Hi everyone, from what I’ve read online its not recommended for a new dev to work remote for their first job. What if you live in a location where your only chance of getting a job is a remote position and relocating isn’t an option?
I mean I dont agree with that. Remote jobs have skyrocketed because no one wants to go back to the office. Its not essential for people to be in a office to get work done in my opinion, but I do see the upside that being in an office can bring. However, my first job has been 100% remote, and that is not going to change anytime soon. I still get my work done, and the team is constantly in communication throughout the day. I use both teams and google space to stay in communication with my current team, or team from previous projects. I have several meetings at the beginning of the day where everything is communicated and questions or concerns about project can be raised. What exactly was the issue in working remote from what you read?
Good to hear! Ive just read that you will learn good practices and possibly pick up things faster with the help of others in an office setting. I would have no issue working at an office if i found a position close by. Im still far off from applying but i just get a little concerned that someone going the self taught route and trying to start remote will be a hard thing to find. Im doing my best to make sure when its time to apply that i know as much as i can. Im an electrician so im so used to what i do now and am pretty nervous about making the transition
Most of the time the issues with remote work are primarily tied to the fact your still physically by yourself staring at a screen.
Online video meetings are close to real life, but not a full replacement to in-person meetings. If you ever find yourself wanting to turn your camera off and pick up your phone, your falling into the issues with video meetings, they are still you staring at a screen, which is what your doing the rest of the day as well. If your staring at a bunch of avatar/profile pictures with people talking you end up even further away from reality. Even if everyone has their camera’s on and are happy and smiling, you might realize no one “looks each other in the eye” due to camera placement which makes the whole interaction somewhat off. All these tiny things sound like something to dismiss, but they all do effect communication. Overall you can get work done and still learn, but it isn’t a 1-to-1.
This can affect early job prospects because it becomes you can end up feeling more isolated. Some companies are good about this and make sure employees are supported even if they are fully remote. Plenty of remote-only companies work fine, but many aren’t remote-online, or just plainly don’t care thus resulting in a worse overall experience. This doesn’t consider if the employee themselves has issues with remote only work. Being self-disciplined is a requirement of the job, as otherwise you can just literally stop working. There’s plenty of stories of people who “fake” working by keeping their green dot from going away, and plenty of companies who become suspicious of their workers because of this.
Finally, if you noticed all of this is just for remote work of any kind, not just development work. Something as simple as asking for help could become a huge pain because no one is responding, or you have technical problems locally (“can you hear me?”, “Your sharing the wrong screen”, etc) If your learning development its really hard to beat being able to physically ask another human directly next to you for help. You can come close with all these remote tools, but it wont be a full replacement. How much of an impact it has then depends on how well these tools are used within the company, and how disciplined the individual is at leveraging them.
I know of a few people who started out working remote the found it harder than once they finally got a in-person position, where they were able to “accelerate” their learning and work more directly. This is completely anecdotal though.
It isn’t recommended, but you have to do what you have to do. I’d still recommend saying on applications your willing to relocate, and then if you get far enough where it becomes an actual concern you have to bail.
As always, it depends.
These days teams are much better set up to support remote collaboration than they were three years ago. Historically you were much more isolated if you worked remotely, so newbie devs couldn’t get the mentoring they needed or the supervision the company wanted. I would argue that it is still much easier to join as a new developer at an in-person office than remotely. Working remotely effectively requires a lot of independence, strong communication, and the confidence to initiate conversations with other developers. In my experience, brand new devs often struggle with knowing when to ask for help as well as the confidence to reach out to strangers. When working remotely, it’s much more easy to find yourself spinning your wheels or struggling without anyone noticing.
Naturally, some teams have more remote-compatible habits, policies, and people than others. And some junior devs are more successful in that environment than others.
I think it would be fair to say that hiring processes might have higher requirements for entry level applicants who would be working remotely. With less of a safety net, we need to feel a bit more confident in both your technical experience and your communication style.
Yeah, there are two things here:
- work ethic - The company may not be sure that you will put in the time and effort - you are unproven
- access - An entry level dev benefits a great deal from interacting with other devs on a daily basis. Being able to pop over to their cubicle and ask them a question or them being able to see if you’re struggling with something benefits both you and the company.
That being said, there has been a shift to remote work being more common. But it still will be a hard sell, when it is already difficult to get that first job.
I agree, my first job was remote, I can’t see what benefit I would have got from sitting in an office with colleagues. And there would have been a tonne of downsides, including an expensive/time consuming commute and inability to focus in an uncomfortable office setting.
Here’s a few general remote working tips:
Post questions in group chats rather than direct to individuals in order to start conversations with all stakeholders (e.g, product managers and developers will have a stake in determining whether a story/piece of work is complete or not, so best establishing acceptance criteria before coding if it’s not clear).
Make your questions as specific as possible. Outline all relevant information, any error messages, what you’ve tried, what you expected and what the result was.
If responses are too slow. Politely push for a response. Tag all relevant people and post in group chats for visibility. You’re not ‘bothering’ people by doing this. As a junior member of staff you’re entitled to help and this is understood in any good company.
