IT Careers are evolving rapidly. For the first time in a decade, I'm hearing about "talent wars." And - from what I'm hearing from my own resume and coaching clients - the demand for IT talent is continuing to increase.
That's providing IT professionals with a range of options that we haven't seen for several years - and one of those options is remote work.
This article - Want better IT talent? Recruit remote workers - makes great points on the value that remote resources can deliver to the IT organization.
But - as an executive career coach - it's my job to look at the issue from the other side, from the side of the candidate.
Because - if you're considering remote - you need to give careful consideration to whether that's a choice that will work for you - and for your career longterm.
The upsides are pretty obvious. No commute - and no commuting costs. Control of your own time. Metrics based on delivery - and not on time spent at a desk.
And working with a remote team can mean working a diverse, interesting team - of very smart people. That's a huge upside for IT pros who need to learn and grow professionally.
Those aren't trivial.
Which is why working remotely has become such a desirable objective for IT professionals at all levels.
But there are downsides - and you need to consider those carefully before embarking on a remote opportunity.
The primary downside, of course, can be isolation.
Now, you'll be working in a team - and collaboration tools provide a lot of crucial input. That works very well for some people - especially if you've got other family or social outlets.
But it doesn't work for everyone. I had a client a couple of years ago who was in a well paying, interesting, remote job. But she was a strong extrovert - and working at home was driving her nuts.
Another downside is the flip side of controlling your own time. When you're working at the office, you've got to go home at some point - though I did know a rather OCD Java developer who could stay at her desk for 36 hours straight.
But when you're working at home? It can be really hard to turn work off. That can be unhealthy psychologically - you can feel that you're working 24/7/365. And - without some limits - you can end up working 24/7/365.
And - in addition to the stress of being "on" all the time - that can put a real strain on relationships.
Now, I'm by no means arguing against remote work. I think it's a great option - and the positives outweigh the negatives for most IT careers. But - if you're considering a remote opportunity - take the time really evaluate whether it'll work for you.
- J.M. Auron