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Ask HN: The best way to find remote job
106 points by shtpavel on May 19, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 91 comments
What is the best way to find remote job? Actually i'm tryin' to find 20hours\week job to upgrade my Node.js(for now i'm .NET developer) skill and learn something new with real life project.. But I want to get some small salary, 5-15\hour will be okey. So where I can find such jobs?

5-15/hour? You're doing yourself and the industry a huge disservice, regardless what currency this is in. If you're a .NET developer, I take it you know what you're doing and even if you want to learn Node.js along the way, that's not a way to go. Once you're set on a small amount (and charge by the hour, another big sin we're all guilty of) it's really hard to get more, and you'll end up doing crappy work for crappy clients. Don't do that.

Currency - dollar. hm... what is the right pricing?

I'd multiply that by at least 5 if you're in the US and you're any good.

Nope, i'm from Eastern Europe.

Multiply it by 3 then.

Edit: Let me clarify - not saying that Eastern European programmers are better or worse but the living costs are obviously lower in Eastern Europe than say Western Europe.

I'm working in Hungary as a software engineer, and get about 10$/hour (although I have only 5 years of experience in development). Also, I get more than most of my peers from the university, so it's not that low because I'm a shitty developer :). With this salary, I'm a very well paid employee compared to others in the country, it's about 3 times more than the average salary.

Not necessary. I'm from Georgia, eastern Europe. I was astonished during my recent visit in Berlin of how cheap it is, especially groceries/food, clothes, toys, etc...

I was also comparing prices in San Diego, California, and it was quite on par with Georgia.

The main reason eastern Europe appears cheap is the human labour - people are just used to low income...

Can't agree more.

US west coast prices are terrifyingly similar to prices in the Baltic States(unless you're living in a metropolis such as NYC).

Something to remember: It doesn't matter that you're from Ukraine. It matters where the company you work remotely for is stationed. If you find a company in the US or western EU willing to hire you, you can probably ask for their domestic market rates :)

Good luck.

Yes. Actually, some companies have policies that they research local salaries and offer accordingly. Needless to say, I don't work for such companies.

Love Georgia) but I broked my hip in Gudauri this February ))

The summer season should be more safe I think ;)

I hope. Have to visit Batumi.

It's true. I agree.

I currently pay Polish developers USD$40/hour.

I'm from Ukraine, even not EU

Eastern Europe or whatever - if you are any good, people from Western Europe would pay you at least something more like EUR 30.

Oh, It will be great if I'll find this rate even for my current tech-spec. (.NET)

weworkremotely.com (run by the 37signals/Basecamp folks) and jobs.joelonsoftware.com (shortcut to Stackoverflow jobs) are two sources of remote job listings. I am sure there are more -- these are just two with which I happen to be familiar. I have also found that both of these sites have a fairly high quality of job listings.

Another approach to consider is seeking freelance work. You may be able to find work porting .NET applications to node.js which would allow you to leverage you current skill set to learn a new one. The challenge with this approach is that freelance rates can be pretty cut throat. Therefore, it would likely best to view these types of jobs as an opportunity to build experience/portfolio more than money making.

We hired two developers through WeWorkRemotely (gotten about 100 applicants), and couldn't be happier. Highly recommended.

I got hired through WeWorkRemotely fairly recently, I didn't know the competition could be that fierce! :)

Competition for remote work is fierce, and is only going to get more fierce for as long as it remains rare. For most people that are applying for remote work, they are applying not because of the work itself or a strong belief in the company. Their #1 search criterion is for remote work and all other details are probably a somewhat distant second, and until remote jobs are more available you will find it a competitive market.

Do you think the remote full time employee model makes sense, or is it better to switch to something like freelancing for remote employees?

But on the flip side, companies can get quality talent for cheap salaries, no?

They would get a whole lot more productivity out of me. Not being asked to fix users excel errors and being bugged every 5 minutes. (I know this is true, as the organization was a lot smaller 3 years ago when I started, and for the first year I was incredibly productive).

