Author: Ionut Roghina
“I can work in my nice home office, drink my fussy coffee, be present as my kid grows up. That’s my definition of success”
Marco Arment —
According to statistics, more and more developers decide to make a switch and work remotely. I can also confirm this trend to a certain extent; the number of people that I know and come across who want to work in this way seems to be increasing (at least in Europe).
At first glance, the reasons are pretty clear: more financial advantages, more free time, work conveniently from home (or a hammock on the beach as someone once told me), the freedom to choose interesting projects, etc.
It’s all very good, however there are (many) aspects that are not being considered. Below are some of the main ones, as I see them.
Securing (remote) work
This is becoming increasingly difficult, especially with plenty of competition from small outsourcing companies and other developers based in locations such as India, Ukraine or even Asia.
Truth be told, it should not be hard for a good software developer to secure plenty of work.
However, what happens if there are a couple of months where (due to various circumstances) they have nothing to work on?
Moreover, what if these 2 months turn into 3, 4 months or more? What if this coincides with an illness or an accident, how would these influence your financial situation over a 6 months or 1 year period?
There is plenty of work to go around for web developers. These days every company or small business want to have a website, need an ecommerce platform to sell products or a Wordpress page to interact with their customers.
The question is, how interesting and challenging would this work be for you?
What will you learn from such working on such a project? How would this work help and prepare you for the moment when a large scale and very demanding project might be available?
This is where I think most developers who want to work remotely get it wrong. Very wrong. It’s very surprising to see that many of them don’t have a strong presence online with some not even displaying contact details on their website.
How is a company supposed to find you or contact you?
Or even, how can they know you are hard working and reliable, if there is no information available regarding your previous experience? How are they supposed to know if it’s even worth contacting you? More importantly, what do you do in order to promote yourself, your work and your skills?
Dealing with paperwork
Another overlooked issue when working remotely is paperwork (taxes, etc). Depending on your location and the agreement you have with the employer,
dealing with tax and other related paperwork can be time consuming and frustrating.
Whether you are the type of person who is fine with this or not, it can be a serious disadvantage. Of course, you could always have someone else to take care of this aspect for you. However, it’s an aspect worth considering.
Health & sanity
This is something that I picked up from a couple of other blogs written by developers who decide to move into working from home 100% of the time.
- In the best case, some of them reported feeling quite isolated after a while, even missing routine of meeting and dealing with colleagues.
- In the worst cases, some of them started to talk to themselves and even had hallucinations due to spending so much time on their own, in the same place.
Needless to say, this results in procrastination and makes them much less productive.
This short article is meant to bring up some points that developers do not really consider when deciding to start working remotely.
Setting realistic expectations with regards to the details of such collaboration with a company, the experience you will gain and the way future employers will see you as a professional are important.
To a certain extent working remotely can seem to be a great option. You do the same amount of work, get to spend time with friends and family, have lower costs thus keep more of the money you earn, etc. There are both advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered prior to making the decision for or against such an opportunity.
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