At the end of 2020, I will be working remotely now for 4 years. What I didn’t realize about a year before I started, was that it was possible to actually build a respected, reputable, and successful career while working from anywhere (and not just something that is viewed as a “side hustle”). I’ll go over the most in-demand skills I’ve seen that are not just side hustle material, but very valuable skills you can really build a career with.
5 years ago after graduating college, I had first started trying to uplevel my skillset so I could land a higher paying job working in Tech in New York City. I upgraded my skillset as web designer and developer to learn User Interface design and User Experience design for apps and web. Not only did I learn these skills from my laptop, but I then landed a new job doubling my current salary at the time.
In Demand Skills to Land a Remote Job and Work from Anywhere
I realized two things: all of the information was available online and I was learning from talented individuals who also didn’t necessarily work in an office. That opened my eyes that to expand your career or build authority in an industry, you didn’t just have to be in a big city; you could be anywhere you wanted as long as you could work from your laptop.
So here I am going on 4 years of working remotely and its expanded my career more than ever. I have worked remotely full time as an employee at tech companies, I have freelanced/contracted remotely for tech companies and small businesses, and I have started my own online business. I’ve worked remotely both in the corporate world, startup world, and small business world, so I’ve learned first hand some trends of which skills are more valuable, profitable, or in demand.
Working remotely is the future. It cuts costs for business owners and employers and expands their pool of talent to choose from, while opening up options for your career and job more than ever before.
You can dive right into preparing for a full time remote job, or you can start working remotely on the side. The bottom line is, even if you don’t know yet what you want to do as a career or job, start by learning in demand skills that can be done just from your laptop. Digital skills enable you to get a remote job or work for yourself remotely, so you can work from anywhere. So whether you want to start this as a side hustle or want this to be your full career, these 20 in demand skills will give you an idea of some directions to head in, as well as some resources for where you can get started learning.
All of these skills have both opportunities to work full time employed remotely for a company or agency, freelance for companies, or start your own service based business.
The text on a website, on a page, in a brochure, etc is referred to as copy so as a copywriter you would create the text or message that convince readers to take. an action, whether that is buying something, downloading, or engaging in some way. It can cover a variety of things including email marketing, web copywriting, blogging, social media, advertising, etc.
Copywriting is one of the most important parts of most businesses, marketing, and sales, for the very obvious reason that most customer/client facing parts of a business need copy. And a good copywriter is always in demand, whether that as a contracted copywriter or remotely in-house at an agency or company.
Almost all successful companies or business have some form of social media, and most prioritize now. This path offers a variey of ways to work remotely, wether it is in-house with an agency, company, or PR firm, or freelancing for small businesses and companies.
As a specialist, you will build and direct the execution of the strategy through competitive and audience research. As a manager, you will be in charge of managing all social media platforms for your clients or your company. This could include responding to comments and direct messages, scheduling and uploading posts, creating content or coordinating the creation of content, reaching out to brands and influencers and handling influencer marketing, etc. Sometimes they are the same position, and sometimes not, but the demand is high for almost all companies and businesses.
One of my personal favorites, content creation is simply creating digital content for brands, companies, hotels, or services that you are paid to create or traded for. This can be done through photography or videography, but also can include any type of digital content like blogs, articles, e-books, etc.
It does not require you to have a large social media following, although it is popular among influencers. Many companies outsource content creation, but you can also do content creation in-house for a company, publication, or agency for their marketing, advertising, social media, or any digital content needs.
This skill goes hand-in-hand with social media marketing, but it can include marketing on LinkedIn, marketing on Pinterest, optimizing emails, lead generation or managing visual communication. Learning how to create a digital marketing strategy and analyze marketing performance are skills that make you highly employable remotely.
This role is a staple at any large company or publication. This is similar to any marketing role, but focused on everything digital (which is where everything is headed now anyways!). It can be a bit more competitive to get into except at entry level roles, since it generally requires some more experience and demonstration of your implemented strategies, but nevertheless is an amazing direction to take your career remote.
