The Top 4 Must-Have Tech Skills for Remote Work

Remote Job HuntingWorking Remotely

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Which tech skills for remote work should every candidate possess?

In our remote work community, we often get asked questions like:
  • What does it take to land a remote job? 
  • How can I best prepare for a remote role?
  • Why is it important to gain remote work skills? 

These questions only make sense, considering that a staggering number of people are turning to remote work and staying remote after the pandemic passes, as we saw in our latest edition of our State of Remote Work Report.

While this is fantastic news for the workforce, it also means competition for remote positions is now steeper than ever.

Fortunately, we’re going over the top must-have tech skills for remote work, along with how to sharpen each one, in today’s guide.

Have these skills in your tool belt, and you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to land a remote role and succeed in it. 

But First: A Few Caveats On Which Tech Skills for Remote Work We’re Highlighting Today

When we refer to the top tech skills for remote work in this guide, we’re not talking about foundational skills needed to get a job done.

With so many remote roles available in every field and discipline, there’s no way we could outline all the necessary skills candidates should possess to land a job in their industry.

For example, if you’re applying for a job writing applications in Java, you need to have the skills required for that particular program, or there’s no way you can do the job successfully.

So mastering those specific skills and the tech skills for remote work we’re discussing today should help you stand out from your competition. If they only have the former and not the latter, you'll gain a serious edge.

You May Already Have Some of These Tech Skills for Remote Work and Not Know It

As we talked about in our guide on How to Land a Remote Job With No Experience, you’ve probably earned many skills during your career that you just haven’t used in a remote work setting.

Almost every in-house position requires that you know how to collaborate with teammates or communicate professionally and effectively, for instance. These are also needed in a remote role.

Similarly, if your company temporarily switched to remote work during COVID-19 quarantines, you may have even learned how to use Skype, Slack, or Zoom to keep in touch from home. You may also be using remote tools like Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides.

Maybe you’ve even been managing teams in different cities or states.

This means you’re not too far off from having the skills to succeed at remote work.

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All you have to do now is learn how to translate your in-house skills and experience to the virtual workplace. Once you prove your prowess to hiring teams, they’ll have more confidence in your abilities and be smart enough to snatch you up.

Psst! Learn how to tailor your resume to your dream remote job next!

So with those caveats out of the way, let’s dive into the top tech skills remote employers are looking for.

The Top 4 Must-Have Tech Skills for Remote Work

Step one in your remote job search is making sure you have the foundational skills we mentioned earlier to qualify for your dream role. Step two is showing remote companies that you’re also experienced with: 

1. Remote Project Management

When you’re in an office, it’s easier to know what you should be working on and when it’s due.

Your coworkers may be working on the same project next to you. Or you might have weekly meetings to discuss approaching deadlines. And there are probably Post-Its and reminders plastered all over the office walls or on your department’s whiteboards.

But no one will physically be there to tell you what’s going on in a remote work setting. Instead, it’s all done virtually through project management tools like:
  1. Trello
  2. Asana
  3. Monday
  4. Basecamp

Mastering these tools will be crucial to staying organized and on track, two things remote employers look for in job candidates.

So if you have experience and proficiency in project management tools, you’ll be in great shape and more likely to get hired.

Remote project management tools are also useful for:

2. Virtual Collaboration

Since remote companies lack a centralized office, you’ll be sharing ideas with your remote team members via:
  1. Skype
  2. Slack
  3. Zoom (and other video conferencing tools)
  4. Email
  5. Project management tools

This means you’ll want to get comfortable reaching out to hear your team’s suggestions and feedback, and putting forth your own during virtual brainstorming sessions.

So do you know how to Skype or Slack someone individually to share an idea rather than disrupting everyone on the team? 

Are you okay with sharing your ideas with people you’ve never met in person? Can you elaborate on your thoughts effectively through a computer screen? 

You’ll need to practice ways to contribute and disagree professionally without coming off as dismissive or passive-aggressive, which can be easy to misinterpret when you’re not face-to-face.

So learning how to improve your remote collaboration skills is essential, especially if you’ll be working closely with teammates from all over the world most of your day.

This skill is also closely tied to our next must-have:

3. Virtual Communication

To piggyback off the last point, you need to be able to communicate with a diverse group of people and work across many different time zones in some cases.

So another must-have tech skill for remote work is the ability to effectively communicate virtually.

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Your remote team will likely utilize an asynchronous style of communication, which means “out of sync” or not in real-time. With this, you and your team will send messages without expecting an immediate response.

Asynchronous communication works well for teams on different schedules because it allows everyone to focus uninterrupted and get to their messages when it’s most productive for them to do so.

However, this means you’ll need to clearly express project details, concerns, and questions you may have in a well-written email, Slack message, project management comment, or even video message.

In each case, clearly communicating what needs to get done or what’s been done will be helpful for projects to run smoothly and on time. 

If you send confusing or incomplete messages, your teammate will need to ask for clarification before they can proceed, which will cause unnecessary delays.

Use these tips to improve remote work communication so that doesn’t happen!

4. Video Conferencing

As a remote employee, video conferencing is the best way to get “face time” with your coworkers and managers, which is why it’s used so often.

A simple virtual meeting is beneficial for conveying messages to a group of team members, motivating people, and sharing weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. They also ensure everyone is on the same page.

While you don’t need to possess news reporter-level broadcasting skills, you should be comfortable expressing your thoughts on camera. 

You should also be prepared by having the right tech on your side (such as a working camera and microphone). A fast, reliable internet connection is also vital, so you’re not cutting in and out of the session or unable to listen to the other speakers.

Video conferencing tools like Zoom allow you to test your microphone and camera before a meeting starts. You can also consider starting your own private meeting to practice and iron out the kinks before hopping on a “real” call.

Don’t take a chance and wing it when it comes to this skill. Remote hiring teams will request a virtual interview, and you’ll be expected to demonstrate this skill in action.

Get camera-ready with these tips to acing your virtual interview! 

Final Thoughts on the Top Tech Skills for Remote Work

If you have these top four tech skills for remote work, congratulations! 

You can position yourself as a top candidate for remote roles and impress hiring managers. They’ll see that you don’t need much training to get up and running, making you an ideal choice to scoop up.

But don’t fret if you lack experience with the tools mentioned today. Most of them offer free trials you can sign up for and practice using in your spare time. 

Look at the remote job ads you’re interested in to see which tools you’ll need experience with first. Then you can get familiar with those specifically. It won’t take long to get up-to-speed and add more remote work skills to your resume.

It’s also not a bad idea to brush up on your asynchronous communication skills, so you can effectively discuss ideas and collaborate with virtual teams.

Why is it important to gain remote work skills? Because mastering these tech skills for remote work will help you land a job you love and will excel in!

For more help with your remote work career, check out these articles and resources next:
  1. 6 High-Paying Remote Jobs You Can Land With No Remote Experience 
  2. 4 Tips For Starting a New Job, Remotely 
  3. Asynchronous Communication Examples, Tools, and Workflows

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