Expanding your career while exploring the world as a digital nomad is an attractive prospect for any travel lover. After all, who wouldn’t want to take a lunch break at Park Güell in Barcelona, or sign in to the office from the sands of Da Nang? However, abandoning the cubicle for a life of work visas and coffee shops can be a challenging journey to begin.
What jobs do digital nomads have?
How much do digital nomads make?
Do you need a degree to be a digital nomad?
To get you started we’ve compiled a list of the top five job prospects available to the digital nomad community.
1. Digital Marketer
Digital Marketers promote companies and products through avenues such as affiliate marketing and social media marketing.
Affiliate Marketers work like freelance agents, referring customers toward a company’s product/service and earning a commission for each sale. Social Media Marketers use their platform to communicate with customers, maintain a brand’s public face, or demonstrate products to an audience and affirm their value.
To become a Digital Marketer you should choose the area of marketing you want to specialise in and then learn the marketing strategies that succeed in this avenue.
Useful hard skills to improve are data analysis, data research, compelling writing and content creation.
Useful soft skills are effective communication, adaptability, critical thinking, and a creative/innovative mind.
You may want to gain experience in sales or marketing for a non-remote company, but you can also build your portfolio by finding clients on freelance sites (Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr), or by creating and marketing your own blog or e-commerce site.
Pros of Digital Marketing
- Highly sought-after skillset means greater job/income stability
- Decent income bracket
- A broad field with plenty of options to expand your skillset
The average salary for a Digital Marketer is roughly $50,900 USD per year.
2. Freelance Writer
Freelance Writers offer their services to a wide array of journalism websites, companies, and personal blogs. Three avenues you can explore if you have a passion for words are content writing, copywriting, and blogging.
Content Writers write informative stories and articles for websites, often addressing a need or problem facing the target audience. Copy Writers are persuasive marketers who encourage customers to engage with a product through stylish brand messaging. Bloggers write about their experiences, niche hobbies and interests, sharing the wisdom they’ve gathered in an entertaining format.
To become a Freelance Writer you should begin researching the work of writers in your chosen field. If you’re motivated to write on a particular topic, try reading articles or blogs that cover that niche. Ideally, a relevant degree in writing or journalism will give you a strong foundation, but this is not essential for your career.
Useful hard skills to improve are research, grammar, excellent written communication, and proofreading.
Useful soft skills are creative thinking, self-motivation, empathy, self-promotion, and time management.
Apply for a range of remote writing jobs on sites such as Indeed or Upwork. Don’t be disheartened by your initial income or demand; keep at it and those things will come. A social media presence can also go a long way in connecting your work with a target audience.
Pros of Freelance Writing
- Wide variety of projects keep work interesting
- An outlet for creative skills and writing practice
- Internet is only required for research and publishing; suitable for nomad locations with spotty connection.
The average salary of a Freelance Writer is roughly $40,500 USD per year.
The computer programming industry has a plethora of positions available and continues to grow. The two most popular and hireable roles are Web Developers: who design and build websites for clients; and Mobile App Developers who build and test applications for cellphones and tablets.
While it’s advantageous to have a degree in Computer Science from a university, it is very possible to become a programmer without paying for higher education. Take free online courses to learn the building blocks of your chosen programming language, practice your skills by building your own websites, and enter your code on GitHub to showcase to potential employers.
Useful hard skills to improve are: learning frameworks such as Ruby on Rails; knowledge of object-oriented programming languages.
Useful soft skills are: problem-solving, patience, adaptability, and keeping calm under pressure.
Pros of Programming
- High salary prospects that grow with experience
- Sought-after skillset with many employment and career growth opportunities.
- Flexible schedule and comfortable amount of working hours
The average salary for a Programmer is roughly $89,600 USD per year.
Designers create visual images companies can use to attract viewers, promote products and gain brand recognition.
Fields of design include Web Designers who fashion website layouts and improve user interface; Publication Designers who stylise the pages and typography of books, magazines, and documents; and Marketing Designers who create logo graphics and advertising concepts for brands.
If you plan on becoming a Designer it’s a good idea to begin learning the principles of design. Once you’ve explored the basics you can select what area of design you would most like to specialise in.
One of the best ways to start in the industry is to create a portfolio that showcases your style by exploring self-chosen projects. Offer to take on small gigs offered by Facebook groups, local businesses, or friends and family. Once you have several projects under your belt, focus on how to better market yourself to clients as a creative agency.
Useful hard skills to improve are: understanding of design principles; techniques for idea generation; mastery of design software.
Useful soft skills are: creative thinking, effective communication, problem-solving, and time management.
Pros of Design
- Comfortable salary
- Exercise your creativity and hone artistic skills
- Work on a diverse range of projects for different industries and brands.
The average salary for a Designer is $61,400 USD per year.
5. Online Teacher/Coach
An Online Teacher or Coach uses a virtual platform to educate students about a topic or skill set they are knowledgeable in.
The subject taught can be grounded in academic qualifications such as nutrition, or could stem from the teacher’s lived experience such as woodworking or baking. For nomads seeking a beginner-friendly and widely sought-after teaching niche, becoming a Language Tutor is a popular option.
To become an online Teacher/Coach first identify the topic or skill you are best suited to teach. It is important to consider how many people would be willing to pay for sessions about your niche. Once you have your subject, you may choose to apply for work at a company hiring remote teachers. This option works well for aspiring language tutors or those with academic or teaching qualifications.
If your teaching subject is less mainstream you will need to market yourself to acquire students. Build up a presence on social media platforms, display an online portfolio of your work, and volunteer advice in forums where beginners ask questions about your niche.
Useful hard skills to improve are: technological capability; proficiency with common programs such as Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and Zoom; utilising feedback; updating knowledge of your area of expertise.
Useful soft skills are: excellent communication, patience, organisation, passion for learning, and leadership.
Pros of Online Teaching
- Very flexible hours, with most companies not implementing a weekly maximum or minimum amount.
- Class sizes are small meaning you can fully focus on the needs of each student.
- Companies provide lesson plans and materials
The average salary for an Online Teacher is $47,400 USD per year.
If you’ve dreamed about taking the plunge into digital nomad life there’s never been a better time to start.
These five roles may be the most popular options for nomad careers but they certainly aren’t the only ones. Keep an eye out for opportunities on sites such as Flexjobs or We Work Remotely. If you work your current job over the phone or on the computer it’s very likely you can find a similar role with remote capabilities.
Begin your next adventure, there’s a whole world waiting out there!