Different strokes for different folks. I would struggle by virtue of being in an uncomfortable office setting. I’d also be exhausted and in a bad mood from the commute, and less able to focus. Slack is more efficient for q & a. Personally I don’t see a benefit.
What if it was a short commute? What if the office is actually nice?
There’s good offices and bad offices. Same way you can still get distracted at home depending on your discipline.
Due to the expansion of remote work, a lot of companies create a lot of incentives to come in to the office. This is especially true for bigger and smaller companies.
Bigger ones will usually provide large incentives, such as free food, parties, events, free-stuff-in-general. They usually have an investment in their properties and want to make the most of them.
Smaller ones have the flexibility to plan entire get-togethers for any number of reasons, or possibly not even be in the office, and end up working somewhere else just for the heck of it.
I’ve had my fair share of zoom events, and they can be a nice break from the usual zoom meeting, but they don’t really match getting to be in person. Plus, my food at home kinda sucks haha!
Commutes themselves do offer something “good” in the sense you get time to actually pause and reset before you get home. Its well known that its very easy to run into burn out and bring work home if your always at home. This doesn’t mean your commute has to be hours long, but having any kind of context switch is sometimes good for your brain. And yes you could do this at home, but its up to you to know how to do it right.
I started working partially remote pre-pandemic to save on the commute time. I still found it useful to meet in person up until the pandemic. Once we went fully remote during the pandemic, communication broke down pretty clearly. This didn’t have to be the case, but it did happen.
There’s clear pros and cons when it comes to working fully remote, and it doesn’t always work for everyone and every case. It depends on the person, their job and their circumstances.
For example, I had one co-worker who made the commute into the office during the pandemic. Simply because they found they couldn’t work at home due to their kids also being home and thus keeping them from being able to focus.
With all that said, working in the office with a commute can also suck and has its own pros and cons.
I mean sure if that’s your bag, go for it
I would heavily recommend against any relocation for the purposes of a job though. The tech sector is in chaos atm and layoffs are unexpected and plentiful. You don’t want to move somewhere for a job with a new lease on an apartment to be stuck there jobless 3 months later.
But with the above in mind, I know that in my city, pay for devs is terrible compared to the general market rate. But I can get the market rate by working remote…
Thank you all for the help! For me i don’t believe discipline would be an issue at all. I know its apples to oranges but im a licensed master electrician who is part owner in a small company, when i first got started in my trade i knew nothing, i watched my boss like a hawk and asked a million questions along the way. In addition id spend hours upon hours of studying on my own time to learn what i didnt learn on the job. I have an obsession with learning and don’t mind filling in the gaps when needed. I’m almost 100 days into learning to code and even with the typical 11hr day with travel for work and 2 very young kids i still manage 3-5 hours a day to dedicate to learning code and truly believe when the day comes to make the transition and im able to dedicate full time to web development that I will be fine working remote. With the current state of the economy i plan to just continue to learn, eventually build projects and when the time is write i will put myself out there for a position. I thank everyone for their responses, i guess im just nervous that when the time comes that i would be overlooked being self taught and looking for remote work but i will keep pushing forward and refuse to not make this goal of mine a reality.
I think leveraging your background, even if its not directly tech, can help get you a position in the future. The main advantage is you have a lot to “advertise” in regards to past experiences.
For example, knowing you already went from “zero to hero” in the past, and run your own business is a “selling point” that can help you stand out.
For example, you could be up against a recent CS grad who just spent 4 years learning relevant stuff for a given job, but have no job experience. You on the other hand can clearly show you have no problems learning on the job, continually learning and achieve a high degree of excellence, as you’ve already done it.
Of course you’ll need to have some relevant experience to be able to approach the job and show that you have learned parts needed for the job at hand just fine yourself.
I say keep at it, keep doing what your doing and find the position that is right for you. The fact your self taught is both an advantage and disadvantage. The fact you’ve successfully done it before just means carrying over whatever methods you used the first time for this new domain.
Good luck, keep learning, keep building
thank you for the kind words. I definitely will. Im not only doing this for me but my family as well
Agree with this. Technical experience of any kind is all good/relevant. The most important factor is commitment and it sounds like you have that as well
Purely out of interest why are you transitioning? I’ve heard the trades pay well and are in demand?
Hi @Jrm88 !
Welcome to the forum!
I work for a remote company and love it. Especially since I live in a large city and traffic here sucks. So it is nice to have a job where I can work from home.
I have seen that a lot too on forums and the main thing has to deal with communication.
There are employers that feel more comfortable keeping an eye on juniors and they feel like it would be easier to do in an office setting as opposed to a virtual one.
My main piece of advice is to communicate with your colleagues throughout the day. Don’t feel compelled to give hourly updates or be glued to the company Slack channel. But you don’t want your colleagues and managers to wonder where you have been all week because you have been so quiet.
A lot of companies will have daily sync meetings, or regular sync meetings through the week were you can give status updates. Also, some will want you to post updates at the end of the day. Also, make sure to reach out for help when you get stuck instead of spinning your wheels alone for days on end.
As long as you are asking questions and participating in the work culture, then you will be fine.
There are both merits and demerits of 1st job being remote.
