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Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/25/16 11:25 a.m.

If so, what do you do and how did you get there? What sort of schooling helps, and what can one expect to make in such a field?

Mrs. Hungary and I are putting together a 10-year plan that might allow us to live in a small town overseas. While there may end up being employment possibilities locally, I'd like to see about working remotely via the interwebs.

Honest assessment: I'm probably not going to make it as a journalist. I've done data entry (fill cells on an excel spreadsheet) and honestly, I'd rather find something more involved/challenging. Not the best when it comes to art type designing (so I may not be a good web developer). I saw that "remote tech support specialist" was listed in the top three "work from home" jobs but didn't know the specifics or what companies to look for in terms of employment opportunities.

Like I said, we're in the planning stages so any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks!

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
1/25/16 11:32 a.m.

I work in IT and have worked from home for about 4 years full time now.

It's an adjustment that I'm still making.

Luckily, my positions have been under some decent managers that understand the job requirements and duties such that if I'm not online due to running an errand or grabbing some lunch, it isn't an issue as they can reach me via phone if necessary.

Any planned absences or travel just need to be communicated ahead of time.

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
1/25/16 11:40 a.m.

I've worked from home for the past 2 years and 2 months. I love it. I end up traveling to the client site a couple days a month usually, although I was there most of October and all of November. The benefit for me is that I can work more flexible work hours and I can get complicated tasks done easier because the usual office distractions and drive-by tasking are pretty much non-existent.

I'm doing engineering design work and not IT stuff so I can't really help with remote tech support roles.

It does take some adjustments to get used to the idea of working from home. I felt like I was getting away with something for the first 6 months or so. Now I realize I get more done this way. If I am going to be out of my office for more than a short errand during normal working hours, I forward my office phone to my cell and take my laptop with me.

I got here through luck and demonstrated ability. For two years I worked on site supporting the company I now work for. When that project was done, they liked my work enough to offer me a job.

Karacticus
Karacticus HalfDork
1/25/16 12:14 p.m.

I'm in the avionics system engineering business, and we've got software weenies that work remotely, though they've usually established a reputation on site first.

Of course, if you want to work remotely from India, we're getting more and more of our software verification and test facilities set up to support that.

drainoil
drainoil Reader
1/25/16 12:20 p.m.

Are there any positions like this that are not in IT?

Storz
Storz Dork
1/25/16 12:23 p.m.

My wife works from home, she is a proposal coordinator for RTI International. She was hired on at the Durham NC location, but a move back home to MI came up and was allowed to transfer and work from home.

I technically work remotely as well, I am in an office but am the only member of my group here and don't work on any of the projects based out of this office, my manager is in Boston and my technical lead is in Portland Maine.

My little group (inside of a giant engineering company) uses Citrix for everything, I can sit anywhere with an internet connection and work.

As stated above its a bit of luck and demonstrating that you can be trusted to work anywhere, I managed to get into some pretty specific stuff in my line of work that really only one or two other people in my company do and gives you more leverage "getting what you want"

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
1/25/16 12:25 p.m.
drainoil wrote: Are there any positions like this that are not in IT?

There are a few in the insurance and healthcare industries - in healthcare I know there's medical coding.

scardeal
scardeal Dork
1/25/16 12:28 p.m.

I work from home as a BI Consultant; been home full time about 6-7 months now. Requires a strong background in DBA/SQL programming type work. Several years relevant experience necessary. Knowledge of business processes a definite plus. Strong demand for qualified guys/gals in my field these days.

Relevant degrees would probably be Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Data Science. They might be interested in an MBA if he has strong demonstrable IT skills (SQL, Database design, OLAP cube stuff, reporting). The ultimate academic credentials would be post-graduate work in Data Science with an MBA.

scardeal
scardeal Dork
1/25/16 12:33 p.m.
drainoil wrote: Are there any positions like this that are not in IT?

