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I was wondering how working remote could potentially hurt my career growth as a software developer. I found many good lessons from this discussion thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15994294

However, the discussions there seem to focus on working remotely for very long term and no plan to go back to the office environment, and what are good things to consider in such scenarios. Some of the important notes from there were to make sure one should continue growing professional networks by attending conferences or having a co-working space.

My question:

I worked in a regular company in the office settings for 4 years. In this role I served as a lead developer. I have an offer to work remotely. From this point of my career, if I work remotely for the next 2-4 years or so, and then let's say I wanted to apply for a large cooperation with office settings.

Assuming my technical skills are attractive and stand out among candidates, will my remote work history hurt my job searching? Would my application be rejected because my recent work is remote work despite the fact that I do have experience working in an office?

With 8 years of experience of my future self, I will be looking at senior developer positions which I expect will require some sort of leadership skills, and I am worried working remotely can be considered as a downside to this by large companies.

I am not interested in climbing the ladder toward management roles. I love my work as a developer. Even if I would have more experience I want to stay as a dev, and I hope to be a leader of a development unit but not much more responsibilities than that. My definition of career growth is getting paid more as a developer.

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    Disagree w/ VTC specific choice. As the answers demonstrate, this is about more then a yes/no decision about a specific choice. – Magisch Mar 5 at 7:33
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Not in my experience.

I am also a lead developer. I worked remotely for 5 years. A bit less than 2 years ago, that contract ended. I have not had any problem finding on-site jobs since.

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    Different places are different. But my employer has hired people who had been telecommuting for years for positions that required going into the office, and I've been telecommuting for years but still get head hunters interested in me for on-site work. I'd make my own answer, but Rupert's answer is close enough to what I'd say, so I'm just commenting here to add my bit. – Ed Grimm Mar 5 at 2:33
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    Same here. 5 years on an off, then back to an office. I spent most of last year working from home. It drove me crazy towards the end, and I was really glad to start the year with a daily commute (long, but easy) and a full day in a business environment (although the noise of completely open plan fills me with despair). Having been fully remote, you'll be able to easily work with people who are themselves not in the office; a selling point. – Justin Mar 5 at 7:57
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It might.The concern for managers and HR would be that, once you've had a taste of that kind of control and freedom over how you do your work, and, especially, if you've proven you can deliver the goods, that you would have difficulty adjusting to the somewhat arbitrary constraints of working a 9 to 5, with the daily commute to the office location.

Now, more and more people are working under those circumstances, and a lot of IT, particularly, is farmed out to contract or remote employees, so that should be less of an issue than it used to be, but people have fears or notions about things they can't directly control, sometimes.

Your best bet is to sell that you can work independently and without hand-holding, so this experience makes you more valuable, but then tell them you are motivated to get back into a more traditional setting because you like the interaction and being an active and participating member of successful teamwork. Then, if you can supply references from earlier positions who can attest to your reliability as an employee who can show up on time and work within a set structure, you can probably allay any strong fears they might have about you being a spirit too wild to tame in the office environment. Make sure it's what you want, though, because selling them on this version of you is only useful if you're sold on it too.

  • Working remotely doesn't necessarily imply a total lack of structure. You can still work regular hours, conduct meetings over Skype/Hangouts, do daily commits, log everything on Sharepoint, and so on. Mentioning this to interviewers may help reassure them that you'll quickly adapt to working in an office again. – Matthew Barber Mar 5 at 4:10
  • @MatthewBarber - True, but for those who are a bit more control-oriented, the fact that you can put in a productive work day without wearing pants is probably more than they can wrap their minds around. Good point about emphasizing the structure and interaction that many remote positions do require. – PoloHoleSet Mar 5 at 15:35
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I'd like to think that I'm living proof that you can. I worked remotely for nearly four years, and went on to get an in-office job for nearly twice the pay after that finished.

The key thing is not to let your skills stagnate. A remote working job is probably a bit of a dead end in itself - and you probably shouldn't expect any more work from the same company once the project you're on is deemed finished - but you'll have extra time on your hands that you can put into hobby projects, side gigs, part-time study, etc.

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Assuming my technical skills are attractive and stand out among candidates, will my remote work history hurt my job searching?

No.

Would my application be rejected because my recent work is remote work despite the fact that I do have experience working in an office?

Not at all.

People with experience in remote work are supposed to be (and most of the case, they are) better at the soft skills (communication, collaboration, time management), over and above the core skills (technical). Just because someone has worked remote for some time does not mean they are unfit to go back to a regular office setup.

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