Jobs in technical fields, especially internet-based, are most common location independent professions. Lately careers that are traditionally office-based are also being transitioned to telecommuting positions.
The list below covers common technical, creative, office and other jobs. It is far from complete, and we encourage you to find online resources specific to your skills for more information.
A telecommuting career usually implies that you have a single employer. As opposed to freelancing where you may have many clients to keep happy. While some of these jobs are commonly performed by freelancers, this article targets employed professionals with aspirations of location independence. See our articles on Freelancing and Transitioning Your 9 to 5 Job for more information.
We’ve all seen the photograph of the geeky guy sitting on a beach with nothing but a frosty beverage and a laptop. Technical careers are the most obvious choice for telecommuting. The only requirement is a laptop and the skill to use it.
Software Developer - A common career choice for digital nomads. Being able to work by yourself on small to mid sized projects is ideal. Staying focused and on task can sometimes be difficult if you lack discipline.
Software Architect - Similar to a software developer, except focused less on a writing code and more on software design. The assumption is that you have a good amount of working knowledge of your employer’s needs and available resources. This allows you to consult on projects and provide software architecture and designs that leverage your experiences.
Game Designer - This can be a tough field to get into, but provided you have the experience it is absolutely a job that can be done remotely. There has also been a rise in single-shop game designers releasing small titles independently online.
Mobile App Developer - A fairly new career, one that an experienced developer can pick up with relatively little time and money. Projects are usually small, and can be marketed and sold online easily. Jobs in this field are growing by the day. Big businesses have recently sought ways to increase their mobile presence and many software firms are seeking to mobile-ize their existing applications.
Web Developer - Much like software development, web development naturally lends itself to being done remotely. Even if you aren’t able to transition your nine to five, there are many temporary opportunities available that should land you work given a portfolio that shows your experience.
Technical Consultant - A generic title for a job requiring very specific knowledge. Often consultant work requires long hours, constant travel (not the good kind) and a lot of face time with the customer. Finding consultant work that can be done remotely is still possible, especially if your area of expertise is in high demand offers flexible conditions. You may also consider transitioning to a freelance consultant if you think you can find your own clients.
Creative work can easily be done off site, especially if the medium is digital. Many of these jobs can also be performed as a freelancer if your full time job can’t be transitioned easily.
Web Designer - A semi-technical career that relies almost entirely on a suite of a professional software, a laptop and an Internet connection. Finding well paying work in this field is becoming more difficult as the job market saturates but with a strong portfolio and experience you should have options.
Graphic Designer / Illustrator - Experienced graphic designers are in high demand. Graphic design jobs are often outsourced, so temporary work is also common. Taking this job on the road can be difficult if you lack discipline and the ability to work in varying environments.
Presentation Designer - A niche job similar to web and graphic design. Experience is in high demand and can be leveraged to work high paying events that take place around the world.
Writer - A very common career among travelers. No technical skills are required and it is typically a job that is done remotely so transitioning a writing position should be a simple matter. Finding consistent work as a writer can be difficult, and jobs tend to be very low paying unless you have an established career.
Photographer - Full time photography jobs may be difficult to transition due to on-site work and the burden of equipment. Having an existing career in photography may allow you to pick up remote clients, or even sell your photographs online via a stock photo company. Although this probably won't pay the bills consistently.
Telecommuting opportunities have continued to expand over the past decade to include more traditional office jobs. An estimated 25% of the U.S. workforce telecommutes at least once a month. This number has grown 20-40% every year for the past five years.
Business Analyst - Analyzing business needs and processes is something that can be done remotely provided you have access to the people and information you need to perform your work. This can be tricky, but with experience and an existing network of contacts, transitioning to a remote workplace is possible.
Sales - Many employers are virtualizing their sales team. Allowing employees to work remotely and travel independently, something that has historically been a part of many sales jobs. The movement of many sales tools online has further enabled employees to distance themselves from the office.
Customer Service - Perhaps the most commonly outsourced job, many of these jobs are already being performed remotely. There are many opportunities, from help desk to online support to social media management. As with all service jobs, staying connected with your customers is the most important consideration when taking your work on the road.
Accountant - Much like business analysts, provided you have the experience and access to the information you need, an accounting job can be transitioned to a remote workplace.
Management - Managerial jobs that are primarily knowledge-based can be performed off site. Using existing experience with your employer and colleagues is crucial. Staying connected and establishing good communication mechanisms can be difficult. However, online project management tools are beginning to make this easier.
Really just the tip of the ice burg -- these jobs offer a glimpse at other possibilities that are out there.
Translator/Transcriptionist - Translating foreign language texts or transcribing audio, legal or medical documents is work that can easily be done on the road. Experience may be necessary depending on the field, but skilled individuals are in demand.
Teacher - The rise of online education in the past decade means that many students are graduating college without having met the majority of their professors. Teaching for an online school is a possibility, although time commitments are often unknown and diligence is needed to stay organized and available to students.
Lawyer - The numbers of law professionals who telecommute part time has risen dramatically in the past ten years. While not usually an option for new hires, experienced lawyers with the means to keep their clients and bosses happy can find working on the road a possibility.
Blogger - This is an easy job to take on the road, specially if travel blogging is your thing. Making decent money on the other hand can be difficult without a consistent source of income.