.

In this article, we’ll cover.

  • Increasing popularity of remote jobs
  • What are the advantages of working remotely?
  • Why remote working is good for Software Developers
  • Remote working at FAANG and top tech companies
  • Comparing compensations — remote vs. onsite software engineering jobs
  • What tools do software engineers use when working remotely
  • What are the challenges of working remotely?
  • How to deal with drawbacks of remote work and tips for being productive
  • How to prepare for remote coding interviews for Big Tech / FAANG Companies
  • FAQs on remote 

Increasing Popularity of Remote Jobs

Globalization has opened up several avenues for people working remotely, allowing them to travel and settle in countries that offer better living and financial conditions. However, before 2020 (when working from home was not the norm), a software engineer's location played a critical role in their career prospects.

For instance, California — the home of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google (famously called FAANG companies) — was known as one of America’s technological hubs and attracted a myriad of techies from around the world.

However, with a shift in social paradigms, working for a company while living on the other side of the planet is not unrealistic anymore. Estimates suggest that 41.8% of the American workforce today work remotely – a staggering increase of 87% compared to before 2020. 

Further, 26.7 million American personnel will be working from home through 2021, and 36.2 million of the existing workforce will be working completely remote jobs by 2025.

The year 2020 also induced companies to restructure their operations and encouraged them to adopt remote-friendly work arrangements. What began as an immediate measure to keep the business operations running while not compromising employee safety has now proven to be an effective system that many companies intend to follow even after the pandemic.

How businesses benefit from the remote set-up:    

  • Companies can hire untapped talent from around the globe
  • It allows companies to recruit software engineers and developers from countries with lower GDP
  • They can build a diverse workforce
  • Due to varied time zones, companies can operate 24x7 and serve customers globally
  • Increased productivity by the workforce
  • Reduced overheads and Opex
  • Increased employee retention rates

Remote work has also evolved, thanks to technological developments. The Internet has penetrated into the farthest corners of the world as an easily accessible and affordable tool. 

How the world has adapted to a remote work setup in such a short time span during the pandemic is commendable. Given that most of us have experienced first-hand that we could seamlessly connect with one another, collaborate virtually, and work as teams from different corners of the world, most companies today are open to flexible working options. Many companies are offering their employees the option to either go fully or partially remote (hybrid models).

What Are the Advantages of Working Remotely As a Software Engineer?

We’ve talked about how incredible remote work is. But what makes it so great?

For starters, it works equally in favor of businesses and their workforce.

Let’s see what advantages you have when working remotely.

  • You can work from anywhere - Your work will not be tied to a specific physical location, so you can easily work in the comfort of your home or the coffee shop near you.  .
  • You save money - Another perk of remote software engineer jobs is that they help you save some bucks. When working from home, you don’t need to travel down to your workplace every day, saving you commuting costs.

    You also have better chances of cooking meals at home and save some extra cash that you would’ve otherwise spent on eating out. Moreover, not working in an office invariably means that you will also require fewer “work” clothes; so, you can bid goodbye to unnecessary shopping.
  • Flexible Schedule - Software engineers typically work 9-to-5 jobs, which makes their schedule rather stringent. On the other hand, remote working offers you the luxury to customize your work schedule as long as you meet deadlines. So, if you are a night owl – rejoice! You can now clock in your eight hours a day without starting your work at 9 AM.

    Also, you can take breaks when you wish and use the time as you want.

    Need 10 minutes off of work? Go ahead and listen to your favorite tunes or take a power nap, and then get back to work feeling more refreshed. However, do not misconstrue this to mean that you can slack off; you’ll still have deadlines to meet.
  • Increases Productivity - As mentioned earlier, a work from home model inevitably leads to increased employee productivity. It is a lot easier to focus when you are working in seclusion. This working model puts an end to impromptu meetings and chatting over coffee, which can be productivity downers.

    It also reduces distractions, task switching, and multitasking by employees. In fact, numerous studies back this up by indicating an astounding 47% increase in work productivity in remote jobs.
  • Work-life Balance - On the whole, remote jobs offer you a greater sense of freedom in your work life. When working, you can give the entirety of your attention and energy to the job at hand. Similarly, you can also enjoy leisure and have some me-time after you call it a day.

    As a result, you will attain equilibrium in your work and personal life, eliminating chronic stress and burnout.

Why Remote Working Can Be Good for Software Developers

Remote software development jobs are very popular among software developers. Right from well-funded startups to tech giants like FAANG, they wish to recruit good software developers. One of the perks that tier 1 companies offer is the option to work remotely.

