Am I satisfied with my career? Where do I see myself in the future? No matter where you are on your professional journey, careful planning will help you reach your goals.
In this guide, we have highlighted four important steps you need to consider for your software engineering career plan when working remotely from LATAM for a startup in the US.
1. Career Growth: What is Next for Senior Developers?
As a senior remote developer, you may be in charge of a section of the project and, on some occasions, the entire project. And you can usually report to a higher-ranking employee, such as a program manager or software architect.
But, in most circumstances, you'll come to a point where you'll ask yourself, “Do I need a change?”, “Will a career jump mean no more coding?”. These are the possible paths to choose after becoming a senior engineer:
1.1. DevOps Engineer
If you are an experienced Java programmer with a passion for managing the environment, automation, and improving overall structure, becoming a DevOps engineer is for you!
They are either developers who get interested in deployment and network operations or sysadmins who develop a passion for scripting and coding and move into development and deployment strategy.
1.2. Tech Lead
In many organizations, the tech lead's responsibilities extend beyond the immediate software development team to include product managers, stakeholders, designers, CEOs, CTOs, and any external teams who may work on the project. Their responsibilities may include the following aspects:
- Product development planning.
- Creating effective timelines.
- Managing budgets and team goals.
- Offering helpful feedback to marketing and sales teams.
- Communicating with CEOs and top managers to verify that the remote development team's goals are in line with the client's business objectives.
As the tech lead developer is responsible for development operations management they should be prepared to fill a range of positions to complete a project.
1.3. Project Manager
The PM is in charge of the project's day-to-day operations and must be capable of managing all six project aspects: scope, schedule, finances, risk, quality, and resources.
To get the most out of your team and complete a project on schedule, you'll need various talents, especially while working remotely. Take a look at some of the essential abilities you'll need if you want to work in this field:
- Exceptional organization
- Timekeeping and time management
- Good at multitasking
- Great communication skills
- Awarding credit where credit is due
- Handling pressure
- Team leadership
1.4. Solution Architect
A solution architect's role is to translate functional analysts' requirements into architecture for a solution and explain it using architecture and design artifacts.
If you decide to take this path, you'll have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, such as data structure and algorithms, system architecture, and design patterns.
While there are many aspects of software development that you should be familiar with to assume the architect role confidently, there are a few to concentrate on:
- Communication: You must be able to communicate with your remote development team complex technical difficulties and explain technical concepts to clients or other stakeholders at a higher level.
- Know-how of Best Practices: People will occasionally ask you how to accomplish something in the best manner possible and expect you to provide the most acceptable solution. It's difficult to create a solution from the start because most problems have multiple solutions. Best practices come to the rescue in circumstances like this.
- Networking Fundamentals: When discussing how systems communicate with one another, it's critical to understand how to do so safely. It is at this point that networking comes into play.
1.5. Individual Contributor
As the name implies, this is a person who works on projects and assignments without the supervision of others. They typically work alone and are responsible for their schedules and deadlines.
If you choose this professional route, you must be confident in managing your time and being well-organized. While working remotely and having multiple responsibilities to complete simultaneously, being organized is essential. In addition, it will help you stay focused on the work at hand.
Be proactive! You must be willing to keep yourself motivated and inspired to put your best foot forward. However, that doesn't mean not having team support. Collaborate with others in the company to see how you can help, or meet up with the senior you report to and set goals for what your role will accomplish. This will help you establish a sense of direction and purpose.
If you are seeking a personal challenge but are not interested in managing people, being an individual contributor may be a great career option for you!
1.6. Engineer Manager
Most developers may be more familiar with the engineering manager role, as it's the more traditional career route. Remote engineer managers supervise their remote development teams from the beginning to the end of a project and anywhere in between. They serve as the team's support and backbone and a bridge between the team and senior advisers.
If you wish to be a manager, consider the following factors:
- Extra Responsibilities: Many decisions will be thrust upon you, and you will be the driving force behind your teams. As an engineer, the manager will troubleshoot issues and assist and ensure that your team meets deadlines and performs at its best.
- Leading Others: As a remote senior engineering manager, you are considered a manager of people. The duties, in this case, include virtual team building and collaboration as well as offering encouragement and support to their team. Remember that two-way communication with your team is an essential part of any kind of remote job!
In certain ways, you may be considered a mentor, assisting other developers in realizing their full potential and progressing throughout their careers. You should enjoy working with others and be open to suggestions and solutions from your coworkers for this position.
- Problem Solving: One of your key roles as an engineer manager is to resolve issues and assist your team in overcoming any obstacles. Collaborating with developers to solve complicated challenges is a regular component of your job, and it provides you with numerous opportunities to learn from others.
- Other Duties: Apart from assisting your team, you have other responsibilities as a manager, such as hiring and interviewing for open positions and meeting with directors and clients. Managers are also responsible for keeping track of their team’s progress and making necessary course corrections to get everyone back on track. In this position, you'll have to manage many things at once, so organization and flexibility are essential.