For remote jobs, clarity of communication is essential.

I hope this doesn't read as mean, since I suspect English is not your first language, but if you are trying to get hired by an English speaking company, you need to use proper grammar and spelling.

If you are looking for job in your native language, and just raising the topic here on HN as the best place to discuss it, then please only read the first paragraph of this comment. I don't mean to exclude you from discussing things here.

Hi, I'm just here to confirm Muphry's law[1].

You missed an indefinite article here: If you are looking for job in your native language, ...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry%27s_law

Muphry's [sic] law, indeed.

"The name is a deliberate misspelling of Murphy's law." - from the linked Wikipedia article; emphasis mine

click the link, it's not [sic] so much as Muphry's law is not to be confused with Murphy's.

"Muphry's law is an adage that states that when a person criticises another's editing or proofreading, there will be a mistake of a similar kind in that criticism. The name is a deliberate misspelling of Murphy's law."

If you follow the link, you'll see:

> Not to be confused with Murphy's law.

Can I get the link in Romanian?

What's wrong with it?

I'm working on it :)

Don't let this guy to discourage you. Millions of non-native speakers successfully work for American companies although they don't have perfect grammar and spelling.

Millions of native speakers do without perfect grammar and spelling too.

I know, because I worked for American and Western Europe guys for 3 years, and all was OK)

This is a very hard to question to answer you and there is no actual solution to give you.

It all comes down to how good you really are. I have been looking for the past 3 - 4 months for a remote job, but since the competition out there is huge and there are definitely better programmers than me I haven't manage to land anything yet.

Make a great CV, a personal page, work on github to show your work. This will help you dramatically since you will be displaying your work and who you are. ( I have all except github as all I do is actually on my own repos )

As for the hours you are willing to put in, then that is more like freelancing than a full time job. Perhaps try Elance for some freelancing and work on your own to learn node.

> It all comes down to how good you really are. I have been looking for the past 3 - 4 months for a remote job, but since the competition out there is huge and there are definitely better programmers than me I haven't manage to land anything yet.

Not trying to be harsh, but if you honestly believe this, you should give up right now. There will always be people smarter than you, this is a given. But you will never land a job with the attitude of "I'm not good enough to work here".

> but if you honestly believe this, you should give up right now

That sounds a bit dramatic, I'd advise changing what you believe.

There will always be things you believe that hold you back, but you will never overcome them with an attitude of "I should just give up now"...

I would recommend you to: - Try to do some personal marketing: build a portfolio website showing some skills, share your knowledge, participate in open source projects. - Become a specialist in some niche technology. It'll get far more easy to get a job once you've done that.


> I have all except github as all I do is actually on my own repos

I would suggest making one or more of your repos public. Even if you're the only one contributing, potential employers will still get a sense of your ability and/or experience. Another idea is to make a repo of just code samples. Nothing demonstrates how you code better than your actual code.

Can people who are working remotely share their experience? What works, what doesn't?

Some things I've heard about that I wouldn't mind reading about again:

- Making an office space in the home (I've seen workspaces designed [I think] for remote workers - do people use these and find they offer value?)

- Setting up boundaries with family members

- Communication habits - do you scrum over text chat, or daily video conferencing? What about large team meetings? Do you share daily status over email, or is that too much overhead?

- Working hours - do all-remote teams encourage syncing up time that the team is online? If you're remote and most of the team is together, do you work hours that are local to the rest of the team? I've heard it can be hard in this situation making sure that the rest of the team remembers you in hallway conversations, since it's easy to forget the one guy who is remote.

Some stuff I haven't seen written about:

- Logistics - do you need to be the admin for your PC? Do you get a hardware budget, or is it entirely BYOB?

I'm also interested in how the remote dynamic changes going from small teams to companies with thousands of employees.

I've been working 100% remotely for a large US firm (tens of thousands of global employees) for a few years now. Prior to that I worked for the same firm in office. My current role is physically in a separate state from the others, so it's not possible to do a few days in the office and a few days at home (I think that is the best of both worlds).

