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How to be a successful remote software engineer

This blog post covers how a developer can be recognized, find a remote job, and be successful working remotely. However, it’s important to understand what is in it for organizations hiring remote developers.

*Full Disclaimer: All the views expressed in the blog are solely my personal views and biased based on my personal experience. The best-practices, technologies, or benefits listed are no silver bullets. The article is focused on engineers in the web development space. 

Remote working is not a new concept but working remotely is gaining popularity during these times. Many organizations are forced to rethink how they work. Covid-19, has impacted every person in the world, but with the challenges the pandemic has created comes opportunity.

There has never been a better time to work remotely, especially for engineers. Many organizations have now turned remote-friendly, some have also started hiring developers from regions unheard of – the reason? Untapped potential!!

This blog post covers how a developer can be recognized, find a remote job, and be successful working remotely. However, it’s important to understand what is in it for organizations hiring remote developers.

Why organizations should hire remote developers

It would be unfair to say that organizations do NOT want to hire remote developers as they are bound by government laws which prevent them from going beyond their country to hire a person on their payroll. It’s only possible for large corporations.

Let’s first understand the benefits of hiring remote engineers. As an organization you can:

  • Hire engineers who have untapped potential – these engineers have high productivity and are eager to learn.
  • Hire engineers from countries with lower GDP – allows you to pay people less than you would if you hire local talent.
  • Add diversity to your company culture – allows sharing different ideas and perspectives that you did not have before.
  • Become a 24×7 company – by hiring engineers in varied timezones you can move faster and support customers globally.

Now that you understand why a company wants to hire you, let’s discuss why a developer would want to work remotely.

Why engineers should consider remote jobs

There are many benefits (and few drawbacks) of working as a remote engineer. 

  • Choose your hours – Since you work in a different timezone, you can choose the hours you want to work, though it’s important to have some overlap. (more on that later)
  • Work with people with diverse backgrounds – there is a different thing about people who are well-traveled, right? Why is that?
  • Get paid more than your peers – you can only earn what your industry pays you, what if you changed the local industry? 😉
  • Choose where you work– Home, Coworking office, Coffee Shop? It’s recommended though you have a consistent setup (again, later!)
  • Better work-life balance – Save time traveling, get more time off (remote organizations are usually flexible), be with your loved ones often.
  • Choose your own technologies – though it helps get better jobs depending on the tech you work with, organizations are looking for the skills you’ve developed to help them identify what you’d work on.
  • Immense growth – working with people globally brings a lot of different perspectives allowing you to 10x your growth.

Why would organizations consider you

We have established that organizations want remote engineers, now let’s look at why an organization would consider you? What do you need that makes an organization believe you are remote-friendly?

Open Source Contributions
Organizations want to look at the work you have done. 

  • It increases the credibility of your work
  • It shows that you love writing code
  • It gives them a glimpse into the code you write

Remote-friendly technologies
If you are looking to join a startup, most likely they use technologies that are popular right now. Having experience in current tech is a great way to get noticed. Some of these technologies are (but not limited to):

  • Javascript (Node and React)
  • GraphQL
  • Python (Django)
  • Kubernetes and other cloud devops experience is a huge plus

It usually helps to be able to work on both backend and frontend (Full-Stack), since it’s crucial to be self-driven in a remote environment.

Solid previous experience and profile
Organizations love when they find a person who is a great problem solver. Working on multiple projects and industries, at different roles, are usually indications that you will do well in their company. Companies will also check your Linkedin profile to understand you better. Having an updated profile and strong recommendations from previous employment can go a long way towards helping you find the right remote job.

Attitude
I saved the most important one for the last. Companies hire for attitude rather than skill. Skill can be learned, but attitude takes a long time to correct. Having the right attitude is the only way to get good remote jobs. 

So what do I mean by having the right attitude? 

Display a willingness to learn more about their company, show a genuine interest in the company’s industry and what it cares about. Read the company’s vision, its core values, culture, and apply only if these attributes excite you. It’s essential that you’re a quick learner so that you can developed the required skills to perform at the company.

How to find remote jobs

So, if you have what it takes to be a good remote engineer, the question is, how do you find a remote job that you love?

Apply to a company’s remote jobs (via portals or company website)

If you do a quick search on Google, you will see many platforms like WeWorkRemotely, remote.co, and others.

