Top 5 Professions for Digital Nomads

For a lot of people, the word “expatriate,” conjures images of powerful executives working for global firms, or retired, wealthy folk living the good life.

digital nomads professionsExpatriate Digital nomads are people whose jobs provide them the opportunity to work from anywhere. Rather than settling down somewhere, they move about, living in different parts of the world.

Not Just Seeing the World, Living the World

It’s a life that allows people to truly immerse themselves in the world’s greatest cities, and to become part of such global events as the Olympics, Carnival, Holi, and Mardi Gras.

While there are no hard rules that define the digital nomad lifestyle, they tend to stay in places for periods ranging from a few weeks to a month or longer. The lifestyle seems to fit the desires of members of Generation Y (people born between 1980 and 2000 also known as millennials). According to a 2014 article on Forbes.com, millennials will account for 40 percent of workers within five years. Some other key numbers cited in the article are that 74 percent of millennials want flexible schedules and 72 percent want to be their own boss — both of which fit the nomad lifestyle.

Younger people also are more accustomed to the digital age and virtual office concepts than previous generations. Younger workers also are more likely to not have children or own a home, which makes the nomad lifestyle more feasible.

Getting Started

Becoming a digital nomad will take some research in finding affordable places to live, and being sure you can work wherever your travels take you. Consider that as exciting as the lifestyle sounds, you’ll still deal with the pressures of work — deadlines don’t go away because you’re a world traveler.

Of course, if you decide to combine work with your love of travel and exploration, you need to find the right job. Here are five of the best jobs for digital nomads.

The Write Stuff

To become a freelance writer, all you pretty much need are a laptop, smartphone, talent, and hard work. Assignments from editors are usually given via email, most research is done on the Internet, and interviews are usually done by phone, email or Skype.

Becoming a travel writer can be very exciting; start by writing a list of places you want to go, then pitch assignments to magazines and websites about those locations. You may even be able to arrange reimbursement for food, lodging and living expenses. Even if you don’t have a firm assignment, take notes on the places you visit so that you can pitch stories down the road.

Find out about the interesting people who live in different areas, and pitch stories on them. Learn about popular trends in the area. For example, maybe you’re staying in an area where organic gardening is popular, and you can write a story for a gardening magazine.

Got an Eye For Design?

Web designers create websites, developing the concept, layout and design. People who are tech-savvy and creative are likely to be able to develop the right skills for the job. Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver are two key programs for this career.

It’s important to know that staying on top of technology and trends is important in the ever-changing world of web design. For example, it wasn’t that long ago when mobile capability wasn’t a factor in web design. So constant on-the-job training is part of this career.

You’ll also have to spend a little money to get started. The job requires a high-end laptop and the right software. Plus, you really need to be sure you’ll have excellent Internet connection wherever you go.

Getting graphic

If you have talent and connections, securing work as a graphic designer should be relatively easy regardless of where you live. Graphic designers help companies share their messages through the design of print ads, brochures, posters and billboards. They also design logos and other elements that may be used on those media. Graphic designers also design magazines, newspapers and books.

You’ll need to invest in some fairly costly software programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), and having a portfolio to show clients will be a huge help. What makes it a good fit for the digital nomad life is that many graphic design jobs are freelance-based, which means they can be done anywhere.

Picture Perfect for Digital Nomads

Many photographers lived the nomad life, long before the term digital nomad ever existed.

Being employed as a photographer might send you around the world, though it will chip away at the whole free-to-go-where-you-want thing because editors will be giving you assignments.

Better for the digital nomad is working as a freelancer, if you can arrange for steady work. Either way, this choice has its hurdles. It requires top-notch photography equipment, which is costly, and can weigh a person down when traveling.

Also, while pictures of people in different parts of the world could be appealing to stock photography houses, many such houses require permission from the people in the photos. Another factor is that many iconic destinations — museums, theaters, sports venues, etc. — won’t let professional photographers take pictures without permission, and that’s not always easy to arrange.

Even with those setbacks, no matter where you travel to, there are sure to be plenty of subjects for photos, such as natural wonders, buildings, houses of worship, animals, and landscapes.

Hello Operator

People who want to give the digital nomad life a try but don’t have a career lined up, might want to consider becoming a virtual receptionist. Virtual receptionists perform the phone duties of in-office receptionists such as taking message and handling customer service responsibilities. Companies offer hire virtual receptionists in order to provide 24-hour service to customers, or as a cost-saving measure.

Experience in customer service will likely help secure a virtual receptionist job, but people don’t generally need to be highly qualified to get the job. Be prepared to take some practice calls, and strong communications skills are a must.

With a digital career, find out where to move! Check out the top 10 countries for expats to live in based on climate, affordability, quality of life, and low taxes. 

Top 10 Countries for Expats to Live In

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