Working Remotely in Computer Science
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
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- Remote work is especially common for computer science occupations.
- Many workers in computer science and IT prefer working from home.
- Remote workers enjoy top salaries, high job growth, and geographical freedom.
- Remote jobs require strong time and project management skills.
Remote jobs in computer science are appealing for their many benefits, including the ability to work from anywhere. Aspiring tech and IT professionals can pursue a computer science degree online to qualify for lucrative careers in booming industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in computer and IT occupations earned a median annual salary of $91,250 in May 2020.
Additionally, between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 13% growth for such occupations, many of which are remote computer science jobs. Computer programmers, systems analysts, and web developers, for example, can work from anywhere and earn salaries higher than $100,000 per year. This guide explores the many perks of remote computer science jobs.
Can I Work Remotely With a Computer Science Degree?
Remote jobs are especially common in computer science fields because work like computer programming and web development can be completed from anywhere with internet access.
As so many professionals work remotely in computer science and IT, the minimum education requirements are typically the same — a bachelor's or master's degree — regardless of where the work is performed.
Beyond the education requirements, employers may require or prefer remote workers with experience in computer science. Recent graduates may qualify for entry-level opportunities. However, some employers seek candidates with advanced expertise in computer science and proven work-from-home skills, emphasizing communication and time management.
Some alternative education options cater to professionals searching for a faster pathway to a career. Programs such as online coding bootcamps typically offer accelerated coursework and affordable tuition rates. These alternative programs also develop the soft skills conducive to remote work in computer science, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaborative project management.
Pros and Cons of Working Remotely in Computer Science
- Maximum flexibility: While remote work in computer science requires strict time-management skills, professionals can often work whenever they want.
- Greater geographical freedom: Remote computer science jobs are available across the U.S. and internationally, providing many work options.
- Personalized work environment: Rather than conform to a communal workspace, remote workers can optimize their surroundings for productivity and comfort.
- Potentially higher salary: Remote workers in locations with lower costs of living may earn a salary based on their employer's higher-cost-of-living location.
- Little-to-no personal interaction: Relative isolation sometimes attracts workers to a remote occupation, while others discover they prefer a collaborative workspace.
- Potentially limited advancement options: Some remote workers find promotions challenging since they cannot build an in-person rapport with their superiors.
- Potentially higher distraction rate: Remote workers require more self-discipline to manage the distractions surrounding them than in a dedicated office space.
- Greater time-management requirement: Truly effective time management takes practice and is a critical skill for remote workers.
Computer Science Career and Salary Outlook
A wide variety of occupations offer remote work in computer science. Remote workers enjoy the usual perks of computer and IT jobs, including competitive salaries and high job growth, with the additional benefit of working from wherever they choose. Because most computer science work can be performed independently, tech companies are leaders among remote employers.
Computer science careers often pay much higher salaries than average. Common occupations in this field include computer support specialists, computer programmers, and web developers, who earned median salaries between $55,000 and $90,000 per year in May 2020, according to the BLS. The organization projects computer and IT jobs will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030.
Remote Computer Science Jobs
Computer Support Specialists
Also called technical support specialists, these professionals help individual users identify, troubleshoot, and resolve computer issues. They may specialize in network or user support. Computer support specialists must possess a unique combination of technical and customer service skills to solve problems. Many work remotely through call centers or virtual help desks.
Web Developer or Digital Designer
Web developers and digital designers create and maintain websites. They consider the layout, navigation, ease of access, and user traffic elements. Some web developers and digital designers also create their own web content. Employers may have different education requirements for these professionals, from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree.
Computer programmers write and test code for software programs and apps. They turn the work of software engineers and developers into computer code so computerized systems and devices can run properly. Most jobs require an associate or bachelor's degree. Employers often offer remote computer programming positions.
Software developers create software programs and apps. They work alongside computer programmers and quality assurance analysts to manage the entire life cycle of a software product. Software development occupations may include IT project managers and software engineers. Software developers typically need a bachelor's or master's degree.
Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists analyze and solve computing problems and devise new ways to use existing technology. They may specialize in programming or robotics. Many computer scientists work collaboratively with specialists, including computer and hardware engineers. Most professionals in this field hold at least a master's degree.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
IT managers include top executives such as chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs). They plan and direct an organization's technology-based activities, such as software upgrades, equipment compliance, and project funding. Many high-level CIOs and CTOs work remotely as supervisors of IT directors or other daily operations managers.
How to Find a Remote Job in Computer Science
Professionals with the right skills can pursue many different remote jobs in computer science. With so many tech professionals coveting remote work, computer scientists must take steps to set themselves apart from competitors in their respective areas of expertise. Job seekers should start by identifying the tech industry or field they prefer.
