What is a Digital Nomad Job?
A digital nomad job is a remote job that is suitable for the digital nomad lifestyle. Digital nomad jobs allow you to work from anywhere as long as you have a laptop and WiFi to get the work done. Not all remote jobs are digital nomad jobs, but all digital nomad jobs are remote.
As the workforce wiggles closer to the remote realm in the post-COVID era, we’re starting to redefine the concept of “home”. If you don’t need to be physically present at the office, what’s stopping you from working your way around the globe instead?
Everyday sunshine, non-stop adventures, captivating cultures, and a lower cost of living have long tempted digital nomads to work on the road. And remote work opportunities have skyrocketed since COVID hit—once it’s safe to travel again, you could jump on the nomad bandwagon too.
First things first, you’ll need a location-independent income. So to point you in the right direction, we’ve rounded down a list of the top 10 digital nomad jobs.
Online teaching is an extremely common path for those who want to work a location-independent job. Whether the subject is math, science, or language- there is never a shortage of teaching opportunities.
Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is probably the most prevalent digital nomad job because it has a low barrier to entry for getting started.
If you’re a native speaker, you’re qualified (if not, consider tutoring in your native tongue). Fancy college degrees and official TEFL courses will help you land premium gigs, but they aren’t strictly necessary. The starting pay is decent, too, especially when you’re working out of a low-cost country.
Most remote English Teachers work for a Chinese company that offers set hours per week, 20 being the norm. You’ll need to be online and ready to rock at those times, so get ready to plan your travels accordingly and don’t venture too far from the relevant time zone. A constant high-speed connection is a must because you can’t afford to cut out halfway through class.
If you’ve got a way with words, writing is a wonderful way to work around the world. As far as digital nomad jobs go, it doesn’t get any more convenient than this.
You won’t earn much at first, but once you establish yourself with a pretty portfolio and sleek writing skills, the money will start rolling in. Specialize in a niche (i.e., business or medicine) to elevate your expertise and earnings.
Writing fiction is super hard to succeed in—only the best and luckiest survive. Most digital nomads do copywriting, a form of marketing intended to entice the reader into a sale. Other options include content writing, where you produce informative articles (a la this post), and technical writing, which involves drafting user manuals and whatnot.
There’s no need for high-speed internet, and the hours are entirely flexible, at least if you go freelance. That means you can travel when and where you want, squeezing a couple of hours of work into the gaps in-between.
If you’re bilingual, you could kick start a career as a translator today. Being a translator is a great digital nomad job because you can perform most duties solo.
It’s a tough slog to start with, but the endeavor becomes lucrative with time, especially should you specialize in a niche. You’ll mostly find yourself translating written documents from one language to another. You don’t even need to speak perfectly in your second language—a proficiency of Upper Intermediate (C1) is enough to begin.
Most translators work freelance, taking on ad-hoc gigs as they please. That means you control your own hours and have ample opportunity to explore as you go. You’ll need a somewhat stable internet connection as looking up word definitions is an everyday occurrence.
4. Computer Programmer
Computer programming was the first profession to pave the way for digital nomad jobs. Also known as coding, development, or software engineering. And there are still scores of these tech-savvy gurus hanging around in high-end co-working spaces today.
It’s a technical field with a steep learning curve, so you’ll need either hands-on experience or certification, be it boot camp or a computer science degree. Or if you’re the didactic type, you can teach yourself how to code through the plethora of online tutorials and resources while building yourself a professional portfolio. While programmers are mad keen remote workers, most remote employers prefer senior-level developers, while junior developers may need to work on-site first.
Some computer programmers work on the payroll while others go down the freelance route—the latter gives you more flexibility but less income consistency. In either case, the salaries are astronomical compared to other digital nomad jobs once you’ve earned your coding chops—get ready to live lavishly, even while in expensive locales.
High-speed wifi isn’t always necessary, but it helps make a computer programmer’s job go smoother.
5. Illustrator / Graphic Designer
Artsy types can unleash their creativity and earn a fully remote income on the road—it’s the ultimate bohemian traveler’s dream. When your travels can fuel your inspiration, this digital nomad job doesn’t seem like much of a job, actually.
Both illustrators and graphic designers create compelling imagery to fulfill a company’s business needs. Illustrators draw unique images from scratch, either by hand or through software. Graphic designers, on the other hand, do a digital collage of sorts, intertwining photography, typography, and layout to make an enticing image.
