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I am a software professional with 10+ years experience in software solutions, while doing software job in a metro city. As there are lot of career opportunities are here, I can switch whenever I feel that current job is not satisfying.

However I still not comfortable with idea to spend all my life in metro cities and hopeful for migrate to smaller city (at my home city / or similar) sometime in future. But as smaller cities do not have lot of opportunities also lack quality of work in my field, I afraid of take chances if that will damage my established career.

I like my work (coding) and no plan to migrate to another field atleast for next 15-20 years. If I really have chance of migration without damaging my career aspects ?

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Generally speaking, you have three options:

  • work for a large-city-based firm, but work remotely some or all of the time, allowing you to live an hour or two away in a small city or even the remote countryside. This will require you to be very good at your job, and to have been with the company long enough for them to trust you. Another approach is to be so spectacular at your job that a new firm will take you on even if that means you must work remotely.
  • find a firm that is based in a small town you would be willing to live in, and get hired there, knowing that you will have few options to change jobs if you don't like it. This requires a great deal of research to find such firms (but they do exist) and establish if you would like the job or not before making the commitment. Some people do a "reverse commute" where they live in the big city for a while and drive out to the country until they are sure they like the job and they have found their dream house
  • don't try to support yourself with one job, but instead have a mix of clients. Provide your services to them remotely. This requires you to be somewhere between good and spectacular at your job, plus have some selling ability and a lot of managing ability. It can be both the riskiest and the most rewarding approach.

Everyone I know who lives in Hawaii has taken option 1 and works for a company based outside of Hawaii. I have had clients in small towns throughout North America whose staff were all doing option 2. All those clients had trouble attracting and keeping staff, btw. You and I may want to live in the small town but most people don't, and that's primarily why the firms are not there. I personally took option 3 twenty five years ago when I moved my small consulting firm to the countryside. I have had a great career and life here but I won't deny there were times that were very hard, when living in the city would have made things much easier.

You need to take a long term view and make a long term plan. Average, ordinary, forgettable folks tend not to have these options. Whether it's blogging, public speaking, open source, or something similar, you need people to remember you and to notice you are good. You need to be good too, which probably means learning and practicing on your own time, not just at work. You need to be able to tell people you're good, and to know precisely what you're good at. This all takes time. Now is a good time to start.

  • I'd add to the second option: in the UK there are a lot of firms on the outskirts of cities. If you get a job in one of those, you can live in a small town and commute to work without too much trouble. If you want to change jobs but can't find anything immediately you've always got the option of commuting into the city for a while whilst looking for something more local. – matt helliwell Sep 3 '16 at 17:36
  • @kate, your suggestions are seems valuable, First option while could be best, But here in India, most of jobs give only 'Work from Home' option for few days not permanently. Still I will try to search one. Second option, what I actually am looking for, but unable to convince myself till now for pick interviews from smaller cities as If my decision will go wrong I need to go back and as a married guy and also parent, these choices are very harder. – kuldeep.kamboj Sep 4 '16 at 11:44
  • Third one, I have least chance for going for this as It required very good network and very strong communication skills (as you says selling ability and a lot of managing ability). – kuldeep.kamboj Sep 4 '16 at 11:47
  • @kuldeep.kamboj if it was easy, anyone could do it. Make a plan, put in the extra work, take some chances, live the life you want. – Kate Gregory Sep 4 '16 at 12:22
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I live somewhere where there is zero demand for many of my skills, but it's a global market these days, you can work remotely or as a consultant from places which have nothing but an internet connection in the software industry, and many people do exactly that for lifestyle reasons.

I expect this to become more prevalent in the future, so you should be fine, keep your skills up to date and do a few 'show' projects when you have time.

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    Doing open source also helps in getting a larger network, it attracts people in need of your expertise ;) – Luceos Sep 3 '16 at 10:57
  • @Luceos so I have heard, I'm not a big believer in it though, open source puts you in with a few million schoolkids and a few pros. Solid products you built yourself is a better way to go, whether free or paid. – Kilisi Sep 3 '16 at 16:27
  • @Kilisi, being consultant is not an option until I have a strong network which can provide enough work. Unfortunately this is not the case, I only have very small network and already tried with them as a small group. But then we all feels that we unable to get enough work. One more reason while I have good time in industry but 90% of my work is not public but going as private products which are not displayable to future clients. – kuldeep.kamboj Sep 4 '16 at 11:23
  • @Kilisi, and being a married man ( also a parent ), My risks and extra time except job (which is already taking 10 hrs of day) is reduced significantly. So until I get client who have no hurry for complete projects (which seems impossible in competitive world) my choices seem limited. – kuldeep.kamboj Sep 4 '16 at 11:28
  • I had the same issue, but firstly I did not work with a group (why share?), secondly I live somewhere where my cost of living is low (I lived off the land and seafood) and did non IT related industry jobs to supplement until I had enough clients. But it was a struggle at first. Not something you can do if you're not committed and have a certain sort of self-confidence, which I don't think you have. You're creating problems before they arise, instead of solving them and moving forwards. It's not for everyone, I had some luck on the way, 98% of the people I have seen try it didn't last a year – Kilisi Sep 4 '16 at 12:31
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While the largest cities have more opportunities. There are also many opportunities in smaller cities. For instance in the United States you will find that many of the major defense and software companies have offices near military bases. They will have projects tailored to the area of support that base needs.

Not all major companies have their largest workforce in the largest cities. Many banking, insurance, and chemical companies are not in the top ten metro areas. They have offices there, but the software work is done elsewhere. Each midsize city may only have one or two companies, but there are still plenty of jobs either in smaller cities or the far suburbs of the largest cities.

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