Hiring developers

How to Become a Remote Developer | Turing Jobs

By February 5, 2020 7 min read

Are you thinking of becoming a remote developer and working for a leading company – hopefully, one based in Silicon Valley – but you don’t live in the US and haven’t been able to secure a visa? Don’t despair. More and more of the latest Valley startups have discovered that there’s a ton of talent offshore. This means that today might just be the best time in history to become a remote developer.

As someone who’s been working remotely for about as long as it’s been possible, my goal with this post is to tell you how to prepare yourself to get your first serious remote gig. Today, I work for a company called Turing.com that places developers with opportunities all over the globe. We have some of the most advanced developer testing and vetting of any company globally. What I’m about to share with you are vital insights I’ve developed first, as a person that’s gone through Turing’s testing and vetting process as well as someone that now works on making that process even more challenging and better.

But first, let’s answer some of those burning questions you may have about software development and working remotely.

What is a remote software developer?

A remote software developer carries out the same tasks and duties that a non-remote software developer would. He or she surveys a particular customer’s unique needs and then builds, tests, and improves upon software to help meet those needs. The most notable difference between the two is that a remote software engineer performs their duties from the comfort of their own home, while a non-remote developer does so from an office. 

Given the remote nature of their job, it’s typical for such developers to face little to no micro-management and hand-holding in their day-to-day tasks. Going remote also gives developers another important perk: more control over how they spend valuable time. Since this eliminates their daily commute to and fro work, developers can spend their free time as they see fit.

Can you work remotely as a software developer?

Yes! Software development is a highly flexible career choice. To work remotely as a software developer, all you’d need is a high-speed internet connection and a decent computer or laptop. Today, more programmers are working from home than ever before. A recent Stack Overflow survey revealed that nearly half of the participating developers worked remotely at least partly. A majority of these developers were regular, full-time employees.

Undoubtedly, remote working is becoming increasingly popular among software developers because of its many perks. Remote work opens up a world of possibilities for developers, including better salaries than local standards, less commuting time, and a healthier work-life balance. 

How much do remote developers make?

It’s no secret that remote workers often make more than non-remote workers do. In general, remote employees earn 7.5% more than non-remote employees who have the same amount of experience and perform the same job. Further, an uncontrolled group study found that remote workers in the technical field earn 39.4% more than non-remote workers, while a controlled study found that they make 3.1% more. 

Is it hard to get a remote programming job?

Getting a remote programming job is decidedly not easy. But, fortunately for developers, in today’s day and age, opportunities are opening up by the dozen. Web development, for instance, ranked in the top 15 on FlexJobs’ list of the most common remote roles. Engineering as a whole ranked 2nd. It’s clear, then, that remote programmers are in demand.

Additionally, platforms like Turing are now making it simpler for developers to find the best remote programming jobs. For instance, developers can score Turing jobs that are full-time and long-term. After you’ve completed your long-term engagement with a customer, Turing seamlessly rematches you with another company. Once you become a Turing developer, you never have to apply for another job again.

Are coding jobs stressful? 

Coding jobs are as stressful as any job. But the bottom line is, they don’t have to be. Working remotely as a coder could reduce stress levels by a great deal. Studies have demonstrated that remote work (or flexible work) lowers levels of work-related stress and helps employees prioritize their health and wellness. What’s more, it also helps boost morale among workers! 

Which coding skills should I have on my resume? 

If you’re looking to grow your skill-set, take inspiration from the list of most popular Turing software jobs to learn what companies are looking and hiring for. React-based developer jobs top the list of the most in-demand roles, followed closely by Python jobs. Roles that require developers with a firm grasp of React and Node are also particularly popular. Ruby on Rails, iOS/Swift, and Java jobs round off the top 6 most wanted skills. 

Is coding still relevant in 2025?

Yes! In 2020, even during a global pandemic, the worldwide software developer population continued to grow by a staggering 500,000, reaching a total of 24.5 million! If current trends are anything to go by, coding will remain a popular and relevant role in 2025 and beyond. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a 30.7% growth in employment for software developers in the US between 2016 and 2026. This translates into 255,400 jobs opening up in the US alone. 

How do I get a job as a remote developer?

Like I mentioned earlier, scoring a job as a remote developer is getting simpler by the minute. Through Turing.com, Silicon Valley and US-based companies hire for several remote roles. While only the top 1% of developers make it past Turing’s Silicon Valley-rivalling vetting process, there are ways you can dramatically increase your chances of becoming a Turing remote developer. I outline some of them below. 

First Things First, Be Prepared to Show Your Work

If you’re a developer applying right now, make sure that you’ve got a portfolio of some work you’ve done before. It could be code you’ve submitted to GitHub. It could be some art design work. Perhaps some websites you’ve developed or applications on the App Store.

Being able to showcase completed work is an excellent thing. When evaluating candidates who have passed our tests, we look at prior work. Additionally, many Turing customers want to see examples of the work a potential match has completed. 

The other thing that can help you stand out is a good CV. But be careful! Attention to detail is critical. Ensure there are no errors in any documents you share to showcase your skill. Nothing will shoot you in the foot the way an obvious mistake can. Believe me; I’ve seen so many people with errors in their CVs. To me, it’s a red flag if someone submits such an essential document with mistakes. It says you’re careless and don’t take the time to check your work. So, no errors on CVs!