I have a home office with a door on a separate floor from where most of the family is. Even though I wear headphones, being able to close the door indicates "dad is focused" as opposed to just having the door open which means interruptions are okay. Occasionally I'll work remote from being remote and hit the local coffee shop. I find that a simple change of scenery helps me focus/

We use both google hangouts and hipchat text/video for meetings as well as email and other solutions. We also conference call a lot on mobiles. We don't do daily status (I've never offered and no one asked). People sync up as needed. The only thing I miss is being able to stand in front of a whiteboard and draw things for group feedback, but I've adjusted.

I work my own schedule which is loosely based on the standard business day. I'm consider myself "in the office" from around 630am to about 5pm, but I take breaks during the day to eat, play with the dogs, go the the gym or run errands. As with most places, it's more about what you deliver than working a strict eight hour day. I'm more of an architect than developer so I'm not pair programming or working directly with someone every second. Asynchronous communications have been fine.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I'm out of sight and out of mind. I miss hallway chats, impromptu meetings, etc. I consider it a fair trade off for the lifestyle. I'm not sure it's hurt my career, but it probably hasn't helped it.

We use corporate computers with VPN's as needed for patching, internal access, etc.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

What's the culture like on your team regarding remote? Are you the only remote or are there a bunch of people doing the same thing?

Did you transition to remote while remaining on the same team?

Background: I had a personal issue that required me to sell my house in silicon valley and move closer to my parents on the east coast. Rather than let me go, the company offered to pay for my relocation and let me work from home (I work at a pretty traditional company, not a tech giant so I was surprised). About six months after, I moved teams within the company, so my new team was okay with me coming on board while remote. Since then, I've moved teams (and physical locations) again, and the new team was also fine. Most folks are either at customer sites or in the various corporate offices, but there are plenty of folks who seem to do what I do and just work remote. It's a bit more common than I would have thought honestly for a "corporate culture".

I've not been asked to relocate, I've not taken any salary reductions, or had any "negative" behavior as a result. It's the main reason I've rewarded their loyalty to me with my loyalty to them. If someone needs me, they either call me or email me. Pretty simple. If I need to get on a plane (a few times) for a meeting, I just do it. But between conference calls, screen sharing via webex, etc it's pretty manageable.

Part of the reason I believe it works is because I don't let being remote be an issue. I pick up my phone when it rings, I check email constantly, I'm available via multiple chat systems, and I get things done. It absolutely helps that at some point, when crossing time zones and countries, everyone is somewhat remote. You can't have a 90K person company in the same place.

I do not do all of the "recommended things" that they say when working remote. I don't get dressed and "go to work". I get up, grab a protein shake, sit in front of my computer in my sleepwear like I would if it was a weekend. I don't have a dedicated work room, I work in the same place I play video games and work on personal projects. What it comes down to is that while others are commuting, I'm answering email. While other people are going out to lunch, I'm working on architectures with a bowl of beef and veggies. While they're taking snow days, I'm working uninterrupted. I'm not sure if I'm more productive (though I suppose we could all find ways to be more productive), but I'm certainly as productive.

Some random thoughts:

I shop for seven days worth of food because I cook all my meals every day. I eat much better. My ISP (Charter) is rock solid and high speed. In a pinch my mobile would be my email backup. I do not ask for any reimbursement for costs and I don't write anything off tax wise. Jobs will come and go, but for the first few years of my sons life I was here every single day watching him grow up. I'll never be able to get that back if I missed it. Wherever possible, I shift the burden of being remote to me. I never say "well, I'm remote and don't own a fax machine". I just make it happen. I often start controversial conversations with "well, do you need me to fly in?"

As a final thought, I get a lot of recruiters (don't we all though) contacting me. Strangely enough, it's usually the startups that seem to have a problem working remote. The first thing I tell people is that I'm while I have no problems flying in for meetings (either my cost or theirs), I'm content staying as a remote employee for now. In the future, we can discuss relocation. 95 times out of 100, regardless of the fit or role, it's a deal breaker in the first five minutes. Just find that interesting and it's a great way to pre-screen potential employers.