There are probably lots of white collar positions that are theoretically possible to do from home, but I think the IT/Software world is probably the most open to it.

Also, you might want to think of things that can be done freelance. Those are generally amenable to working from home. Graphic design, CPA, writing, consulting, architecture, lawyer, etc.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/25/16 1:01 p.m.

Avionics system engineering would be an easy transition I think. I've worked the past decade and a half as an avionics technician, and I recently finished a bachelors as an electronic engineer.

Stefan: Were you hired in as a remote worker, or is that something that started after you worked onsite for a while?

It looks like there are lots of opportunities for remote work, but you guys mentioned having to build an "on site" reputation first. I may have trouble with that if I wanted to move to a different position while remaining overseas.

Thanks everyone

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
1/25/16 1:10 p.m.

I work for a consulting engineering firm. We have a few engineers who work remotely from other states. They come in to the office every month or two, depending on what they're working on, but for the most part they work from home. Our phone system is set up so I just dial their extension to call them like anyone else in the building, they can access the company servers just like anyone else in the company, and if necessary we have video conferencing.

As far as I know they were all people who originally lived here and worked in the office, but for various reasons moved to other locations and it was mutually desirable for them to remain employed here. It does require a certain amount of discipline to be able to work from home.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/25/16 1:12 p.m.

Scardeal:

I thought a bit about CPA. I'd have an "in" as I have relatives that are successful career accountants. "Consulting" would be an interesting option. With my background and current degree I could do a lot of electronic design etc through simulator programs. I wonder who I would consult though... Something I'll have to look more into.

Maybe not a "lawyer" but I bet I could be an assistant. Perform research, draw up documents, etc. Another one I'll have to look into.

I forgot to mention that with this plan we don't need to get rich off the income that the remote work would yield, but we do need a "dependable income" (steady income?) somewhere in the realm of $30,000 annually per person would suffice (so $60k if single income). Of course more is always gooder

Thanks again!

bmw88rider
bmw88rider Dork
1/25/16 1:12 p.m.

I have the option to work from home and have done so off and on for 6 years. I'm building up to where I can possibly work completely remote when I find the right time and place. For the record, I'm a project manager for an IT company. I've been here for a while (11 years now) and I'm pretty well known. I know many people that work remotely in my company as there is a strong company allowance to do so.

There are pro's and cons.

It's much harder to move up the ladder working remotely. Also, if they down size, it's also very possible that you are one of the first cut (Out of site, out of mind) so you have have to make your presence felt. Also, it may be more difficult to move into another team and you may get stuck in the same role for awhile depending on how the management overall feels about work from home people.

Sometimes the medical coverage is not as good. They may pick a medical plan with the major offices in mind and everything where you are is out of network.

Of course, have a set aside office space. I'm not talking a kitchen table or a nook in the corner but a true office with a door. Also, internet access that can reliably support video conferencing is a must as well. My biggest beef is I know people are at home and I've got to hold up my call because nothing works and they don't have enough bandwidth. I have the 85MB down pipe and it works great.

The Pro's is flexibility. My management team is awesome about that. There was a guy on my team that worked remotely from Thailand for a month while his wife was back there taking care of family. My boss worked from his family's house in Maine all last summer. I'll probably work a month in Colorado this summer. It can work really good as long as you stay on task and get the actual work done.

Robbie
Robbie SuperDork
1/25/16 1:35 p.m.

Should be lots of jobs that will pay 30k (or more) for remote overnight IT phone support. Every industry has IT support people, and even more general 'call center/customer service' type work too. When you call comcast or Verizon or your bank, someone has to answer. Being overseas, that may actually be a great fit for the continental US night hours, as US residents usually get more money for being 2nd or 3rd shift. Very little training is needed to land one of these jobs as well.

Its a thankless job though. No one ever calls happy. And your coworkers will be college students. Likely your boss will be a hot-shot college student with 4 months of tenure. There will be huge turnover, etc, etc.