Next, professionals should ensure they possess the technical and soft skills needed for tech jobs. Generally, computer scientists possess programming, math, and coding skills. Additionally, remote employers look for candidates with advanced communication skills, the ability to self-motivate, and time-management expertise.
Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor rank among the most popular sites for job seekers, each featuring a search filter specifically for remote computer and IT jobs. Some job sites like FlexJobs cater solely to remote workers in all fields. Professionals can also post their resumes and portfolios on freelance marketplaces like UpWork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com.
How to Make the Most of Remote Work in Computer Science
For many remote professionals, the opportunity to work from home is its own reward; however, they can further optimize their experience with a few simple considerations. Professionals who aspire to work from home sometimes fail to match reality to their expectations.
For remote workers, particularly in computer science, the right equipment, environment, time-management tools, and work-life balance are key to maximizing productivity and job satisfaction.
Equipment and Environment
Successful remote work in computer science requires the right equipment and environment. Professionals may prefer a desktop or laptop. They often need a specific type of Mac or PC and multiple monitors to perform daily tasks. All remote workers in computer science need a reliable internet connection.
Professionals should also consider an adjustable desk, anti-fatigue mat, and a comfortable office chair, as remote work in computer science typically requires long hours spent in front of the computer screen. Workers may need additional equipment such as noise-canceling headphones, a wireless headset, and a reliable web camera for virtual meetings.
Time Management and Productivity
Time management is crucial to productivity in any field, but especially for remote workers in computer science. Mastering time management is what enables computer science workers to turn their aspirations for a work-from-home job into reality. Daily tasks for these workers may include handling multiple tech support calls or meeting with multiple clients at a time. Professionals must be able to balance work and home life.
Mental Health and Work-Life Balance
Mental health and maintaining a work-life balance are important for any worker; however, remote computer science professionals require extra motivation to take care of themselves outside of a peer-oriented environment. Remote workers should consider virtual methods of regularly checking in with colleagues to build a support system for mental health.
Also make sure to take regular breaks from your computer during the work day to eat, go for a walk, and take care of yourself. Additionally, scheduling specific times for work and non-work activities is critical to balancing obligations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Working Remotely in Computer Science
How do I get a remote job in computer science?
The top job search sites offer "remote" search filters for computer science professionals. Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor post thousands of jobs, including in a variety of IT specializations with work-from-home perks.
Most remote computer science jobs require candidates to hold at least a bachelor's degree and some work experience. Many employers require applicants to participate in a virtual or in-person interview as part of the hiring process. Job candidates can set themselves apart from competitors by developing remote work skills, such as effective time management, technology expertise, and technical writing.
Can you live anywhere with a computer science degree?
Earning a computer science degree can lead to a wide variety of work-from-home computer science jobs. Technical jobs in computer science are often remote. Colleges and universities routinely offer online bachelor's and master's degrees designed to meet the minimum education requirements for computer science-related jobs.
The process of earning an education in computer science is cross-cultural and geographically beneficial; international students can earn a degree in the U.S. but enjoy a remote computer science job in their country of residence after graduation.
What are the highest paying work from home jobs in computer science?
Professionals including software developers, computer and information research scientists, and IT managers often earn more than $100,000 per year, and many work remotely. Since computer science employers commonly offer work-from-home opportunities, remote workers enjoy the same benefits as those who work in an office.
Generally, computer science professionals enjoy high salaries and high job growth. According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers earned a median annual salary of $151,150 in May 2020. The organization projects jobs for these professionals will grow 13% between 20202 and 2030.
What kind of tech jobs allow you to work remotely?
Tech fields are among the largest providers of remote work opportunities. Professionals like web developers, software developers, and web designers commonly work from home and conduct business virtually through online meetings and email correspondence.
High-level management professionals like CIOs and CTOs may also work remotely as they tend to be less involved in an organization's day-to-day operations and can meet virtually with department heads and board members. Some tech jobs require a more hands-on approach. Database administrators and network managers must sometimes remain onsite at an organization to help manage daily supervisory tasks.
Is working remotely worth it?
Yes, the majority of tech professors cite remote work as one of the most appealing aspects of their job. According to a 2021 report by Terminal, 75% of software engineers want the option to work remotely. Forty-six percent of surveyed professionals reported higher productivity when working from home.
Remote work in computer science affords professionals the same lucrative salaries and opportunities for growth that onsite tech jobs are known for, but with expanded flexibility. Through work-from-home opportunities, computer scientists can live anywhere with an internet connection and pursue a more balanced work-life dynamic.
Feature Image: Alistair Berg / DigitalVision / Getty Images