"I'm not sure if I'm more productive (though I suppose we could all find ways to be more productive), but I'm certainly as productive."

This is one of the reasons I am desperate to get a remote job. The chance to work on code uninterrupted. I enjoy coding, but the longer I stay in my current job, the less of it I seem to do.

Also I'm curious if people from "3rd world countries" are also able to find remote work and where (I'm from Brazil).

I'm from Mexico, I just did an internship remotely. Some of my classmates are working/worked remotely.

My contact info is in my profile and I'm hiring. Have hired several contractors in Brazil in the past.

Any chance of hiring from India? :)

We wrote an article with some ideas here: http://blog.sqwiggle.com/best-places-find-telecommuting-job-...

EG: The AngelList search is very good and you can filter by allows remote :-)

I'm really surprised oDesk has not been mentioned. They have merged with elance, and the type of work you are looking for at the rates you are seeking (and higher) are routinely listed there.

I would create a profile on that site, most new freelancers there start with a lower rate to build experience and feedback and in a few months look to raise the rate.

Feel free to contact me by email and I can tell you what my experience has been from the hiring side.

Not sure about hiring side (about quality...), but from the contractor side - stay away from these sites. It is the race to the bottom...

I have to respectfully disagree in the context of my post:

- I think you're coming from a North American perspective

- OP is not from North America.

- I have received a few emails to my post above I've encouraged them to build a history and not worry about what they lose. Long term clients understand value and they do exist on oDesk.

- Increasingly on oDesk, for software development, there is more and more of an appetite to pay. I certainly am open to it.

Regarding the North American race to the bottom: The race to the bottom is happening in every industry. There's a book called "A Whole new mind" that might interest you.

There are lots of North American developers charging NA rates for those who are inclined. I have hired and found some great folks from there.

Anyone who has been hiring long enough knows that paying a few dollars gets you what you pay for... work that no other developer can work in, and takes longer and longer (and more money).

While I've heard good things about oDesk(I think there was another one, eLance?), I have to agree with the sentiment of this. I spent several weeks trying to get some simple work on freelancer.com so I could build up some credibility, and every project was either not worth your time("please create a site just like Facebook, I will pay $100"), or someone who had more projects completed will come in with a modest offering and be the one who gets approval for the work. It was pretty irritating. I tried to take an exam for C# that was offered by the site, but the payment system kept crapping out on me, and I'm pretty sure I got charged for it without being allowed to take the test.

I want to do remote work, but going through these sites makes me grateful that I'm actually part of a company that pays me a salary.

Rentacoder, freelancer, etc are definitely bottom of the barrel in terms of income and quality of projects.

I've always found the quality and cost of eLance and oDesk to be higher. Now that they've merged, I think there is something there, the development talent in Eastern Europe is excellent.

It might be tough to get hired in that scenario. You might want to bootstrap this idea by first doing some of your own Node projects.

Quite; "pay me to learn technology X" is always going to be a tough sell unless you're bringing another skillset to a problem.

I think you don't understand me right... Simply: i want to find trainee aor junior remote job.

As long as the individual can demonstrate strong existing programming & engineering skills, and their pay scale is modest, I haven't seen it as a problem.

How about "don't pay me to learn technology X"? I wonder if there's such thing as an unpaid remote internship?

Yep, working on my own pet-projects is always sounds good and i'm doing it, but money, even small amount is always better motivation.

Look at it from the other side. Who would want to hire someone remotely and part time so they can learn a new stack? If someone is willing to hire both a part time and remote worker, they will want an experienced dev who can bring value right away.

I learned Django / Python on the job (coming from Perl).

My colleague was always ranting about how much better Python was than Perl. Having inherited her code, I was writing far better code while learning Python than she was after doing a PhD in bioinformatics (~4 years?).