Here's a thought (because I creepily know a bit about you from the forum). Can you do translating? Companies that function in multiple countries need professional translators for all kinds of communication. I hear good translators make 50-60k, and there is no reason that translating written communication could not be done remotely, but I am no expert.

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
1/25/16 1:42 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote:
drainoil wrote: Are there any positions like this that are not in IT?

There are a few in the insurance and healthcare industries - in healthcare I know there's medical coding.

I was a claims specialist for UnitedHealth for 7 years. My last year and a half was work from home. You have to be self motivated but....its a worthwhile venture.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
1/25/16 1:43 p.m.

US Patent and Trademark Office. Patent Examiner. You have to put 2 years in at an office minimum. We now have offices in DC, Detroit, Denver, Dallas, and San Diego (where ever Silicon Valley is). (3 is more accurate a target). Pay is higher than average as we get GS pay and benefits, DC cost of living adjustment plus retention adjustment. We have people who make as much as the vice president and are capped there due to law ($225k a year I think. That is a few years off for me. LOL Bonuses and there are 4 that can be 20% of your salary do not count into that cap. Most people are in the 7%~10% range.) The patent office is one of the few places in government where as GS employee can make more than a ES employee. We are self funded and actually turn a profit for the US government and are constitutionally mandated. So unless the Constitution gets re-written, they aren't getting rid of the Department of Commerce and Patent Office. No matter what politician thinks they can.

Need to be an Engineer or Lawyer or government employee that has a technical background or a background in intellectual property law.

We have telework, and individual flex schedule (as in you make up your own schedule as you go)

I am not eligible to telework yet but something like 86% of the office is (I have only been there a year)

I probably will not permanently telework in the foreseeable future just because I need a work space and don't have it but I am on IFP. I work from 6:30 to 5:30 4 days a week. I work on Fridays for overtime.

USAJOBS.gov is where you find openings. Good Luck

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
1/25/16 1:57 p.m.

We do remote work here, although I only know of a handful doing it full time. It's a real thing though, even for us engineers. Bill, we've spoken before and you know where I work. PM me for more info.

Mezzanine
Mezzanine HalfDork
1/25/16 1:59 p.m.

I work from home as you know... I'm a project manager, currently handling a big IT project. We have a lot of remote IT employees in our company, and a few accountants as well.

It takes practice this working alone thing. One of my closest coworkers is terrible at it, and hates working from home. Everyone likes being home, but your ability to stay focused and "self start" should be considered carefully.

My office is in the garage, as far from the house as possible. This works really well for me, because it is not like I'm right next to the kitchen, where my little girl can see me. Downside is that I'm constantly tempted to work on a shop project here and there.

singleslammer
singleslammer UberDork
1/25/16 3:18 p.m.

In reply to scardeal:

So I am an MBA that has an above average understanding of a few coding languages (C++ way back, HTML, and ruby more recently). Nothing I can use to do much more than light web design. What are your recommendations to gaining those skills to help land that remote job? IE training courses, certs, etc...

PHeller
PHeller PowerDork
1/25/16 3:24 p.m.

I don't need to work from home, I just want the same job that I've got now, a little bit more vacation, and an office in the Caribbean.

bluej
bluej SuperDork
1/25/16 3:38 p.m.
scardeal wrote:
drainoil wrote: Are there any positions like this that are not in IT?

There are probably lots of white collar positions that are theoretically possible to do from home, but I think the IT/Software world is probably the most open to it.

Also, you might want to think of things that can be done freelance. Those are generally amenable to working from home. Graphic design, CPA, writing, consulting, architecture, lawyer, etc.

yeah, that one not so much. Unless you've established yourself and are just doing drafting of a specific skill set, or are doing more of an engineering type role.

what are your 3 most valuable and/or unique skills or experience sets?

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/25/16 4:52 p.m.