SEO is search engine optimization and involves just that – optimizing a website to rank on Google and get more viewers. It includes keyword research and creating and implementing a strategy and systems to continuously help a site rank higher.
While SEO is important for any successful company, it might be tougher to land a role as an SEO specialist, but instead can make you a desirable asset as one of your skills paired with another digital skill. SEO is also frequently hired out to specialized firms or agencies, especially ones that offer web development services, but there is also a lot of opportunity to specialize as a consultant.
As a software engineer, you’ll write the code to build software products (apps, features, video games, operating systems, etc.) While you’ll learn several languages to code, more importantly you will learn how to think like a developer and problem solve.
Computer Science is a top paying degree and programming jobs are growing at 2x the national averages in 2020, so you’ll find an abundance of opportunities, whether you want to work full time for a company remotely, or contract/freelance.
Websites are in high demand, whether that is fresh new sites needing to be designed or a site that needs to be refreshed or added to. If you enjoy visual design and want to increase your skill set or specialize, web design is perfect. As a web designer you design the look and feel of a website for a company or business/client, as well as hierarchy, information architecture, and user experience.
You don’t have to code to do web design, especially now since there are many platforms now that allow you to design and build websites just through drag and drop interfaces. Opportunities to freelance remotely, start a service based online business, or work full time remotely for a company are abundant and web design is a need for almost every business.
If you want to freelance remotely, it would be good to also learn web design or partner with designers to work for clients, but if you want to contract or work remotely full time for a company or larger business, you can just focus on development. Whether you want to become a full-time developer or simply boost your digital skills as a web designer, every company, business, or leader with a brand needs a website and development work is always in demand.
If you are interested in development, you can learn the languages needed to code and develop apps for iOS or Android. Having a basic programming foundation is helpful, but you can easily learn just development for apps.
You will find just as much demand and even higher pay for app development, but with that the requirements to learn the languages and skills needed are a little more intensive, but very doable. Both the opportunities to freelance or contract for companies as a developer, or to work full time remotely for a company or agency are available.
If creating visual content intrigues you, then graphic design might be for you. This will include typography, basic design foundations, color theory, visual branding and composition to create visual assets like logos, emails, documents, advertisements or non digital assets like brochures, packaging, flyers, posters etc.
Graphic design has a lot of different options and directions you can take it and gives you a foundation if you want to specialize in specific design skills. Form has become just as important as function in our era, so every successful business prioritizes good design, which leaves lots of opportunity for you should you pursue a career in design. You can freelance/contract for businesses or companies, or work in-house remotely for a company, agency, or publication.
If you are interested in or enjoy web design but looking to specialize or increase your pay opportunity, specializing in UI design, User Interface design would be a great path. You design and craft the user interface, so this can be for not just websites, but also software, apps, etc. Have a good understand of human-computer interaction will be helpful with a good eye for design and design fundamentals. You’ll design what an interface looks and feels like.
You’ll find more work contracting for companies/agencies or working in-house for companies remotely in this type of role than freelancing for small businesses, but opportunities are growing everyday as the need for good user interfaces for tech companies or software increases.
UX design stands for User Experience design, and a common misconception is that you need design skills in order to be a UX Designer. The reality is a lot of the work of UX design is done before or after a design is brought to life with user research through studies and analysis, or running and analyzing user testing on a product. Your goal is to make the experience of a user quick, easy, intuitive, and as frustration free as possible. It does pair nicely as a full skillset with UI design and you’ll frequently find designers who do both UI and UX (like me!)
Just like UI design, you’ll find the most opportunities contracting or working remotely full time for companies, especially in the tech space, or contracting through an agency. There are many opportunities but it can be a more difficult space to enter into, and its a hot position at many companies (pay wise as well).
While they are different, they easily allow you to overlap and there is a lot of demand as a photographer, videographer, or editor. It helps to specialize in an industry (fashion, travel, weddings, etc) to build your portfolio for clients more clearly. You’ll shoot and prepare the visual deliverables based on a client’s need, but can also include licensing out your work, or directing and managing full photo/video shoots for clients or companies.