Several studies have concluded that remote developers are happier, more productive, and focused when working from home. So, you can harness flexible hours to optimize your schedule and work when you feel the most productive, as long as you deliver work on time.  

As the tech industry continues to boom and the trend of remote work rises, more businesses will be recruiting software developers in large numbers. Most of them will be working from remote locations across the globe. Therefore, software developers will gain access to international jobs and projects, benefiting programmers from developing and developed parts of the world. 

Remote work is turning the world into an even playfield as far as software engineers are concerned.

Remote Working at FAANG and Top Tech Companies

Remote working allows you to step out of the traditional work environment and meet work commitments from practically anywhere. Several organizations, especially those in the tech industry, have implemented this arrangement, converting conventional software roles into remote software engineer jobs.

Workdays in remote software jobs aren’t drastically different from the traditional on-site jobs. There are meetings, collaborations, and brainstorming, but they are done through digital tools that connect developers working across different physical locations.

This system, too, has its pros and cons (which we shall delve into later), but the point here is this – remote work is here to stay. According to a survey conducted by 451 Research, 67% of the companies surveyed expect to permanently enforce a work from home model.

So, what do FAANG CEOs think of remote software development jobs? Well, most of them give remote working a seal of approval, thanks to a sharp incline in employees’ productivity under this model. However, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos expect their workforce to head back to physical offices to avoid communication hiccups.

On the contrary, Mark Zuckerberg plans to position Facebook as the most forward-leaning company in terms of remote work. He sees 50% of the company’s workforce permanently working from home over the next 5 to 10 years.

But this is not all. If you are currently looking for the best remote software engineer jobs, here is the cherry on the cake – Facebook is hiring employees specifically for remote working. FAANG companies like Google and Apple have extended their work from home policies to the end of 2021. Also, as we mentioned, big names in the digital space like Twitter, Square, and Dropbox have allowed their employees to work from home permanently.

Companies That Hire for Remote Software Developer Jobs

We have rounded up a list of companies that commonly hire remote software developers so you can select the ones you’d prefer to work with. 

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • CrowdStrike
  • GitHub
  • Oracle
  • Slack
  • Twilio
  • Twitter
  • Spotify
  • SAP
  • VMware
  • Salesforce

Comparing Compensations — Remote vs. Onsite Software Engineering Jobs

The common line of query about remote software development jobs hovers over the monetary aspect of these positions. Do you get paid less when working remote jobs?

Well, a remote software engineer job pays you just as much as an onsite one. In fact, remote jobs not only offer the same salaries, but they also offer the same benefits and perks. Plus, they are equally rewarding and flexible.

Working from home is no longer viewed as a privilege but a regular way of fulfilling your role, a change in mindset that can be attributed to the pandemic to a large extent. Therefore, compensation-wise remote software jobs are no different from the traditional ones.

What Tools Do Remotely Working Software Engineers Use?

There are numerous tools available that simplify remote working. They facilitate communication and project management efficiently so that your work remains unhindered. 

Some of the most widely used tools that software developers use when working remotely are:

  • Slack
  • Discord
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts
  • GitHub
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • InVision
  • CodePen
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox

What Are the Challenges of Working Remotely?

Now let us take a look at the flipside — the cons of this remote work model. Although preferred by a huge chunk of the global workforce, remote software engineering jobs may not suit everyone. 

Here’s why:

  • Self-management and discipline - A remote job will test your self-management skills, discipline, and productivity every day. Do you give your best efforts even when you are not under strict supervision? Ideally, your answer to this question should be affirmative, but truth be told, there exists a temptation to slack off in this situation.
  • Distractions - Remote work has a reputation of eliminating unnecessary distractions but gives rise to a whole new set of distractions at home. Daily chores, family, and even your pets can often steer your attention away from work and come in the way of your productivity.
  • Communication - Lastly, one of the most common challenges in remote jobs is the lack of communication. No matter how adept we are with modern-day technologies, nothing beats a good old face-to-face conversation. While conversing one-on-one with your team members or manager is fairly simple on a digital platform, group communication can often be tricky. As a result, collaboration and brainstorming sessions can be rather difficult when employees are working from home.

How to Deal With Drawbacks of Remote Work

Although remote software engineer jobs have downsides, you can effectively breeze through them by taking some simple yet calculated steps. Here are some ways how you can deal with the drawbacks of remote jobs:

Communicate

“How to communicate when working remotely: overcommunicate.”
—Sahil Lavingia, Founder of Gumroad

Both employers and employees see hindrances in communication as the most common issue when working remotely. To eliminate this problem, make extra efforts to communicate with your superiors, subordinates, and team members. 

