How to land a software engineering job remotely
Remote software engineering jobs exist in every industry. And if you prefer to work from the comfort of your home, you might be wondering how to find one.
Landing a remote software engineering job requires a great app and portfolio, connecting with the right people, preparing for interviews, and showcasing your technical skills.
This page offers tips for finding opportunities that fit your lifestyle, coordinating your job search, navigating the interview process, and negotiating the salary you want.
1. Be clear about the type of software engineering role you want.
Deciding on a career as a software engineer versus a web developer or another IT profession may require some research. Research software engineering jobs to determine your interest in developing, designing, building, and testing software applications.
Consider the size and type of business you prefer. A large tech company will have multiple managers and teams. A startup may offer the opportunity to work on a wider range of projects than a larger company, where you are more likely to specialize.
If you’re concerned about earning a certain salary or maintaining a work/life balance, consider the industry. Some industries, such as video game development, are known for being fast paced and requiring overtime. Others are generally more laid back.
Finally, make sure you have the right experience and training for the desired roles. Otherwise, plan to take online courses, coding bootcamps, or tech certifications.
2. Look in the right places for remote software engineering work.
Software engineers find job postings on organization websites and job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed, and SimplyHired. LinkedIn is another resource for job seekers and provides online networking opportunities.
If you know which company(ies) you want to work for, it makes sense to go directly to the company’s job site. While you’re on the site, learn about the company, its history and its latest projects. One downside is that you may miss out on great jobs at other companies.
Job sites (Glassdoor, Indeed, etc.)
Job search sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, SimplyHired and ZipRecuiter have a large number of job postings. They also allow you to store your resume for easy application. The large number of applicants for each job can make it difficult to stand out.
Job seekers post their profiles and can apply for positions through LinkedIn. They can also follow companies, join alumni and industry groups, create job alerts, and ask for referrals from their contacts. Relying solely on LinkedIn can be limiting because not all companies recruit through the platform.
Exploit and develop your network
Building a network using social media and LinkedIn, taking advantage of internships and mentorship opportunities, and asking for referrals from colleagues, classmates, and instructors can help launch your career. It takes time and effort, but knowing the right person can give you an edge in the job market. Check out our networking tips for more tips.
Attending industry conferences, talks from executives of companies you admire, alumni events, job fairs and even co-worker parties can allow you to meet people who can help you get hired. Practice a short “enlightenment talk” about the job you are looking for and your applicable skills.
3. Maximize the quality of your application and your portfolio.
Finding a remote software engineering job requires a catchy cover letter, resume, and portfolio.
If you’re just starting to become a software engineer, your software engineering bootcamp or degree program will include portfolio development. Portfolios showcase your work on a website or other electronic platform. Include a description of each project, its purpose, and how you built and tested the app.
Experienced software engineers can present work projects, emphasize problem-solving abilities, and include a professional biography in their portfolios.
Tailor your cover letter for each position you’re applying for to demonstrate that you’ve researched the company. Your software engineer resume should highlight education, relevant work history, certifications earned, programming languages, software skills, and technical skills.
4. Apply for remote software engineering jobs that tick your boxes.
When you’re ready to apply, create a checklist of job characteristics that are important to you. Use it to avoid applying for positions that don’t match your needs.
At the enterprise level, consider:
- Does the organization value work-life balance?
- Is the mission of the organization something you can get on board with?
- Is the corporate culture appropriate?
Other important considerations include opportunities for training, professional development, and career advancement.
Conclusion: trust your instincts. If the work doesn’t excite you, find one that does.
5. Show your expertise, self-awareness and passion throughout the interview process.
The interview process for a remote software engineer position takes time.
The first step may be a screening call from a recruiter, who will ask you basic questions about your interest and qualifications for the position. A second call may come from the hiring manager, who will ask you for more details about your skills and allow you to ask questions.
Then you can interview in person or by videoconference with your supervisors, managers or even potential colleagues. Prepare for behavioral interview questions about what you would do in certain situations and culturally appropriate questions about your desired work environment.
You will also likely take a skills assessment test.
SEE: How to Become a Software Engineer at Amazon
6. Stay organized by tracking your applications and interview statuses.
Organize your job search with tools like these:
- Google Docs, an ideal platform for creating and storing resumes, cover letters and other documents
- Google Sheets or Excel, spreadsheets you can customize to track submitted applications and interview dates
- Notion, described as a personal wiki of projects you want to showcase
- Job seeker tracking apps like JibberJobber, JobCull, Kiter, Placement, and Teal
7. Be prepared to negotiate your salary.
Once you’ve received a job offer, you’ll want to know how to negotiate the salary.
One negotiation technique we recommend is to use the “Five Ws” popularized by journalists:
- To research who you will negotiate with, for example, a recruiter, hiring manager or supervisor.
- To know What the typical market salary corresponds to your position.
- To understand where you will discuss the salary, for example face to face, on the phone or by videoconference.
- When do you start negotiations? After the employer offers a specific number on the salary.
- Be ready to explain Why you deserve the salary you ask for.
This article has been reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE
Sierra Gawlowski, PE, earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in Washington State. She has worked for a private consulting engineering company as well as for public bodies. Sierra enjoys mentoring engineering students and junior staff. She also leads a project team for Engineers Without Borders and currently sits on the board of Kilowatts for Humanity.
Gawlowski is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Last revised May 2, 2022.