Gone are the days of traditional jobs being the only prestigious careers. At the moment, "tech sis" and "tech bro" aren't just trendy titles, they're badges of honor. In the first quarter of 2022, startups in Africa raised 355 million U.S. dollars, and the continent is home to seven startups worth over $1 billion. Individuals are already thriving in the field, it's no wonder so many are drawn to the lucrative salaries, flexible schedules, and endless career paths the tech landscape offers.
But breaking into tech, especially remotely, can feel like cracking a high-tech code. So, if you're a tech enthusiast itching for your first remote gig, this article is your guide.
We'll break down how you can successfully land your first tech job.
Gather Essential Skills and Strategies for Remote Tech Work
Before exploring the specific skills required for remote tech work, it's important to pinpoint your tech niche, be it coding, data analysis, or design. Knowing your focus helps tailor your skill set to align with the demands of your chosen field. Here are effective ways to acquire the essential skills and strategies to land a remote tech job.
Identifying In-Demand Skills
Candidates with sought-after tech skills are prioritized in the job market. To ensure your CV stands out, identify and acquire the skills currently in demand. You can find out how to make your CV stand out. Explore remote job boards like Remote4Africa and analyze job requirements in your chosen niche. Create a spreadsheet noting down the most frequently mentioned skills to guide your learning journey.
Must-Have Soft and Technical Skills
Soft skills, although not a skill you can literally type on a laptop, play a crucial role in securing a tech job. Below are some of the most valuable soft skills for remote tech jobs:
- Analytical thinking
- Detail orientation
- Interpersonal/communication skills
On the technical side, your skill set will depend on your chosen niche. Common technical skills include;
- Data analysis tools (Excel, Power BI, Tableau)
- Project management (Trello, Asana, Jira)
- design software (Figma, Sketch, Adobe Creative Suite).
Continuous learning through online courses, bootcamps, and personal projects is essential for staying competitive in the rapidly evolving tech industry. While tech websites will help, you'll need professional technical courses to explore complex technical topics better. You'll find lots of high-quality online courses that can take you through any technical topic imaginable here:
- Udemy, Coursera, Team Treehouse, Plural Sight, W3 Schools, Khan Academy, and Udacity are great places to learn programming, UI, and UX, as well as web and app development.
- Google's digital skills course, HubSpot's Content Marketing course, Alison.com E-Business Course, Neil Patel's blog are all good resources for learning digital marketing and SEO.
Establish a Strong Online Presence
In the tech industry, success often correlates with a strong online presence. Think of a person excelling in tech, and you're likely envisioning a tech influencer. These individuals actively engage on social media, consistently sharing their work and expertise.
A potent social media presence is a key tool for creating opportunities and strategically positioning yourself through effective branding. While you don't necessarily have to become a full-fledged influencer, it's highly recommended to build a compelling online profile.
Recruiters frequently seek candidates whose contributions they encounter regularly on their timeline or profiles. So, how can you establish a robust online presence? You can also learn how to use social media to land a remote job.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a powerful platform for establishing a professional online presence. Write an engaging profile using the right keywords, hashtags, and share your knowledge to attract recruiters. Actively participate in discussions, showcase your achievements, and demonstrate your expertise. A strong LinkedIn presence increases your visibility and positions you as a valuable candidate in the eyes of potential employers.
Build a Professional Portfolio
If you have not worked on any tech project before, you can build a strong portfolio by contributing to open-source projects and engaging in personal projects. It’s easy enough to start contributing to open source. Check out Open Source Guide for more information on open source projects, it’s also a great way to advance your programming skills while also giving back to the developer community.
Theoretical knowledge is essential, but practical application is invaluable. Build projects that adhere to best coding practices, demonstrating your skills and problem-solving abilities. Identify a problem or feature, and create solutions to showcase your programming expertise.
Joining virtual communities of tech enthusiasts will not only give you an opportunity to network and showcase your expertise, but will also assist you in gaining more resources.
Navigate Remote Job Platforms Effectively
Securing your first tech job as a remote worker involves more than just applying; it requires strategic use of remote job platforms and implementing best practices for successful remote work. Platforms like Remote4Africa offer opportunities across the continent, making it essential for first-time job seekers to enhance their job search process and optimize their remote work experience.
Refine Search Queries for Better Matches
To improve your job search on remote platforms, refine your queries using keywords that align with your skills and aspirations. Utilize social media platforms like Twitter, Quora, and LinkedIn to discover opportunities. Tailor your search with keywords such as "entry-level tech," "remote tech job," or specific skills like "machine learning" to narrow down relevant job listings.
Create a Targeted Remote Job Resume
Cvs are not just for white collar jobs, it is also an essential in securing your first remote tech job. A Tech Cv would highlight your gained experiences, work skills and projects. If you're applying for the position of a web developer or IT consultant, having a technical CV is important, as this is what you're to present to the recruiter or your potential employer. Here is how to write a CV that attracts employers.
Most of the remote tech job interviews might ask of the following:
- GitHub profile
- LinkedIn profile
- Codepen profile
- Personal portfolio
- Resume as a PDF or link
Network and build connections
Once you've acquired the prerequisite skills, you'll need a lot of connections to get going. Since you'll be building a career working from home, you'll need to “know someone that knows someone” in order to augment your lack of physical connections that traditional workplaces offer.
To build strong, valuable networks, you'll need to:
- Go to events, conferences, and seminars. Meet new people, interact with them, share your tech-related interests, and express a genuine desire to learn more.
- Offer to help others within your tech field, even if you know very little. By helping others, you're learning in the process and also creating room for them to reciprocate.
- Start a blog or use sites like Medium.com to write about your tech interests. With consistency, you'll attract like-minded readers that can grow into a sizable community.
- Don't be shy. Reach out to industry experts you admire. They'll likely respond. Remember, they're probably trying to build a network as well.
- Join relevant communities on Facebook, Reddit, and Quora.
Tips For Applying For Remote Jobs
Here are some tips based on what our successful job seekers learnt doing their tech application process:
- Have a soft copy version of your resume and portfolio on hand and be prepared to type (a lot).
- Some companies repeat base interview questions so you could keep a sort of template answer on hand and tailor it to the company.
- Other companies may ask really in-depth questions that require a lot of thought so feel free to bookmark those pages, do your research and then answer.
The remote tech industry is massive. There's a good chance that the work you do in a brick-and-mortar office can be done remotely. Do some research, apply on job boards and reach out to companies. There could be something for you.