While you don’t need special qualifications, you can’t expect success off the bat. Building up a portfolio and client base takes time and effort.
Freelancing is common among both professions, affording optimal flexibility with work hours and time zones. Some stick to the traditional full-time model for a reliable pay packet—ultimately, the choice is yours.
High-speed internet is essential when sending or receiving large files, but it’s possible to work entirely offline for periods at a time.
6. UI/UX Designer
A UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) designer specializes in designing interfaces for computer software, mobile apps, and websites. While this digital nomad job relies on creativity similar to graphic design, it leans more towards science and psychology.
A UI/UX designer has skills that overlap with a graphic designer, but the bulk of their work is not spent creating logos, icons, or illustrations. Instead, a UI/UX designer will design each screen, button, text field, and interaction flow that a user experiences when using a particular software, app, or website. Then computer programmers will take the designs and implement the real thing with code.
At the end of the day, all electronic devices that receive human input- whether it be an iPad or a TV remote control- need to be designed for maximum utility and lowest frustration for the user. A UI/UX designer is an expert at designing a pleasant experience for users.
7. Videographer / Photographer
Photographers and videographers are somewhat similar to graphic designers—the key difference is they capture their imagery through the eye of a lens. What’s a more perfect digital nomad job than to capture the beautiful world around you through vivid videos and photos?
While videographers work with moving images—be it filming, editing, or producing—photographers focus on capturing captivating stills. No qualifications are required, but both professions are notoriously hard to crack. As highly competitive fields, you’ll need a mighty fine portfolio to land consistent work with high-paying clients (but don’t give up; nothing is impossible).
The vast majority are freelance due to the ad-hoc nature of the work, although some pros manage to find full-time roles. High-speed internet isn’t necessary every day, but it’s indispensable when transferring big files.
8. Social Media Manager
If you spend all day flicking through Instagram, why not get paid for your passion? This is a low-stress digital nomad job– great for those who are savvy with social media etiquette.
Small to medium-sized businesses frequently hire freelance social media managers, and it’s a popular gig among tech-savvy digital nomads. The role involves formulating social media strategies, engaging with consumers, creating enticing posts, and analyzing past or existing marketing campaigns.
You don’t need a degree or portfolio to step into the ring, but nor should you expect big salaries until you can prove your worth. As the position exists entirely online, you need to insist on a fast and reliable connection at every Airbnb, hotel or hostel.
9. Digital Marketer
Digital marketing means elevating a company’s online profile through advertising, data tracking, social media, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This digital nomad job is quite popular because you can eventually leverage the skills to promote your own online businesses.
Some technical know-how is required, so start by completing a few Google Ads Certifications (don’t worry, they’re free). You’ll obtain a lot of your expertise on the job—apply for an entry-level position and work your way to the top. Once you begin working with the big guys, the profession becomes very lucrative indeed.
As the barrier to entry is low, the field has become competitive in recent years. Put yourself out there—networking trumps expertise.
10. Blogger / Vlogger
While not technically considered a “job”, blogging and Vlogging are some of the easiest online gigs to get into—all you’ve got to do is sign up for a WordPress/ YouTube account and start creating content. But be warned: they’re also among the hardest to succeed in. This one can hardly be considered a digital nomad job, but there’s a slim chance that it can bring you in some cash eventually.
Bloggers get paid by inserting affiliate links on their website, from which they earn a small commission on each sale. Vloggers, on the other hand, get a payout every time someone views their YouTube videos.
Most digital nomad vloggers and bloggers opt to create travel content as it’s a topic close to their hearts. Millions of starry-eyed nomads dream of making a living online while documenting their envy-inducing exploits abroad via blog articles.
But the harsh reality is only a tiny fraction earns enough followers to succeed. Working as a digital nomad who relies on website traffic and affiliate marketing can be incredible risky if you don’t already have the cash flow.
The profession is exceptionally saturated, and it’s tough to make it to the top. By all means, give it a shot—but don’t quit your day job just yet.
Find a Digital Nomad Job
Are you ready to cut to the chase and find work as a digital nomad? Then click here to see the remote job listings and see what piques your interest.
The ten aforementioned digital nomad jobs allow you to travel the world while earning a living online. Regardless of which path you take, you’ll need plenty of hard work and perseverance to pull it off—but you will get there, so don’t stop trying.