2. How Do I Choose My Career Path as a Developer?
As described before, there are multiple paths for engineers and senior developers to choose from when deciding on a career change or upgrade. But, how can you choose the one that best fits you?
- Improve your soft skills to become more competitive and stand out from the crowd: Soft skills assist you in managing your connections with team members and others, whilst technical skills assist you in carrying out your responsibilities effectively.
- Before you decide, pay attention to what you like and dislike: Observing what you dislike about a particular work will assist you in determining which path you want to go with your software developer career.
- Consider yourself a researcher: Approach your job hunt as if you were a detective in a crime thriller, meticulously researching the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision. Look for signs that the job is a good fit for your personality and needs.
Examine whether the day-to-day tasks and functions of the career you wish to pursue will allow you to put your aptitude and talents to good use or if they will irritate you. Is this a part that you'd like to play? Collect information about the job and study it to see if it meets your goals.
3. How to Excel as a Remote Developer Working for a US Company
The pandemic has hit every industry, completely digitizing nearly every business. Developers have significantly benefited as a result of this.
The need for excellent remote software engineers in the United States has resulted in a digital skills scarcity, prompting corporations to look for developers nearshore.
Although, merely having the desire to work for a startup in the US is not enough. To join the list of in-demand tech talent, developers need to have the required software skills (tech and soft) that the companies look for. So, which are they?
3.1. Tech Skills
When it comes to technologies that are popular among developers and in high demand among businesses, we may include the following:
This table reveals that over half of tech experts favour Full-Stack development, followed by Back-End development, and finally, Front-End development. These figures could result from the pandemic when practically every organization went online and needed to develop applications, websites, and other software.
In addition, it is important to understand what other tech skills are in demand among employers. Among them are the following:
- Understanding Data Structures and Algorithms: Knowing data structure will help you organize the process of saving data in a database. In addition, you'll be able to supply the necessary steps to accomplish the operation with algorithms.
- Understanding of the IDE: It is advantageous for the developer to be well-versed in one or more text editors.
- Testing: To create high-quality code, free of bugs and other difficulties, the developer must understand testing fundamentals.
- Operating Systems: Having expertise in different types of strategies will help better proceed with transferring code between them.
- Project Management Methodologies. Knowing some standard methods such as Agile or Waterfall will be a good plus as many development teams use one of them in their development processes.
Everyone knows that tech talent should have excellent tech skills, but employers pay attention to soft skills as well, especially when hiring remotely. So, what are the most valuable soft skills remote developers should have?
3.2. Soft Skills
- Communication: It's an essential skill for developers who work remotely as the project's result depends on the communication between team members. Knowing how to communicate with one another, accepting criticism, and setting and negotiating deadlines are all abilities that every remote developer should master.
- Creativity and Problem-solving: These two skills are also crucial as they may show how skilled and experienced the developer is. Critical thinking aids in the development of the finest solutions in difficult situations. At the same time, creativity provides a variety of approaches to solving problems, and developing the most effective software solutions for businesses.
- Time Management: Remote work often allows flexible working hours. However, specialists have to know how to set their working hours to meet the deadlines. When working with developers from different time zones, it's really important to discuss working hours and schedule some standard times.
- Adaptability: The fast-growing changes in today's world make developers adapt to be in demand. Technology evolves rapidly, and quality engineers must stay on top of their game.
- People Skills: This skill requires a person to have a personal approach to other team members, including awareness of how they respond to various triggers, effective treatment for high results, and a thorough understanding of your teammates' strengths and shortcomings. Employee engagement is associated with increased productivity and profitability.
- English Language: It is critical for Latin American developers who wish to work for startups in the US to have a strong command of the English language. When a US corporation hires a developer directly, the developer is frequently expected to speak English at the C1 level to communicate and write freely. However, suppose the company employs the developer through an outsourcing company. Their English level may be only B2, and they may struggle to understand and discuss the questions. Still, there is generally a manager who is fluent in English that can help both sides avoid communication problems.
- Teamwork: If there is a need for collaboration between team members, it is critical to listen to advice, criticisms, and different points of view. The more people who work together in a team, the better the results and the better the solutions and ideas you can come up with.
4. What is the Best Developer Career in IT?
According to our 2022 Compensation Trend Report, the demand for senior technical positions remains high, as most firms recognize Latin American engineers' value to their teams. The most in-demand roles, such as Back-End, Front-End, and Full-Stack Developers, have experienced a median increase of 10% to 20% in their annual remuneration in 2021, up from a 15-20% increase in 2020, which appears to be supported by the continual surge in demand for these experts.
After going through our guide, you should be able to know which are the possible paths you can take after being a senior developer, methods to excel as a remote developer and have a more accurate understanding of the valuable skills needed to succeed in your career.
Understanding what you want, and what you don't want out of your profession will help you decide which path to go. There are many other avenues you can take outside of traditional norms.
The main thing to remember is that you have the freedom to choose whatever works best for you, and your career goals. At Nexton, we can help you with that. We want to see your genuine potential, what you're made of. We seek talent willing to take on challenges.
Contact us if you'd like to talk about your career goals and aspirations. Our door is always open.