Robbie: Unfortunately my translating skills are rather juvenile in the sense that I can swear at ya in four languages, but couldn't hold a conversation that would keep me out of the HR office in more than one of them. Kind of a missed opportunity there. Sure thought it was funny at the time though

BMW: limited potential advancement is a drawback I hadn't thought of. Thanks. I'm definitely the type that would need a dedicated "office" with limited distractions. (my house was never as clean as it was when I was in college and had lots of homework)

Flight Service, Tuna, Mezzanine: I'm now thinking about pursuing a degree in software engineering. Patent examiner would be awesome, but would probably require a move before our big move. I'm not the best programmer, but I think a SE degree might fit best with my current education / work experience. (Mezzanine: heads up. I'm going to be picking your brain on our next play date. also, do you have a beefy impact driver? I have this crank pulley bolt that's being stubborn)

BlueJ: Right now I'm an Avionics Technician. It's what I've done for the better part of a decade and a half. With this last gig I've gained a lot of "other" aircraft experience. There's not much to a commercial airliner or military jet I cant fix these days. I recently finished my degree in Electronic engineering. Other than that, I'm really just a jack of all trades. My mom was an accountant and I spent lots of time at the office, my dad was an electrician, and I spent lots of time at job sites (I can hang sheetrock too, but not very applicable in europe). Of course, I love love love to work on cars (never professionally though)

Robbie: I hadn't thought about the time difference as a benefit. This might be something I can exploit if I'm offering tech support, or even assistance to a law office or something (I work while you sleep). Good call!

PHeller
PHeller PowerDork
1/25/16 5:35 p.m.

I'd think a degree in Electronics Engineer with some background in common or growing programming languages would make you highly sought after, but as an EE, you're usually the type that needs to get hands on with stuff, so I'm not sure if they'd jive or not.

What's annoying is that this is all an issue of industry culture. In programming and software development, it's commonplace to hire people who work across the world, and usually there are language barriers to work around in a team setting. To be able to communicate effectively with the rest of the team would be a major selling point, regardless if you're in the office or 3 hours away.

The problem is that many industries just can't give up that CONTROL. They like having people in the office at all times, whether or not those people are doing anything productive.

The software industry seems removed from this in that people seem to trust if your making progress on the product. If you're not, then you're out.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/25/16 6:38 p.m.

I was given "minimal exposure" to software programming languages with my current degree ("Hello World" anyone?) and I definitely prefer "hands on" stuff. I forgot to mention (was in kind of a hurry when I typed my last reply) that I thought the SE degree would help if I were to apply for any sort of remote tech support, or if I could work IT remotely. Failing both of those, it should help land me some sort of job (mturk?) where all the work is done off site. Honestly though, software and programming aren't a strong point of mine, it'll definitely be something I really have to work at while in school (again). I also was having a hard time determining if I'd be better served with a computer science degree or the software engineering... so many questions!? (what school, does an SE program need ABET certification, and so on)

On the plus side the company I work for offers 100% tuition assistance for engineering programs. (nothing like a free degree ) With our current plan/schedule, I should have enough time to finish a relevant degree and try to make a transition into one of these positions that will pay me to stay home

Thanks again everyone. Seriously appreciate it.

(PHeller: Your signature! I kept meaning to dig up that thread and kept forgetting. thanks!)

bmw88rider
bmw88rider Dork
1/25/16 6:50 p.m.

One final comment too.....(Ive been looking into this a lot too) Make sure you move to place that you can get a job if something backfires. I was talking to a friend the other day and his brother just got laid off from a job where he was working remote. He was hoping to make it his retirement job and moved to a resort town. Well about 10 or 11 years from retirement he for laid off and now is having a heck of a time finding work.

Have you thought about project management? With the modern IT world, I only work with 2-3 people on a regular basis that is actually in my office. I do almost all my work over conference call. With an EE degree and a software background, it seems like a fit.

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