Labeling skills as soft undervalues them. To prioritize skills such as communication, IT leaders must call them what they are in the digital era: Core.
6 top work-from-home jobs for IT professionals
Remote-working options let employers cast a wider net for good people. Check out these IT roles with increasing opportunities
If “work from home” sounds to you like a teaser for a get-rich-quick infomercial, it might be time to recalibrate your assumptions. Working remotely is an increasingly viable and common scenario for employers and employees alike, IT jobs included.
"More and more, we are seeing companies across industries, including those in technology, making the shift toward offering remote or flexible working options as a way of competing for top talent who prioritize flexible working environments and [as a way of] cutting costs,” says Sarah Stoddard, community expert at the jobs site Glassdoor.
[ Which of today's IT roles are vanishing? Read our related article, 4 dying IT jobs. ]
For IT pros, it can be a matter of flexibility, lifestyle, and balance – not having to relocate to a new area to accept a new job offer can be highly attractive for some people, for example. Stoddard notes that this is a job hunter's market. IT leaders know well that can be especially true when it comes to recruiting and retaining tech talent. As a result, Stoddard says employers are increasingly using remote-working opportunities as a means of casting a wider net for good people.
Tech recruiters share a similar perspective.
“In today’s tight job market, we see a lot of companies who are willing to offer remote options to their technology team members,” says Jim Johnson, senior vice president for the technology division at recruiting firm Robert Half. “Letting employees work remotely can help cut down on costs and open companies to talent in other geographical markets. It can also be a strong recruitment and retention strategy.”
That’s not just a sound bite. In a recent Robert Half survey of 2,800 professionals across industries, 77 percent of respondents said they’d be more likely to accept a job offer if it included the possibility of working remotely at least part of the time.
What does this mean for IT pros? Depending on your particular experience and future goals, your skills might align well with the work-from-home trend.
It’s not a fit for every person, job function, or company culture – positions that require managing a large team, for example, might require more face time. Plenty of IT functions – some of which encompass a range of particular job titles and may also overlap other roles – do lend themselves quite well to remote positions though, assuming IT leadership is on board and fully enabling a distributed workforce.
(Worth noting: There’s room for growth here, IT leaders. A different Robert Half survey of more than 1,500 professionals and 600 HR managers ranked telecommuting as one of the three most sought-after perks, yet just 14 percent of companies were currently offering remote-work opportunities.)
Johnson from Robert Half notes that work-from-home positions can cross just about any IT job title, but there are some areas where they are currently more prevalent. Let’s look at a half-dozen roles or job categories that offer increasing opportunities for work-from-home positions.
1. Cloud and database administration
The long-standing database administrator, or DBA, role is one that meshes well with remote work. IT services provider Sierra-Cedar, for example, is currently advertising a position for a veteran DBA; they’re looking for someone with at least six years experience, but that person can live anywhere in the U.S., according to its opening posted on tech jobs site Dice.
Johnson points to the more recent proliferation of cloud administrator roles as one of the prevalent work-from-home categories these days. In general, jobs that incorporate “administrator” in the title can be good fits for remote positions; a search for “cloud administrator remote” or “remote cloud administrator” on jobs site Indeed will give you a feel for the range of titles that fit this big bucket.
[ Is your career stuck in neutral? Read our related article, Is your IT career stalled? 7 tips to get back on track. ]
2. Help desk, support, and technician roles
In a similar (but not quite the same) vein, Johnson says that help and service desk positions, as well as support or technician roles, are good fits for remote hiring and employment.
These can run a wide gamut, from the traditional L1 support rep to more specialized technical roles. For instance, security software firm Bay Dynamics is hiring (with a $105,000-$120,000 salary range) a remote IT lab technician. Its listing on Dice notes there’s no travel required, either.
3. Software development
Developer and programmer positions are great examples of roles that can absolutely be done remotely, but the decision whether or not to offer that flexibility may boil down to organizational culture and need.
Roles that are heavy on head-down coding, though, can make good sense for remote scenarios, Johnson notes. Multiple job sites bear this out; if a company in Pittsburgh is struggling to find a Java or Python programmer locally, there aren’t many obstacles stopping it from finding that programmer in Phoenix instead.