In this post: We look at the possibilities of IT, or computer work, from home. You have a lot of great opportunities to consider.
Information Technology, or IT, is one of the fastest growing career opportunities at the moment. Businesses and organizations rely more and more on technology to grow, which means there are more and more needs for development, setup, and maintenance of technology. Whether you’re already rooted in the field or eyeballing it as a bright new horizon, there’s a great work-from-home opportunity in “computers.”
Getting Started with Computer Work from Home
If you want to take your tech skills and turn them to an online or telecommute job, you’ve two basic options: work for a company (however traditional or not) as an employee, or go into freelancing. A lot of the decision-making you’ll need to do will revolve around what you want in your at-home job.
If you want the salary and stability of a “regular job” that you just happen to do from a home office rather than a free-standing one, you may be more interested in going the traditional employment route (with the “modern” twist of working from home rather than in the office). If, however, you want to mold your work around your life and you’re looking for something more flexible, freelancing may be right for you.
How to Find an At-Home IT Job
First let’s talk about finding an online tech job in the traditional employment sense, since that’s the route many people take.
Getting a job with a traditional company, even if you’re looking for a remote position, will “look” a lot like the typical job search. Your search terms might be slightly different, but your approach will be similar.
First off, if you’re currently working in an IT position and you wouldn’t mind continuing your job if you were able to do it at home, you should consider putting together a proposal to convert your current in-office job to a telecommute one. You’ll need to focus your proposal on explaining how your working remotely will benefit the company — leave out the part about how much you want the flexibility and the 20-foot commute.
Some possible selling points might include higher productivity (because you’ll be working in a quiet, solitary environment), using fewer company resources, and faster progress on your projects because there are fewer distractions. These are all things that ultimately will save the company money, while still allowing you to contribute productively.
If converting your current position to a remote one isn’t possible, it’s time to fire up the job search engines. Your first task will be to update your resume. I like to make one big, long resume — a “meta” resume in a sense — that includes all my relevant work history. Then, for each job application, I can tailor the resume to highlight my strengths related to that particular job. I cut down the long resume to just the parts that show off why I’m a great candidate and discard the rest. It makes it a lot easier to tailor each resume to a specific job.
Next, you’ll need to have your job board searches ready to go. The go-to board for IT jobs is Dice.com. When you visit Dice, you can search for keywords like “telecommute” or “remote” and (optional) your city. Try searching with and without the city to see what types of results you get — some businesses will want to work with someone local even if the job is telecommute, while others are truly open to anyone from anywhere.
Other job boards worth a look include Indeed and FlexJobs, and you may also find some interesting opportunities on LinkedIn and even Craigslist. (If you’re applying to jobs via LinkedIn, make sure your profile is as up-to-date as your resume.) Here are a few companies we know offer computer work from home:
Another critical thing for your success is your network. If you’ve been working in IT for any length of time, you may already know people who can help you in your job search. And even if you’re new on the scene, you never know who in your “crowd” could be the link to your next job. Write personal notes (email is fine) to people you know who might be in a position to hire someone like you, or who could connect you to someone who can. Post on your social media that you’re looking for a remote job in IT and ask for any referrals. Mention it to your friends and acquaintances when you can work it into the conversation. You just never know!
Keep track of the applications you submit, and set calendar reminders for yourself to follow up after an appropriate interval. The job search can sometimes feel like a slog, so know that it will take some time and try not to get too discouraged if it does.
Freelancing in IT
I’ve written a lot already about how to go into freelancing. Being an IT freelancer is great because you’ve got a built-in niche already, and there are tons of people who need a web presence but have no idea how to manage or maintain the related technology. Your key to success will be reaching out to those people (in Facebook groups, at conferences and events, etc.) and making your services known.
The great news about working from home is, there’s no universally “wrong” answer and you can always change tracks if you pick one that isn’t quite right for you after all. Working for a company can give you a lot of stability, but going into freelancing might give you more flexibility and the option to pick only the clients and projects you love. Either path can be satisfying and successful.