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How to Find High Tech Work at Home Jobs

A Field with a Work from Home Advantage

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I Have a High Tech Background - How Do I Find Work from Home?

JI writes:

Hello Randy. I need your help/advice. I have been a business professional (PMO/Project management/coordinator) for over 12 years. Recently I have had personal reasons arise that keep me around my home, but none of them have affected my ability to do my job very well. In the past all of my experience has been with Fortune 500 companies or working for PWC and McKinsey in the consulting world.

I see all of these scams about becoming a millionaire working at home but all I would like to find is something that I can use my abilities for a legitimate company. For me, this is not a nice to have, it is a real need, but I do need to continue to make a living. Can you offer me some help/advice to navigate this world of "at home" working? I could go into the office once a week if required (meetings etc...)

.....I would really appreciate some help in this matter, I just don't know where to turn....

My reply to JI on finding high tech work from home:

Since you have a tech background and you are in a very well populated region (metro NYC area), you should have less trouble than most. Yes, you want to stay from all the "make a million" promos out there - I've never seen even ONE that had any merit, and unfortunately my About Home Business site attracts them by the hundreds with spam comments I have a hard time keeping up with.

I would suggest you take a more traditional route. If I were in your shoes I'd be looking at dice.com and similar sites like ComputerJobs.com on a regular basis. I'd also be looking on CraigsList, first in your area then expanding out. I had a blog post about CraigsFindr recently that allows you to search multiple regions at once, since CL doesn't allow that. (Guide note: Since this response, CraigsList has disabled CraigsFindr's ability to do this.) I'd also be checking Monster and CareerBuilder and if you don't already have one I'd set up a profile on LinkedIn.com and look for work there - both through their search tool and by networking. Search for people you've known in the past, you might be surprised who you find on LinkedIn. They can be a good source of referrals and recommendations.

You might also register with recruiters who have postings in your line of work. Although I've had bad experiences with third-party recruiters and staffing agencies and now avoid them completely, others have had favorable experiences. Additionally, if you don't already belong to one, I'd join at least one professional association in your line of work - they often have leads and provide an additional place to network. Also, United Health Group has far and away the most remote working arrangements I've ever seen - many for high tech, including various types of project managers, so you should be trolling their job postings regularly, too.

You might also consider offering your services as an independent in order to work from home, if you are in a position to do so. Since technically, employers can't tell independent contractors when they must work, my own experience has been the opportunities to work from home are far greater in an independent capacity than they are for employees. I've been doing that for five years now and while it hasn't always been easy as far as cash flow and health insurance costs, I'm usually in a position where I can refuse projects that require me to be on site every day.

Last but not least, if you are still employed, think about how you might approach your current employer with the prospect of working remotely. A majority of people who come to my site were able to snag their first work at home position with their existing employer.

The High Tech Work from Home Advantages

The advantage of having a background in high tech is that in most cases, your work can be done from remote locations. You already have an extreme comfort level using computers, which is a requirement of almost any work from home job these days. You also have an appreciation for the importance of network security. You may also already have advanced hardware and software needed to do your work from home. Additionally, your skills are in demand, so employers want to keep you happy. Finally, your pay is usually good enough that even if you have to take a cut for the ability to work from home, you can still survive quite nicely. I know these are generalizations, but having come from a high tech staff employed position I can see that this is true.

There are a number of job search sites that specialize in high tech positions - like Dice and ComputerJobs that I mentioned previously. Just search on "telecommute" or "work from home". Unfortunately, you'll also see results from a Dice search that say something like "NO TELECOMMUTE" or "Telecommute is not an option", when you search using "telecommute". But that happens with just about every site you search.

High Tech and Freelancing from Home

While I appreciate the need not to trust "get rich overnight" claims, freelancing is another option that's wide open for high tech workers who want to work from home. There are a number of freelancing sites that have a high number of tech gigs that allow you to work from home. Among them RentACoder. Freelance gigs can be a great way to get a chance to work at home and also act as a good stopgap if you happen to get laid off.

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