Generally your best opportunities are through freelancing directly or through agencies, or starting your own business or agency as a photographer or videographer.
As a blogger, you are writing articles, growing an audience/readership, and brand to become a trusted sources in a specific niche. Building a career in blogging can take more time than most of the others listed, unless you seek out positions running or maintain blogs for established companies or businesses. Building and scaling your own blog, however, can lead to other types of monetization opportunities, through both active and passive income remotely for yourself.
With the ever-increasing dominance of the internet, a whole new world of teaching has opened up. No longer are you confined to the classroom and there are many routes to go to build your career remotely as a teacher through online tutoring, teaching, curriculum building, and course building.
As a native English teacher, you can jump into teaching remotely pretty quickly if you have a college degree, but there are still opportunities for many other languages or subjects to teach remotely in. You can even look into earning your Masters remotely to open up more opportunities to teach remotely in higher-education.
Being good at sales is an essential skill in both the traditional and remote work world, and not to mention makes you more marketable to potential employers regardless of your position. With the world continuously going more digital, the demand for skilled digital sales professionals is increasing every day, and sales will always be a key part to the longevity of any business. The entry into this field can be easier since it requires less technical background and that there tend to many openings at large or small companies.
Whether you want to learn how to manage your own sales process for your online business or land a remote role at a company, there is immense value in learning good sales skills like being able to craft the perfect sales pitch or identify sales growth opportunities.
Most companies have moved their customer service to the digital world, which means they can hire individuals remotely. Customer service is an area that encompasses multiple niches, ranging from learning how to manage a customer service team, being able to streamline a company or business’ customer service efforts, or the soft skills needed to build customer loyalty and trust when serving them. It can be helpful to focus on a particular area to be able to demonstrate a great degree of expertise and knowledge to potential employers.
Affectionately know as a “VA”, you will organize and do administrative tasks just as the name says, virtually. This is similar to being an executive assistant, just remotely. As a VA, yours tasks could include email management, schedule/calendar management, planning, booking, making calls, editing, or tech / customer support
The entry into this field This is a popular contract/freelance role that is obviously remote, but plenty of opportunity to be an in house virtual executive assistant for a company or small business as well.
This is definitely a more competitive field, especially if you’re looking to land a full time remote position at a company, as well as more intensive in the knowledge you’ll need to pursue a career in this industry. Having a good foundation in math and science to understand the potential of date ( algebra, optimization, probability) and computer science (like data structure and algorithms) generally will require you to have an advanced degree, as well as knowledge of technical tools and skills like data visualization, machine learning, AI, and various back end coding language.
Don’t be discouraged by the challenge or competition of this field because this role is becoming increasingly important, especially in tech. More and more large companies in this space need the talent for this industry, so the opportunities to work remotely will increase since talent will be prioritized.
Accounting may seem like a boring desk job, but in reality much of the work can be done from just about anywhere on a computer in the right industries. This is especially true for niche industries, like small business accounting, international tax preparation, etc.
This path is great if you want something more traditional but with the freedom to work from anywhere, although you’ll need some sort of degree or certification. You can work in-house for a company or offer your services to businesses and clients remotely.
I wanted to show you not only that going remote is much easier than you think, but also such a viable way to build a successful career. Gone are the days where you MUST be in one location or city to have a successful career. The ability to take my career remote allowed me to not only have an impactful and financially stable career, but with the freedom to travel and do it from anywhere in the world.
Hopefully after reading through some of these industries and jobs you will feel inspired to learn and take the first step to a new location independent lifestyle.
Let me know which skills or job speaks to you the most! Or, if you already work remotely, what job do you do? Let me and everyone else know in the comments below!
Love and sunshine,
Traveler, Content Creator, Influencer, and UI/UX Designer empowering you to explore the world and make money while doing it.