Specifically for Node it's nice to have some notoriety, no matter how small. So create a cool Node module that does something original and email the guys at dailyjs.com about it. If it gets posted there put that in your resume and you'll land a job.

But not a lot of companies are looking for part-time programmers, why do you not want a full-time job?

Full time job is OK, but if it'll suit my salary requirements. For now i'm, ok with my current job. But want to move forward. I mean, I want to learn new techs by part-time job, and then move to full-time.

I would set some alerts for craigslist job listings in the larger craigslist markets.


Replace 'sfbay' with various cities and see what you get.

What I do is "plant small seeds" on the web (like: articles, video talks), which acts as "ads" for my skills. Then I make sure I can be found online (twitter, site, forums). It's a midterm strategy but works very well (I've worked 100% remotely during the last 3 years).

BTW http://blog.logeek.fr is down ;)

Thanks for the note! This blog is now defunct, I removed the link from my HN profile.

I don't get it- can you give an example of a 'seed'?

Sounds interesting.

Sure - here are concrete example of seeds.

I call them seeds because you have to realize that they will take time to give fruits. This is not an emergency technique.

Blog posts: from time to time, I was writing an article on my (now defunct but soon restarted) technical blog. It is currently offline but you can have a look here [1]. I created linkable content that got some coverage, and some of my former customers saw the blog and it created credibility to them.

Videos: similarly, I've tried since I think 2009 to give at least one talk per year. It has to be recorded and available on the web afterwards. Even on small topics, in small events to get started.

Some video examples:

- https://speakerdeck.com/thbar/transforming-data-with-ruby-an... (video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW863DOXqZQ) => people contacted me afterwards to do ETL work

- on bootstrapping https://speakerdeck.com/thbar/retour-dexperience-sur-le-boot... (video at vimeo.com/85490636) => people asked me to help them build SaaS afterwards

You can also just tweet useful, non opinion-oriented tweets and links, and grow an audience this way (I have around 1460 followers http://twitter.com/thibaut_barrere but started much lower). People looking for skills will find you this way etc.

Hope this helps!

[1] http://web.archive.org/web/20121031083446/http://blog.logeek...

Does anyone know a good blogging platform to include code examples (without messing around with Javascript)? I tried google blogger, but code did not come out nicely, and it tries to do its own formatting when you save.

I've settled with Jekyll (static), hosted on S3. I'm using prism.js at the moment but will probably move the code examples to embedded github gists.

That was a good video you made about ETL.

Thank you!

Have you considered picking up freelance node.js work? I run a website called FreelanceInbox.com that is designed to help freelancers find quality leads without having to spend time a lot of time searching. You could probably handle small projects and develop your skills that way.

Cool site, neat idea. Any chance I could get a week's trial before I sign up? I'd be more interested in data science, and/or Python/Django work. I can't tell if you have that.

There is currently not a trial option, but it is a 30-day money back guarantee, so if the service doesn't work, you can just let us know and you'll get a full refund. Python/Django work yes, but currently no on the data science.

I don't see Python/Django on the set of checkboxes, any advice?

sent you an email


I would suggest you make yourself easily contactable. Posting this question on HN might interest a possible employer who would offer you some work. However they will have a hard time doing so, if your contact details are not mentioned in your profile.

Update: You have added contact details. :)

You are right :)

I'm thinking of finding a remote job too. I am an experienced Nodejs developer/architect. My current gig, I am nodejs lead & initial team member, in a very popular app. So I have scaled the app to millions.

I'm thinking of finding a remote job too. However, I'm inexperienced and a friend of mine said that people don't tend to hire remotely for junior level positions. Is this true?

Same thing as I mentioned in my other comment. Freelancing is sometimes a good fit for people in your position. To help you get on your feet, I created a website called FreelanceInbox.com that is designed to help freelancers find quality leads without having to spend time a lot of time searching.

Once you can do the job that's all that matters.

Meet other developers (at meetups or coworking spaces) and ask them if they know someone who's hiring.

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