It’s also essential to have relevant information included in your portfolio. If you say that you have a particular skill, make sure that there’s a related project where you have actually used that skill. You’d be surprised at how often someone will say they are proficient at coding in a particular language but then don’t provide a single example of their work in that discipline. If you say you’re good at something, impress me by showing me a sample of your great work!

Another critical skill for someone who wants to work for a high-profile US company remotely is strong English. I know many people are not native English speakers, so it’s always good to make sure that your English is concise. If this is a weakness, don’t ignore it. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you understand English very well and that you’re proficient in communicating in English, too. It’s the language your team is going to use, it’s the language you’ll be using to comment your code, and it’s probably the language of the people that will be using the product you want to help build. It’s easy to think people will overlook weak English skills. Still, if two candidates have the same experience and have performed equally well on the automated tests, the one with better English skills will perform more strongly in a live technical screening.

How to Ace Your Automated Testing

The key to an excellent performance on automated testing is to be very well prepared.

Ensure, for example, that if your area of expertise is Python, you have prepared yourself in terms of the coverage of the topics in Python.

Be sure you’re prepared to cover that language end to end because the questions will try to test your coverage. The exam will cover your in-depth knowledge as well. If it’s algorithms and data structures you work on, be sure you know everything from the most basic concepts to graphing algorithms and runtime complexity.

How Long Turing’s Automated Testing Should Take a Skilled Developer

For a skilled individual, I estimate that our current automated testing will take about eight hours. So, maybe a day. But of course, you may not want to put all that pressure on yourself to finish everything in one day. My recommendation is to allocate two hours per day and give yourself roughly a week to do just about all the MCQs in the qualifying exams.

Technical Exams – Where You’ll Sink or Swim

Just like with the automated MCQs, your performance during the technical Turing interview will come down to how well you’ve prepared yourself. During a technical screen, we want to understand your in-depth knowledge. We also try to validate your performance on the MCQs and understand if you have good working knowledge of design patterns.

You must know everything from the basics to some really advanced techniques for whatever programming language you use. And since we only pass the top 1% of developers, you need to be prepared to talk about the projects you’ve worked on in a bit of detail.

You also need to be able to answer system design questions. System design questions are essential for a screener to understand how you are able to visualize a product from an architectural point of view. You should also be able to go deeper, all the way to the code, and even up to how you’ll deploy the project. So, you need to be prepared to discuss end-to-end software development.

For example, if you are a Python Django developer, you should be prepared to answer any questions relating to that language in depth. It’s also good if you’re capable of answering questions about system design and planning.

Where Developers Get Tripped Up in the Technical Screen

During a technical screening, most people are not prepared to go into detail on algorithms and data structures. Again, it comes back to preparation. We often have people complain that they don’t need to know this stuff for the work they do but being competent with both algorithms and data structures is very important for high-level work. Another thing I see a lot of candidates struggle with is when we ask them to explain various concepts in English. I’ll emphasize again, having strong English communication skills is vital to ensure placement with top-tier US opportunities.

Final Words of Advice

To wrap up this post, I want to emphasize a couple of the key points I’ve made above. In Silicon Valley, it’s very competitive to find good work. If you’re trying to get into this market as a remote engineer, you have to be truly exceptional. The Turing developer tests are designed to filter out all but the best candidates.

If you’re serious about securing one of these most in-demand positions, my advice is as follows:

  • Preparation is critical. If you have a weakness, work to improve it
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding algorithms and data structures because if you do, you’ll fail the MCQs or the technical screen
  • Make sure your ability to communicate in English is up to the task. If it’s not, take action to improve it
  • Be sure to have a portfolio that includes projects related to the languages you claim to know
  • Polish your CV. Scrub it of mistakes because if you don’t, we’ll notice them and that will hurt your chances

Next Time

In my next post, I’ll be talking about what you should expect once you’ve passed the MCQ and technical screens, how candidates are matched with opportunities, and what you should do to ensure that your onboarding process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.


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How to Become a Remote Developer | Turing Jobs
Interested in becoming a remote developer? This blog tells you how to work for top tier silicon valley companies and getting Turing jobs.
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Malisa Ncube
Malisa Ncube
I enjoy building things and solving problems and learning in the process. I've been a Chief Software Architect at Optiva Inc. I worked at Microsoft, Clinton Health Access, and Infectious Diseases as a Senior Software Developer. I worked in several Uganda Government projects where I developed systems for the Ministry of Health and e-Governance Readiness. I helped develop systems for Telcoms, Health, Finance, Government, NGOs, Agriculture, and Retail, among others. I developed systems for AMREF International, which they currently use for Monitoring and Evaluation all over the world. I started my career as a trainer, teaching Computer Science, and Programming. I still enjoy talking in events and interacting with other developers and learning new stuff for better solutions. I love music, art, philosophy, and poetry. I think it's all related to programming because of orchestration and creativity.
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  • Innocent Mazando
    May 19, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Detailed enough