Original question from Quora:

How can I get a telecommute job as a programmer?

My Answer:

I’m a full time remote (telecommute) programmer at a successful startup, so I have some experience on how to land a remote job. It’s not as easy or obvious as a traditional local job, but it’s possible if you put the effort in.

Here is how I got into remote work…

A couple years ago I was sort of unhappy at my job. I had this crazy idea…

Remote work meant I could work for a east or west coast company while living in the midwest. I could get paid well and my cost of living is reasonable.

More importantly, there is far more demand for Rails developers on the coast than in the midwest.

So, I used my usual system for finding a job.

I found sites like We Work Remotely that posted remote jobs and every time a reasonable job popped up, I applied. If possible, I did one a day, every day. Some days there were more available, and some days no jobs were posted.

The important thing was to have a habit of applying for jobs. To land a job, you need to apply.

My first job lasted about a year, until suddenly the company folded. It sucked.

Even still, I had good telecommuting skills at that point, so I did the one thing I knew I could to get a remote job.

I took massive action.

I applied to every remote job I could. I think I applied for 50–100 in the first couple weeks. I was pushing 10+ applications out a day. It was exhausting.

I also contacted all of my developer friends to see who was hiring and I applied at those jobs too.

Guess what? After a week or so, I had a job offer that was even better than my previous job.

The company I work for doesn’t do a lot of remote positions, but they made an exception for me because I have the skills they want and the experience working remotely.

That’s not an accident. I’ve spent a decade developing my skills as a professional programmer. I’ve worked on some semi-famous software projects. I put the work in.

But, now that I put the work in to having the skills that are in demand, taking massive action when the time came made all the difference.

So, how does this apply to you?

If you want to telecommute, you need to apply to any sensible jobs you find until you get interviews and a job offer. Make it a habit.

Apply to at least one job a day.

If you don’t have the skills that are in demand right now, take the time to learn them and make yourself more marketable.

Remote work isn’t any harder to get than any other job if you put the effort in. Most people aren’t putting the effort in to land those jobs.

-Brian

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