It seems 100 times easier to find a job locally if you are in a big/medium North Americn city. Will working remotely ever take off and if it did, would the global workforce reduce wages so low that most in the western world couldn't afford to take a senior developer job?
Remote positions often (not always) pay less because many more people are competing for the same job, and some of those people have suburban or rural costs of living.
I think the difficulty depends on a lot of factors.
I lucked into my first remote job. I got to work remotely 80% of the time. I hadn't really considered remote work a real possibility until that point. It worked out pretty well, and every position I've held since then has been 100% remote. Almost eight years now.
I think once you have some remote experience then it's much easier to find other remote positions since you've proven you can do it. It also helps a lot to know people who do remote work and especially managers who have remote/distributed teams. Networking, for better or worse, is extremely important.
Also I think it's important to consider that while it may be easier to find work locally, you're actually quite limited in the breadth of work available. There are super interesting things I absolutely would not have had the opportunity to work on if I hadn't been actively looking for remote opportunities.
I would say keep applying for remote opportunities that interest you. If you show genuine interest and ability to perform then I think you'll find you'll eventually land a position.
Don't be afraid to email decision makers directly. If you're respectful and lay out your value proposition they'll definitely pay attention. At worst they'll ignore you.
I forgot to add: I think it's premature to worry about pay, my experience has been that every remote position I've considered has offered at least a median salary for my experience and title, considering my locale.
Based on my research my current compensation is well-above similarly titled and experienced engineers in my locale. I live in a major metropolitan area.
This is, of course, a sample size of 1. The point is that there are companies out there that will pay remote workers well.
I've been working 100% remote for 6 years now, and have seen about half the people who do end up going remote just don't like it or are not self-motivated enough to put in a full day's work without being in an office.
It’s certainly not for everyone. Easy to be distracted and it can get very lonely.
I feel like I’ve done my best work remotely though.
The ideal would be remote work most of the time with the option to go into an office whenever I like, but the reality is that’s rarely an option.
The ability to structure my own day is extremely valuable to me. I also feel I get judged less for appearances and more on what I actually deliver.
I hire remote workers. Because of our business and the level of communication, being in the same time zone is important. Because of legal complexities, being in the USA is important (though we have interviewed people from other countries).
I think if you are in a position of providing labor that can be reduced to a written document (and no other communication) then you are at risk of being outsourced to the global marketplace. Otherwise I wouldn't worry.
Most jobs aren't remote or, even if the possibility exists, aren't listed as fully remote, right away. Therefore, when you're looking strictly for remote work, you're limiting your choices substantially. At the same time, the company hiring is casting a wide net, so competition will be higher than a comparable local job.
I see a lot of remote jobs on angel list, here on HN, on SO and also LinkedIn. I work in Prague and there are two different US companies from NYC that have setup dev shops here, so they are for sure hiring remote engineers and paying almost what you might make in a smaller US market. So the number of remote jobs is only increasing.
My main issue is that there are no brand name companies (think FAANG/2, or even FAANG/3) hiring remote. I'm not going to debase my resume by working for someone's pet project.
> I'm not going to debase my resume by working for someone's pet project
Damn... That hits way too close to home.
I just got finished a remote job search. I think in general the market is quite good if you're a Senior Engineer with the right skillset and have prior remote experience.
Cost of living is also a factor.