Wannabe Digital Nomad

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

I have been highly excited with the idea of Digital Nomad. Thanks to pioneers like Pieter Levels, the way of life that is “Digital Nomad” has seen a steady growth in the last few years. Over the last 3 years, the term has seen a significant rise in Google Search Trends.

Google Search Trends

It’s no wonder this way of life and work is gaining popularity. Formally speaking, Digital Nomad means —

Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely — generally from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces and even recreational vehicles — to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace

I am sure you are excited after reading this.

Being a Digital Nomad, you spent the first 2 months of the year at the beaches of Bali, and then the next 2 months in the coffee shops of Amsterdam. You can be anywhere you want to be. Feeling home-sick? You can even go back home for some time.

Photo by Danny Kekspro on Unsplash

Sold? So how do I become a Digital Nomad?

To start your journey as a Digital Nomad, you first need a job, a job which allows you to work remotely. Now before we dig into this any further, there are 2 types of jobs that you can do to earn money.

  1. Full time job
  2. Contract-based / Freelance jobs

Let’s dig deep into each of them.

Full time jobs

Full time job essentially means you will be working your complete hours for exactly one employer or a group of employers. Think of it as same as working at a company like Microsoft or Google.

Finding a full time remote job can be a daunting task as the majority of the jobs you will find don’t have this feature. Thankfully, we have some good websites that list only remote jobs. Here is the cream of them:

  1. Remoteok.io — A remote job board from the same folks as Nomadlist.
  2. We Work Remotely — Probably the largest remote-dedicated job board.
  3. AngelList — AngelList is the best place to find startup jobs. It’s job board has a remote filter which allows you to see only remote OK jobs. You can filter jobs by compensation and keywords as well.

Getting a remote full time job is hard because sometimes, the remote job is not purely remote i.e. the company requires the employees to be present in a certain country or a state.

This is where freelancing kicks in.

Freelance jobs

Freelance jobs are by nature, universally remote. In freelancing, you agree to take up on a project or a task and you complete it for the employer. Upon completion of task, you are paid your due amount. For freelancing, we have platforms like Upwork and Freelancer, where you can bid for a task. If you are selected, you will get to work for the client to do the task.

One reason why many people frown upon freelancing is the same reason why people love it — You get/have to choose your work

Usually there are a lot of applications for a single job so it gets hard to get accepted for a gig. You may have to reduce your bet to get selected and this means low pay and developer dissatisfaction. Also, there is no certainty in freelance, you may remain unemployed for as long as a month. So most people don’t consider this as a stable source of income, and something which they can run a family upon.

Enter Toptal

My views about Freelance changed when I learned about Toptal. Toptal is a freelance network which does the hard ugly work of finding gigs for you. Also it’s track record has shown that the jobs here are handsomely paid and provide long term employment. This means a lot to freelancers. There is no doubt that Toptal is the Mecca for freelancers.

Toptal has a very strict freelance hiring protocol and it says, it only hires top 3% of the whole talent. No wonder, it is able to maintain such a high quality. I would love to be part of such an institution/group.

Excited after learning more about Toptal, I decided to apply for a freelance role there. My application is under process now, and I hope that I will be able to work there once I go through all the stages of hiring.

Other requirements for Digital Nomad

Once you have a job, you need things like a Passport, Visa for the country you plan to stay in and a staying plan. For all that, I highly recommend that you check out Nomadlist.com which contains list of many important resources on these topics.


Well, I am pretty excited on whether I will be able to become a digital nomad or not. I am still looking for jobs, and honestly it has been tougher that I expected. Sadly enough, even today, remote jobs are scarce. I hope I will be able to land one good remote job soon enough.

UPDATE 28/3/18 — I am now one of the freelancers at Toptal. Now I just need to start nomading and then I will update this article again. 😄