Communicating often doesn’t mean an excessive number of meetings or calls, but to have regular check-ins with your team and manager, so all stakeholders are aware of the latest progress updates.

Set Up a Workspace

When working a remote job, you must have a designated workspace to get in the “zone” and avoid distractions. Believe us; it works wonders. Also, ensure that you have a well-functioning laptop and mobile phone that can handle your daily workload.

If you’re going to work remotely for a long time, it would be a good idea to invest in some ergonomic office-like furniture and decorate the space to your liking. That’s another reason why remote working gives you more freedom — you can have your desk and workspace decorated just the way you want!

Practice Self-discipline

It is rightly said that the first and the best victory is to conquer the self. However, it is also the toughest to accomplish. A lack of constant supervision will further aggravate this problem. When working a remote job, you must check yourself and your daily goals and targets. For this, we suggest that you create a schedule and follow it diligently.

Build Boundaries

When working remotely, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of work. Therefore, make sure that you also step away from your workspace and take breaks. Remember, good fences make good neighbors. 

So, fence off your workstation as well as the amount of time you spend at it. You can use your break time to recharge and relax, then head back to work feeling more refreshed. Taking timely breaks to refresh yourself will also pump up your productivity.

Tips for a Productive Day When Working From Home

Here are some tips to make your workday as a remote software engineer productive and effective:  

  1. Maintain regular working hours
  2. Create and follow a morning routine  
  3. Set ground rules with people around you for your working hours
  4. Get comfortable office-like furniture
  5. Schedule breaks
  6. Go outside at least once a day
  7. Use a planner
  8. Stay off social media during working hours

How to Prepare for Remote Coding Interviews for Big Tech/FAANG Companies

FAANG recruiters typically look for the following skills in candidates:

  • Exceptional coding skills
  • Testing code as you write it
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Communication skills

Plus, it’s common knowledge that these coding interviews at FAANG are extremely competitive. So, brace yourself; however, do not get intimidated by it. Rather, prepare to stand out by intensifying your preparation. 

Here are some tips to crack remote coding interviews with FAANG and large tech companies:

  1. When presented with a task to write codes, ask clarifying questions and fully understand the challenge before diving into it. This signifies that you wish to see the whole picture and reason it out. 
  2. Think out loud and talk to your interviewer(s) through the process. By doing this, you will offer them a window into your thoughts through which they can evaluate your problem-solving abilities.
  3. Speak concisely, clearly, and calmly. We understand that such intensive coding interviews can give you the jitters, but you must keep a cool head. Further, make sure that you focus on your vocabulary and lucidly explain seemingly complex concepts.
  4. If a circumstance arises wherein you are stuck, try coming up with new ideas and solutions. This will further demonstrate your thought process to the interviewer, and you will get brownie points for not succumbing to pressure.

All of this may seem to be quite difficult to do in the face of a grueling interview, but with practice, it’ll come to you naturally. 

If you need professional help in helping you prepare for coding interviews at FAANG and big tech companies of the world, register for this FREE webinar by Interview Kickstart, where we discuss how to crack these interviews and land your next dream job.

Frequently Asked Questions on Working Remotely as a Software Engineer

1. How do you find a remote software engineer job?

The job opportunities for software engineers are aplenty if you know where to look for them. You can try searching for remote jobs at all job portals, freelance marketplaces, recruitment agencies, online/offline job listings, as well as by contacting companies that are hiring at the moment.

2. How efficiently can software development work in a remote setting?

Software developers generally perform their tasks without needing to depend too much on other departments. As a result, they do not require constant communication. In fact, software developers were one of the first professionals to work remotely due to the flexibility of their profession.

3. Will I be able to switch to an onsite job after having worked as a remote software developer?

Speaking about remote software engineering jobs in today’s world, there’s practically no difference between an onsite and remote job. Any time you decide to change your preference of working remotely to an office premise, you’re free to do. Working remotely will not make you any less credible as a software engineer. Even the compensations are the same for both.

4. If I ask recruiters for a remote-working option, will my chances of getting hired slim down?

No. As a future employee of a company, you can always be vocal about your preferences. If the company policy allows for remote working, there won’t be any problem. 

Even if that’s not the case, most companies will consider remote arrangements if you are the right fit for the role. They’ll let you know when that’s not possible, in which case you get to decide whether or not to proceed with your application. You won’t be judged for expressing your preferences.

Going Remote?

What matters in your career the most is to find rewarding work. If a remote work setup suits you more than an onsite one, you have plenty of opportunities in the software engineering world. All you have to do is crack the interview, and you’re all set to solve the pressing problems of the world using technology, irrespective of where you work from!

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