6 Things Every Remote Software Engineer Needs to Know

6 Things Every Remote Software Engineer Needs to Know
Image Credit: Te Ara

Working as a remote software engineer can be an enjoyable challenge for those who are up to it. And the remote field continues to grow — about 86% of software creators now work remotely.

But whether you’re a newbie or an expert engineer, securing a remote job can be tough. While remote positions offer incredible benefits, they’re not free from hassles, which can range from navigating the job-seeking process to performing job duties.

To stay on top of the game as a remote software engineer, you need to understand the crucial elements that will ensure success. In this article, we’ll share the information you need to get started.

6 Things Every Remote Software Engineer Needs to Know

Here are six vital skills you’ll want to master if you want to be a remote software engineer:

1. How To Use Template Galleries When Applying

A remote workforce allows companies to choose the best workers, no matter where they are located — but that means remote software engineers have a lot more competition.

With hundreds of employees applying for the same position, you need to stand out and make an impression on the hiring team. An excellent way to captivate recruiters is to write an outstanding cover letter, which allows you to share your qualifications and persuade a company to see you as the best match for the role.

Use a cover letter from a template gallery to ensure that your letter meets industry standards while being persuasive enough. The template gallery provides a guide to help you create the perfect cover letter for your dream role.

2. How To Understand Software Users With Card-Sorting Strategies

As we discussed above, you’ll be up against stiff competition for any remote role. That means understanding your users and how they relate to your software is especially crucial if you want to stand out. For example, what are your users’ thought processes, and what do they expect from your software?

The engineer must identify, simplify, and tackle users’ fundamental problems. Card sorting is a software developer research tool that helps them structure the information they gather from users. It’s a practical research method for understanding your user’s experience, and showing proficiency in this method can help set you apart as you apply for remote roles.

3. How To Negotiate Salaries

Most prospects dread the salary negotiation phase — imagine the money you leave on the table when you fail to negotiate.

Many HR managers allow prospects to discuss their salary before taking on the job. This means you must research the industry’s trends and compensation range to gain insight into average earnings. As a remote worker, you’ll also want to know if a company’s pay bands change by region.

As you negotiate, ensure you stay honest, as honesty is crucial in salary negotiation. The company may withdraw its offer if they discover you’ve been dishonest about your previous earnings.

One way to ace the negotiation process is to rehearse with your career mentor or someone already in the system. Rehearsing with such persons will boost your confidence and overall performance with HR. Remember, good negotiation skills are essential to making good money for your services.

4. How To Manage Daily Tasks

Time management is critical when working remotely. You’ll need to learn how to manage your daily tasks to stay productive and effective with your job duties.

Create a schedule for each day. You can break large assignments into smaller ones and aim to complete the most challenging tasks in the early hours of your work time, which will help you spend your time effectively and maintain a better work-life balance.

Tracking your daily work progress will help you stay focused and organized. Another great way to effectively manage tasks is to create a workspace within your home. By dedicating a separate space for your work activities, you’ll reduce the tendency to give in to distractions that hamper efficiency.

There needs to be a solution to managing your day while working remotely. Try different methods and stick with what works best for your job type.

5. How To Prevent Burnout

Employee burnout is an issue for most employees. When you work remotely, you may find yourself doing more than you would in an office — especially if there’s no set start/stop time. Mental exhaustion, reduced work efficiency, poor concentration, and constant health challenges are all indications of burnout.

Make sure you’re not consistently taking on more work than you can complete in a fair amount of time. In addition, take breaks when necessary. Knowing the right time to take breaks and time off work will help you refresh and improve your job duties and guarantee your effectiveness.

Relieving yourself from burnout in the workplace by adopting these best work practices will help you prevent employee burnout and ensure your overall well-being.

6. How To Build Relationships With Clients, Co-Workers, and Other Remote Workers

Relationship building is essential for remote software engineers because it involves effective communication with clients, proper networking with other workers in the industry, and fostering relationships with clients and team members.

