As businesses grapple with new workforce models to balance the desire for flexible work, many remote software developers are trading employed positions for a freelance lifestyle. It’s not only remote developers in the IT and SaaS industries; however, product and project managers, UX designers, marketers, salespeople, and support personnel, are in similar positions as well. But remote work isn’t without challenges.
The Wall Street Journal warns recent remote-work trends will force more jobs offshore to higher-skilled workers. To grow and thrive in the digital space, remote software developers must stay fluid in a fast-changing world, continually improve their skills, and maintain accountability and visibility.
Here at Esteemed, we can help. We consider ourselves a resource to remote-work software developers. We’ve compiled a list of the following skill sets you may want to develop to cultivate your career.
As you progress in your remote-work software developer career, you’ll naturally want to start showcasing the programming skills where your expertise shines the brightest. With the number of programming languages available to master, it can be challenging to choose which skills to show off. If you’re an experienced developer, your expertise and depth might be broad, so where do you focus? If you’re just starting, you might be wondering, what programming languages will provide you with the best payout? A recent blog post included a list of the top in-demand programming and development skills to master for remote workers and freelancers:
· BlockChain and Cryptocurrency Programming
· Amazon Web Services (AWS) Development
· Mobile App Development
· Artificial intelligence (AI) Development
· Website Design
· Website Development
· Data Analysis
· Online Security and Ethical Hacking
Project management is all about time management and scope. If you’re working with a project manager, you’ll want to communicate consistently. Project managers will help you focus solely on the tasks related to product development. They can shield you from managing upper management, clients, and scope creep.
But if you find yourself on your own, there are ways you can mitigate the risk of scope creep. Make sure any change requests that deviate from the original project requirements are discussed, agreed upon, and put in writing.
If you have to manage changes in scope, which are likely to happen at some point, don’t hesitate to negotiate additional compensation or reallocate hours that stay within the range. Changes could entail providing your client with more resources or pausing the job until the client obtains more budget to compensate your time and energy.
While many skills overlap between project and product management, there are differences between the two. Project management requires you to manage the details of “How” a project is developed and completed. Product management addresses the “What” and “Why” behind the product’s functionality and features.
Product managers focus outward on customer needs and build product roadmaps for stakeholders. They manage the stories behind a product build with a strategic perspective. Here are some skills you’ll want to hone to strengthen your project management abilities.
Market research: The ability to conduct market research on your own or work with a market research team is key to understanding your target audience better. You want to thoroughly understand your customer’s pain points, needs, and desired outcomes. Get to know your niche market to create the best market fit for your product.
UX best practices: It’s critical to speak the same language as your UX teams to build intuitive, user-friendly, and time-sensitive products. Comprehending UX best practices will provide you with a mutual understanding of how time-consuming tasks may be for your end-users.
Strategic thinking: Software developers are natural problem solvers and often prone to strategic thinking. However, presenting yourself as a strategic thinker requires additional thought and communication skills. Be ready to understand the nuances behind problems, find solutions others fail to see and communicate the value in something others might not understand. Stay in tune with the business’s core objectives, which typically include building products that save time and money and solve pain points for customer needs.
Learn to sell and close business. For experienced software developers, building an MVP may be the easy part. But if you loathe the idea of sales because it makes you feel queasy, you don’t have to be a pushy opportunist to sign a customer to a contract or project. Selling will come naturally to you if you can hit the following marks:
Hold passion for your product and service offering: Be excited about what you’re offering. At the very least, you want to believe that your product is fulfilling a solid need or solving a problem to deliver value continually. Launching and managing a business can be intense. The passion and faith for your offering will keep you motivated and charged when you hit a snag or an obstacle along your journey.
Align your minimal viable business (MVB), or product (MVP), with your target market: You want to build an MVP or value proposition before launching your business. Do your research to align your MVP or value prop with your audience. You want to focus on the problems you can solve for your market niche. Consider it an opportunity to practice your product manager skills and think strategically.
Invest time setting up a marketing plan: You need to give your business traction to generate opportunities. But if formulating and executing a marketing plan leaves you feeling like a fish out of water, know you’re not alone. Choose one or two marketing strategies and hone in on the marketing channels that are best suited for your products and services. When researching an MVP or service offering, take note of the product benefits and how they differ from competitors. Start formulating a story about why your solutions matter.
Continually, soft skills are in high demand for software developers, which are critical to your success and career growth. Soft skills showcase your ability to work well with others. If your work is stellar, but you cannot communicate, collaborate or solve outside of your coding work, your career may suffer.
It’s essential to be empathetic. When facing a problem that falls outside your hard-skill repertoire, be open to the gray areas and nuances of the issue. Try to look at a problem from multiple points of view. Don’t be afraid to ask for new perspectives when tackling blockers or improving something. It shows you’re willing to be flexible and open, enabling you to build trust among your peers and managers.
Honing your soft skills helps you master accountability, which defines your reputation with integrity, perhaps the most critical soft skill you’ll practice.
Well-being remains a focal point for the modern remote workforce. According to MetLife’s recent 20th Annual Benefits Trend Report, 37% of employees report overwhelm and burnout over half the time they are working. Switching to remote work won’t necessarily spare remote software developers from these factors, especially feelings of isolation and disconnectedness.
The good news is that well-being is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened to avoid or manage burnout. Fundamentally it’s no different than learning to play an instrument. Exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, getting proper sleep, and socializing are among several tips to help you reach a consistent state of well-being.
Create and maintain a personal network for both support and new opportunities. It will keep you connected to others and contribute to your well-being. A great way to start or expand your connections is to join a talent network.
Esteemed Colleagues is a co-working community and Talent Experience Platform developed for digital workers to improve their work-life. It provides avenues to engage, learn, share and manage your life, whether freelancing or working full time for a traditional organization. It can help you thrive through content, events, coaching, and mentoring.
The trust you establish within the community will allow you to go beyond your comfort zone to ask questions you might not otherwise. You can find opportunities you won’t find on traditional job sites and create partnerships with others that have the expertise you don’t to complete projects and close new business.
In this world of unlimited demands, constant distraction, and established burnout, mastering anything is an accomplishment. Realistically, acquiring these skills to their fullest can take a lifetime. So take credit for your efforts, stay curious, and be kind to yourself.
Esteemed is here to help grow business, manage workplace challenges, and support you through your entire career journey.
If nothing else, knowing the attributes associated with this skill list will help you work better with your remote clients and colleagues as you strive toward superstar status and grow your career.