Getting your first remote job

in Remote

In the era of modern technology, traditional working environments are losing their battle with new approaches to work and team organizations. That's visible in almost every industry, especially in software development. Companies are going remote now, people can work from their home and be more productive. People tend to be more happy, to travel more and spend more time with their families.

This sounds interesting, right? You want to have to work for best global companies without leaving your home and learning more than in the tradition on-site positions? Let's see how can you find your first remote job and start to live a better life!

Who am I to talk about this?

I've been working remotely for more than 8 years for various software development companies, from 6 continents and together we completed more than 50 high scale projects. I met some awesome people, work for best companies without leaving my home office.

How to start?

So, you want to find your first remote job? Perfect, you've already completed the first step, congratulations! Now it's time for some hard work. You'll need to learn how to promote yourself and how to show that you have the expertise for the job that you applied for.

Write a blog

This is the best way to show your knowledge. By writing a blog, you're giving your knowledge to others and new employer will be able to see how you think, how you explain stuff and what are your interests. That doesn't need to be something hard, or something that's currently popular. Just write anything that interests you. If that's React, write about React stuff, start from some basic tutorials and go to advanced stuff. It can be something that you discussed with a friend.

I'm getting a lot of offers just because I am running this blog with couple blog posts. My blog posts were featured in weekly newsletters such as JavaScript and Node Weekly. I am getting 500+ unique visits every week, 300+ are coming from the organic search. You can also do it, it's so simple. Start with the simple Ghost blog with some free theme and you'll be in that 1% of the developers that are running their blogs. Keep that in mind!

Make a side project

Making a side project is a great way to show what you know. I am running JS Remotely, a website that fetches remote jobs from 10+ website APIs and filters only JS ones (filtering is not that perfect, I am still working on that). The app is simple, it's running React on the frontend and microservice architecture on the backend. Everything is hosted on Digital Ocean, Kubernetes is responsible for running microservice containers and that's it. It's awesome opportunity to build something useful, to learn something new, play with stuff and also share that with people. I am getting more than a thousand unique visits per week, most of them are coming from organic search.

If you build a side project, maybe share a code on Github, you'll have one big app to show to the employers. It shows that you can really build something useful, it shows your experience and knowledge. That can give you the opportunity to be above other candidates and to get the job!

Keep Linkedin, Github, Behance, Dribbble and other social media profiles updated

Since you want to work remotely and your office and life are basically online, your social network profiles are presenting you. If the employer is in the other country, or continent, the only things that he sees are your social media profiles. Keep your Linkedin updated!

If you're a developer, put your code on Github. Try to build something and share that with the world. Same thing if you're designed, put designs from your projects on Behance on Dribbble. It's your online portfolio, it represents you. The employer will usually try to find you online and to see who you are. If you don't have any of those, it will be much harder to convince him that you're the right person. You won't even get the opportunity for that.

Sign up on platforms

You've probably heard of platforms such as TopTal, Gigster... Those are freelance platforms, they hire remote developers and designers and match them with the employers. You then become part of the company, work for an hourly rate and that's usually a couple months gig but it can become full-time contract work. I'd suggest applying for those platforms. You'll get a company that's selling your knowledge and looking for a company for you. Doesn't that sound awesome?

There are also platforms that only work with big companies and find the full-time contract for you. Some of those are Upstack and Pilot.

You'll probably need to past various interviews and tech assignments, but it's worth. You'll do it only once and when you pass it, jobs will just come to your profile and you'll be able to select one that interests you the most.

Below you can find a list of those platforms:

If you have experience with some other cool platform, post it in the comments and I'll be happy to update the article!

Regularly check remote development job ads

Working on the platform is good, but there's something even better, being a really independent full-time contractor and working for a company as a real employee with all benefits:

  • Paid time off
  • Company retreats
  • Budget for your setup
  • Medical insurance
  • Anything else that companies can offer

Trust me, this is the harder, but the much better way. Being independent, having a direct contract with the remote company and having all those benefits is a real heaven! The bad thing is that there aren't so many companies in the world that work like that. They're usually receiving thousands of applications for just one role. You'll need to stand out.

There are many websites that show remote jobs. Make sure to follow them:

Contact companies with remote DNA

One more approach is to directly contact companies and offer them your services. It might sound silly, but I found a job by contacting one company, I liked what they do, they liked me and we worked together for couple months.

Here's a list of companies that hire remote:

If you find a list of more companies, please post a comment, I'll be happy to update the article!

You can go through the list and check companies that build something that you like. Do a short research, check what people work there, try to find an email of the company or CEO, CTO or some HR on Linkedin (or direct email), prepare a nice introduction email and just hit send! It might take some time until they respond you, in my experience, 80% of the companies responded with some answer. Some of them will definitely like you and will be happy to do a video call to meet you!

Some of the most popular remote companies:

Work on freelance sites

If you're a beginner, student or someone that's learning how to develop apps or design them, you can try with freelance sites. It might sound silly to you now, but believe me, this method works. You can find small and even big companies that search for freelancers to work on some project for a month or so, if the freelancer is good they offer him a full-time contract. Let me tell you a story about my personal experience.

I got my first real job on a freelance site. I already had a good profile on Elance, more than 20 successful projects and one day I applied for an interesting job with a higher salary than I usually worked for. And I got it, the client was happy with my experience. I spend two months to develop a web app and client liked it. He liked the way I work and he offered me a full-time job! I was shocked! That was the first time that someone offered a full-time job to me and I immediately accepted it. When I started to work on that two-month project, I didn't know that client has a team of 5 developers and that they're working together remotely from different countries, they're applying agile principles and they're developing couple successful apps. They're having daily standups, one-week iterations, hundreds of clients that are paying monthly. It looked like a jackpot for me! And it was, I was working more than a year and a half in that team, learned a lot and met some awesome people! And just by applying for a freelance job on Elance 😜


This is my first non-technical article. I have a lot of experience with remote work, time management, hiring remote devs and remote company management. If you want to read more about that topic, please let me know!

I am always happy to help with the remote job search! If you have some questions, please post a comment or send me an email. Thanks!