Connect with other individuals to stay current with the job trends in your industry. You won’t reach the apex of success by being a lone wolf, so you’ll need to create and build on your relationships with industry associates. Those relationships will lead to opportunities and open new doors.

What Are Some Challenges of Remote Software Engineering?

Remote work opens the doors for tech companies to hire outstanding software engineers — but these engineers face multiple challenges as remote workers.

As a remote software engineer, you need to understand these challenges and plan around them if you want a successful career.

  • Reduced Social Interactions

While it seems like a great idea, transitioning from traditional workspaces to working in your own space takes time and effort. Many remote employees become lonely, especially when they’re constantly separated from or ignoring their friends and family.

When employees are lonely, they often aren’t happy. Their mood may impact their effectiveness and productivity, as well as the amount of work they complete.

To correct this challenge, take timely breaks or occasionally change your work location.

  • Increased Distractions

Remote jobs often entail periodic monitoring. This is contrary to conventional employment, where monitoring is more constant.

Working for long periods without checkups or supervision will increase the distractions from the duties. Also, during a significant period of your work, you spend time on social media or chatting with family. It’s normal to be affected by distractions, particularly when you work from your comfort zone.

How can you decrease the distractions in your remote workplace? Many remote workers opt for proper work scheduling, a change of environment, and separating themselves from distracting gadgets.

  • Working Overtime

Generally, people assume remote work equals less work. However, 40% of remote employees work longer hours.

An intense workload will make the remote engineer lose track of time and work longer and longer hours. As mentioned above, this can eventually lead to stress, burnout, and even mental breakdowns.

Aside from overworking from the company’s end, remote workers fix overworking by setting alarms, working out a proper schedule, and creating a separate space for work activities.

  • Tech Issues

Most remote software engineers eventually face technical problems, which can severely cut into their productivity.

Things like virtual meetings and scheduling/executing tasks will become frustrating if the tech isn’t cooperating. And that’s just the start; consistent technical problems will lead to missed deadlines and other job-related problems.

With that said, most tech faults are due to limited tech resources. The best way to manage such glitches is to have backup solutions.

  • Gaps in Communication

About 86% of experts pin workplace issues on inadequate communication. This can be exacerbated in a remote workplace, where communication can take varied forms (such as chats, video calls, phone calls, and emails). In addition, remote employees may not understand the message conveyed in a meeting or direction — or worse, they may be distracted as they work on other tasks during a phone-in meeting.

Prevention is often the best medicine for communication gaps. If you’re attending meetings of any sort (video or phone-only), set aside your work and concentrate on what the speakers are saying. Take notes. If you are having trouble understanding what you’re being told or asked, remember to ask questions.

If you’re running into difficulties understanding a task or direction, odds are others are having these same difficulties. Speaking up can spare an entire team or department the trouble communication gaps can bring. In addition, highlighting these problems can improve the way departments and companies communicate with each other.

  • Time Zone Discrepancies

A company spread across different locations and time zones can prove extremely challenging for its remote workers. Things become even more challenging when the company leader expects remote staff to report to job duties in the company’s primary time zone.

Companies and teams can get around these problems by embracing asynchronous communication, depending on messages or emails to keep projects going. If live meetings are critical, leadership should choose a time when people in multiple time zones can attend — one remote worker may be wrapping up their day in one time zone, while another is just beginning theirs.

Build a Successful Career As a Remote Software Engineer

Like every industry, the software engineering department requires employees and prospects to understand all that remote working entails.

This article provides a good foundation to build on as a remote software engineer. It prepares you for some of the challenges ahead while equipping you with the knowledge that will help you meet them.


Jennifer Nwokolo is an SEO content writer for B2B and SaaS brands. She has helped a lot of brands tell their stories and expand their reach.

She upholds that the ideal content comprises the balance of information, entertainment, and SEO. She is steadily building a community of individuals who love reading great content.

This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. If you’d like to share some insights about how you run your remote company, learn more here.

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