You can start by looking at the skill you want to target and applying on the posts (make sure you research the company before applying). You need to have a great cover letter. Cover letters are a great way to express why you are the best person for the job they posted. A strong cover letter makes you stand out as companies receive 100s of applications.

Which application do you think they are most likely to open first? The one with the cover letter! You can also search for companies which are remote-friendly and apply directly via their websites.

Freelance

Freelancing is also another way to get jobs. Freelance positions offer more flexibility and let you have a better work-life balance. Freelance work also gives you the chance to choose your hourly rate, but you may sacrifice job security, and you might also waste time hunting for your next gig.

Platforms like Turing, guru, Upwork, and freelancers are good places to find remote gigs.

Personal Connections

Twitter is a great place to build relationships with other fellow developers. These connections will help you find your next job. 60% of organizations hire people that are referred by the people already working in their companies. This means the more people you know in the industry, the better chance you will have to get a good job.

Turing.com 

Turing is a unique platform that bridges the gap between a freelance platform and a job portal. It is truly focused on the developer’s well-being, growth, and tools to be successful in working remotely.

Turing is different because:

  1. You do not have to hunt for jobs – Turing will understand your goals and find you a job that you want. 
  2. You get long term work – You will work with a real company as their team member. You get the benefits of the company you are working for under turing. 
  3. You still get the flexibility as you choose your own hours and your rate.
  4. Turing pays you on time – you do not have to follow up with your clients to get paid or depend on a rating system to get jobs. 
  5. Turing handles issues that may arise between you and the client. 

Turing gives developers peace of mind by allowing them to focus on their skills and their job instead of spending time doing administrative work that reduces their productivity.

Working Remotely

Getting a job is only the first step. There is a lot more that you need to do to be successful at your job. 

Communication
Being an effective communicator is the key to being successful at a remote job. Working remotely means you need to make extra efforts to communicate with your manager.

  • Have regular check-ins with your manager (weekly as well as monthly)
  • Have at least 3 hours of time overlap between yours and your team’s work hours. 
  • Make sure you and your manager(and your team) are always on the same page, and that expectations are clearly understood. 

Turing.com actually does a great job improving your communication with your manager. 

Self-driven
You need to be self-driven. The more you have to depend upon another person on the team, the more difficult it will get to be productive in your job. It certainly helps if you are a full-stack engineer, as this allows you to do both the frontend and the backend by yourself – if it is not possible then you must try to separate (but not isolate) your responsibilities.
The more time overlap you have with your team, the more flexible you can be with respect to separating your work responsibilities.

Setup
Having a decent office and workstation setup is very important. You cannot be productive at your work if you have “pebbles” on the race track you are trying to win.

  • Make sure you have a good (and consistent) place to work
  • Your environment should be distraction-free
  • Good camera and microphones to have calls with your team. 
  • A fast computer that can handle your daily workload

Trust
Remote teams are happy and do more if they trust each other. Here is a great article that would do justice to explaining how important trust is in a workplace. https://blog.doist.com/trust-remote-workplace/

With this, I wish you luck finding a great remote company to work at. It can be hard, but rewarding. I trust that turing.com can help you find the next job that you love. 🙂

By Oct 27, 2020
Developers Corner

Things to know to get hired as a Turing Engineer

To help you out, we’ve reached out to some Turing engineers who passed Turing’s tests with exceptionally high marks and are now enjoying their time working with Silicon Valley companies. We asked them to share what they think is most important for a software engineer to know or do before applying to Turing.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a software developer who is considering applying for Turing.com. You might have just learned about Turing a few minutes ago, or you might have already gotten past the teaser coding problem on Turing’s landing page, created a profile, and are now staring at an extensive list of Turing tests. Either way, you (most likely a high-achieving and high-aspiring software developer) are on the right track. The number of high-profile silicon valley companies that hire  remote software developers through Turing  is increasing each week, and more than 160,000 software developers have signed up for Turing in its first year alone. You’re smart to be jumping on this opportunity now! But, if you’re like most developers, some part of you is likely starting to wonder if you’re sufficiently prepared to dive into the application.

