What the pandemic has shown us is that having a remote job as an engineer is possible for most of us. The past year 74% of engineering teams have worked remotely and a third of engineers says that from now on they’re only interested in remote jobs for engineers (75% prefers a hybrid option). If you and your colleagues still check in and out at the office every day, it probably has more to do with company culture than with whether you can work from home or not.
In the world of engineering, it’s already quite common for software engineers to choose their workplace. As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you’re good to go.
For hardware engineering on the other hand, it’s completely different. Most mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, etc are still expected to be physically present to do the work. But is this necessary?
Can you work from home as an engineer?
You’re actually the best person to answer that question. It depends on the tasks that you are required to do as part of your job. If you’re dreaming of working from home as an engineer (or on a tropical island), then you should be able to do the work with the tools that you have available outside the office.
Also for hardware engineers, a lot of the work these days is digital. Meaning that you can do the work from any location with access to a computer, the right software and the internet. Think of CAD-design, technical writing, product design, research and analysis work or project management. If there’s no task that requires you to be onsite, then remote should be an option.
Why are you interested in remote engineering work?
But before you start looking into remote jobs for engineers, you should ask yourself why you’re interested in remote work in the first place.
Working remotely comes with clear advantages. No commute, more flexibility to plan your work hours, no distractions from annoying colleagues. But as always, there are also some downsides or ‘risks’ you need to take into account.
Working remotely can be lonely. It takes more of an effort to connect and interact with colleagues. You’ll be missing those informal water-cooler chats. Switching off from work if your workplace is also your home can be hard (hello work-life balance!). And although colleagues are not distracting you, things around the house or watching cat videos on YouTube will…
As long as you love what you’re doing and know that you’ll have zero issues motivating yourself, then you’ll probably be fine. But be honest with yourself if working remotely is the right choice for you.
What kind of remote engineering jobs are you looking for?
The next question to ask is what kind of remote engineering job you are looking for. Maybe you’re happy working for one boss and you would like a job that offers the option to choose your own workplace? Or are you a freelancer who prefers location independence? Are you okay with different time zones? Is it really a ‘job’ you are looking for, or more a project-based opportunity? Or maybe you are looking for a side hustle to make some extra money and develop your engineering skills?
As you can see, the term ‘remote work’ is very broad, so it’s good to decide for yourself what it is you are actually looking for before starting your search.
Where to find the best remote jobs for engineers?
You’re ready to start searching for remote engineering opportunities. Where do you begin? Depending on what type of remote engineering you want to do, you can already narrow your search.
Global companies with remote teams
If it’s a full-time job you’re after, then focus on global companies who are known for working with international – and therefor mostly remote – teams. Even if there’s a location mentioned in the job description, there’s often a lot of flexibility to work remotely as long as you’re (roughly) in the same time zone and legally allowed to work in that country.
Not many companies advertise the option to work remotely, so when in doubt contact the HR department.
Recruitment agencies and engineering freelance websites
If you want to broaden your search or are not sure who’s offering remote work, then start looking at recruitment agencies or job boards that focus on remote work, like AngelList or Pangian. This is also a good place for project-based and freelance work.
The downside of these job boards and freelance platforms is that they are for all sorts of professions, not just engineering. There’s no (hardware) engineering knowledge and experience among the people running these platforms, they’ll just post the opportunity.
For software engineers there are some good engineering freelance websites out there that offer remote opportunities, like SitePoint, Landing.jobs or Gun.io.
Also when it comes to freelance work, you often need to send a proposal to bid on a project. And don’t forget to check what percentage of your earnings they’ll take as a fee.
Talent platforms for engineers
Are you looking for a talent platform that offers opportunities for (hardware) engineers, then Tasker is the place to go. Tasker is a global talent platform for engineers where we match you with tasks and short-term projects. Most of them remote!
We do the matching for you, so there’s no bidding involved. Plus we don’t take a cut of your earnings. When we approach you with an opportunity and a the task price, that’s the money you’ll get.
How to get hired for remote engineering jobs?
Finding great opportunities for remote engineering work is one thing, but getting the job is another.
When you are applying for a remote job, your soft skills are just as critical as your technical skills. If you want to learn more about soft skills for engineers, have a look at the tips we shared in this post.
An employer or client wants to know that you will give them results with limited supervision. So demonstrate your tech skills, but also give examples that show you’re someone they can trust, a self-starter and problem solver with great communication and time management skills.
If you want to get experience in a different industry or domain, show how you can use your skills for what they are looking for. For example, do you have experience with the (software) tools they use, then highlight that in your application. Or have you worked on relevant side projects, then mention how this has prepared you for this type of work.
In the end, show how passionate you are about doing this type of work. No matter how important it is for you to do the work remotely, you’ll still have to do the work. The more your enthusiasm will come across, the more trust an employer or client will have that you’ll give it your all.