In current scenario; I would suggest just grab what’s in your plate and start learning.
You can join local meetup to share your knowledge and learn from them; in case you miss in office work or need more interaction.
If your colleague/s are in same city, have weekly lunch / coffee meeting to build close working relationship.
All the very best with your job.
Having worked both in-person and remotely as a dev, I’d say there are probably three main challenges when working remotely that you should be aware of:
- As been’s mentioned already, communication. Especially if you haven’t worked remotely before for any type of job. Communication, especially in remote jobs, includes things like: keeping co-workers and managers in the loop with what you’re working on, challenges or roadblocks you’re facing (and getting help if you need it), and managing everyone’s expectations. It can really be a constant thing throughout any given day.
- Camaraderie with co-workers. It’s a lot harder to build this in a remote job, than it is to build it in-person. Even the best efforts of this I’ve seen still fall short of building actual camaraderie between co-workers over virtual connections. And even one fully-remote company I’ve worked for had an annual in-person get-together. So you should at least be prepared to make an extra effort in this for a remote job.
- Onboarding and training, especially for a junior-level developer position. If it’s not initially managed for you, I’d encourage you to make sure your first days and weeks are spent training with your team and getting up to speed at a level that’s satisfactory for you. Don’t let anyone keep you working on your own for more than a few hours especially the first few weeks of a job. Working on your own for hours should come later as you build up skill & confidence.
There is nothing wrong with working remote, regardless of role. Your success as a remote employee is as much your employer’s responsibility as it it yours. You need to work hard, and show value, but your employer must also show that they value you as an employee.
If your employer cannot lift you up, as a remote worker, then you need to get out of that company.
I don’t think anyone is saying that there is something “wrong” with it. That is a strawman. We (or at least I) are saying that it has challenges, some of which will be harder for an entry level employee.
For me, I work comfortably as a remote employee now. But it is definitely more difficult. And I don’t know that I would have succeeded as well as I did in my first job if it wasn’t on site, able to grab someone when I needed something.
Some companies do better at remote. I left a remote job recently, in large part because communication was so difficult. A large part of that was the attitude of the company and my coworkers. It was so hard to get someone in a zoom call when I needed it and struggled to get the information I needed - people wouldn’t even respond to email.
My current company is the opposite. We’re remote, but everyone works hard to be available. It’s much. much better. But a few times when we had to all meet up at the office for a conference, it was a much different dynamic, much easier to communicate. The remote communication is very good, but it definitely not as good as being in the next cubicle. Of course, remote work has other benefits, but I think it is crazy or chauvinistic or uninformed to say that remote communication is 100% as good as in-person in all situations.
If I had a company, and an office space, I would be very wary about hiring some person that had zero experience working on production code in a production environment. There are sooooo many things to learn. There are so many things to share. And a new person is going to need a lot of supervision. During covid, I had to supervise a few new hires, and it was definitely a lot harder than doing it in-person, for me and for the supervisee. Doable? Sure. Ideal. No, I don’t think so. We got by, but there was definitely additional frustration. There is also a lot of bonding that happens in person that is hard to pull off over video chat.
If I had a nice office space, I would 100% give preference to entry level people that could work in person. If they have a proven track record, that is a little different, but a new person that has never had to work off wireframes or done a rebase or done a retro or done a UAT and had probably never used most of the libraries we used and who I can’t even be sure is even doing anything … I would definitely see that as a gamble, one I would avoid if I could.
Employers get to decide how they spend their money and the chances they want to take. The “they should just do things the way I like because I’m right and they aren’t” argument doesn’t hold water for me. It’s their company and it’s their money. Arguing about what we think they should do is irrelevant. What matters is what they will do. If an employer is uncomfortable with hiring someone with no track record and experience, that they will never meet in person, and who cannot be trained and monitored in person … it’s their money, it’s their right to say no. You are not entitled to make them give you a job on your terms.
Yes, remote work is getting more common. But getting a first job is already very, very, very hard. I think increasing your odds is a good thing. If you are available to work in-person, it opens up more possible jobs and therefore, by definition, increases your odds. I might even consider, “Hey I want to work remotely eventually, but I can come and work on site for the first 1-6 months to get a good, solid footing” will alleviate some concerns. Grabbing a hostel room or renting a room on airbnb or whatever - the money you make would probably make it worth it. There are short term, furnished apartments in many cities.
If you absolutely can’t move, even for a short period of time, then you decrease your odds. People’s thoughts about whether or not it should affect your odds are irrelevant. It is a fact that it will. I’m not saying that it is impossible, but people that are willing to move and work in any way are already having difficulty getting a first job. I wish you the best of luck, but I would still suggest that trying to be flexible in your first job would increase your odds. If you can’t, then you can probably still find something, it’s just going to take longer.
Best of luck, let us know what you find and how it works out. I hope you find something.
I think IT firms now a days offer remote jobs and I have seen in many job sites you have option to check (uncheck) depending on whether you want remote work or not. Speaking of remote work, I wonder does anyone work remote but internationally? What I meant by that you lets say staying in UK but working for company in USA? Can you actually apply for these kind of remote jobs and if so what are the best job sites for international remote jobs?