Even the most seasoned software developers can get anxious in the days or hours leading up to a technical interview. So, to help you out, we’ve reached out to some Turing engineers who passed Turing’s tests with exceptionally high marks and are now enjoying a remote software job with top US companies. We asked them to share what they think is most important for a software engineer to know or do before applying to Turing. We even asked the primary designer of the Turing Tests himself, Turing’s VP of Engineering, Zan Doan, (previously an Engineering Manager at Facebook) to give his thoughts. Here is what they said:

1) Sharpen your problem-solving skills

First and foremost, as in any silicon valley technical interview process, Turing engineers are expected to be expert problem solvers, able to manipulate data structures and common algorithms to solve a variety of problems while optimizing for speed and efficiency. Everaldo, a Turing engineer based in Curitiba, Brasil, gave the following advice:

 “Turing applicants should familiarize themselves with sites like HackerRank and Codewars, where they can sharpen their problem-solving skills. They should also study dynamic programming and Big O notation to understand techniques for coding challenges, since, if you implement a naive solution, it will get a lower score or might timeout if the solution is quadratic or exponential.”

Everaldo also recommended studying the well-known book “Cracking the Coding Interview” by Gayle McDowell. Not a bad idea considering one can always count on seeing a few Stanford CS students crouched over that “little green CS bible” in the Stanford dining halls during the interview season. Mastering the material there will put you in a position to get the same caliber jobs that many of those same Stanford students are pursuing!

2) Know your tech stacks

One thing that is relatively unique about Turing’s tests is that you have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery in an array of tech stacks with which you’re familiar. Whether you’re a Swift iOS developer, a MongoDB + React + Node.js full-stack developer, a Frontend developer with expertise in Flutter, a Python developer capable of scaling a Django backend, or anything else, you can find corresponding tests on Turing’s platform. Dhyey, a Turing engineer based in Ahmedabad, India, says, “Make sure to take and pass as many tech stack tests as possible. Proving you have a range of skills will make you eligible for multiple roles and increase your chances of getting hired.”

Doing well on these specific tech stack tests might require a little review before you jump into them. Zech, a Turing engineer, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, recommends you do the following:

 “Take a little time to lightly review anything about that particular technology or language you’re not very familiar with because the tests tend to assess your knowledge about it from end to end. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should dive into a full-on ‘study for exam mode’ but just refresh your knowledge of a few things. If you’ve used a language/technology professionally for some time, you should pass the test without much problem.”

3) Showcase your technical experience

Investing time into filling out all the details of your profile and past experiences may be a hassle, but it will give you an edge over other vetted candidates. Dhyey emphasizes this point saying, “since the process is highly competitive and there is very little human interaction, it is very crucial for your profile to accurately reflect your ability for you to get picked over other vetted candidates.”

If that alone doesn’t convince you of the importance of highlighting your past accomplishments, projects, and experiences, this is the area that Zan Doan, the primary designer of the Turing Tests, also believes is most important. He says: 

“The word I would use to describe the best Turing developers is ‘hands-on.’ Turing jobs often require developers to adapt to a startup environment and make an impact quickly. Because of this, Turing tests not only ask the candidates questions about their general work experience but also hands-on questions about detailed implementations.”

Showcasing your ability to excel in a hands-on environment by taking care to describe your past technical experiences in your profile accurately will prime you for success on Turing.

4) Finally, prepare your workspace for success.

The Turing application process is similar to any technical interview, with the added caveat that the online tests (and later on, the possible interview) are all done remotely, meaning you’re in charge of preparing your space. 

On this point, Zech recommends, “make sure you’re in a relaxed environment with little to no distractions. You’ll need to have a working and stable internet connection, especially since you can’t retake an exam within three months in the event you fail.”

Similarly, if you qualify for an interview, Everaldo says, “it’s just like a regular interview: be ready, on time, dress code, be polite, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Also, it helps to have a good setup for the interview. Have a strong Internet connection, headset, mic, and test the setup before the meeting.

And that’s about it! If you feel well-enough prepared in the above four areas, you should have no problem feeling confident clicking “start” to begin taking Turing’s tests or signing into a remote Turing interview. Silicon Valley opportunities are at your doorstep. The most beautiful thing about Turing’s application process is its hyper-focus on finding talent. We believe talent can be found anywhere and can be of all races and genders. And if, by chance, you’re not successful in your first shot at applying to Turing, a computer science education has become so democratized that we’re confident you can study up, come back, and succeed another day.  Remember, at Turing, we know that not only is talent universal, but opportunity as well.

Ready to get started? Apply to Turing’s remote software developer jobs now

By Sep 17, 2020