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Life as a Digital Nomad

Champlain College Online

Life as a Digital Nomad

As you scroll through your social media feeds, have you ever noticed people who frequently post content of themselves in new, different, and even exotic locations? Do you wonder what these people do for a living and how their work enables them to constantly travel? Chances are many of them are remote workers, more specifically, digital nomads.

What is a Digital Nomad?

Digital nomads are professionals who leverage the flexibility of remote employment opportunities to work however and wherever they want. Leading a location-independent lifestyle allows digital nomads to travel the world and experience new cultures, all the while staying connected to their work via Wi-Fi and electronic devices, like laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more.

Digital nomads can work anywhere there’s Internet service, such as in their hotel, Airbnb, or wherever they might be staying - and even their vehicles. Businesses and public spaces like coffee shops, cafés, libraries, and co-working spaces are also ideal environments for digital nomads to work in.

The Rise of the Digital Nomad

This digital nomadic lifestyle has been made possible thanks to the increased sophistication and accessibility of online collaboration tools, as well as the accelerated trend of remote work in today’s “gig economy.”

The gig economy refers to a labor market where instead of a traditional career development path, employees pursue temporary positions or freelance opportunities, which allow them to experience a variety of companies, industries, and roles.

Free from the constraints of a traditional work environment, digital nomads are able to prioritize life experiences. Today, you’ll see professionals in all levels of their careers gravitating toward freelance, contract, and remote work for the ability to pursue other passions and personal interests alongside their careers.

With benefits like creating your own schedule, experiencing a variety of roles and work environments, and traveling to new places, the digital nomadic lifestyle seems like a dream. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Becoming a digital nomad takes an incredible amount of planning, careful budgeting, and plenty of experience, both in professional and personal contexts.

If you love to travel and have wanted to pursue new life experiences more often but have limited time off in your current work situation, you might want to explore if a remote career is right for you. We’ve highlighted some pros and cons of the lifestyle, common digital nomad jobs and career paths, and important considerations for how to become a digital nomad.

How Can You Become a Digital Nomad?

In a day where remote work is commonplace, the path to becoming a digital nomad is more accessible and attainable than it once was. However, before you can become a digital nomad, it’s important to gain experience working independently and with others from a distance. This can either be accomplished by enrolling in an online learning program or gaining professional remote work experience.

If you are currently working in a traditional office setting, before you leave your full-time gig it is advisable to first make the transition to remote work. Having experience with remote work will make you a more credible candidate in the eyes of potential employers because it demonstrates success and productivity in atypical working environments. This helps remove any potential hesitations an employer might have about hiring a digital nomad.

One of the greatest upsides of being a digital nomad is having freedom and flexibility. However, if you are not freelancing or working for yourself, you will have to discuss your situation with a potential employer to ensure that the position aligns with your lifestyle and their business needs. When you’re traveling and working from different time zones, it won’t be possible for you to always be online at the same time as your co-workers. This is why it is important to be transparent with recruiters and make sure that whatever team you join provides enough flexibility for you to pursue the life experiences you’re seeking.

Nomadic lifestyles lack a certain permanence that provides security and stability. While exciting and adventurous, the unpredictable lifestyle of a digital nomad means that you must plan in advance and always have another plan to fall back on. It is important to establish financial security and budget your expenses to ensure your travel plans are financially viable with respect to your income levels.

What Jobs Can You Get as a Digital Nomad?

In 2020, the trend of remote work greatly accelerated due to the stay-at-home mandates enforced in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, companies have realized the benefits of hiring remote employees in the opportunity to find and hire qualified professionals regardless of their geographic locations. This means that opportunities for remote work have greatly increased, and therefore the ability to become a digital nomad has become more attainable.

When thinking about becoming a digital nomad, determine what types of positions or companies you are interested in, and ask yourself what skills and experiences you have that can be offered. When conducting a job search, make sure you are looking for companies that promote flexibility and support remote work formats.

Many digital nomads freelance, which means they market and offer up their skills to build a client base. Freelancing tends to be the preferred work style of many digital nomads because they are able to create their own hours and manage how many client projects they are working on at once. This makes it easier to create travel plans as well. However, it is important to note that freelancing takes a great deal of marketing and experience because you will have to demonstrate your professional skills to sign on new clients.

Digital nomads can find work in a variety of industries. Some of the most common are:

  • Writing
  • Design
  • Accounting
  • Teaching
  • Digital marketing
  • Consulting

How Online Degrees Prepare You to Become a Digital Nomad

To be as prepared to work as a digital nomad as possible, having previous remote work experience will best help you thrive and succeed. Additionally, online learning is one of the best ways to build the skills needed to succeed in an atypical work environment. Communication skills, familiarity with online collaboration tools, self-discipline and motivation, time management, and productivity hacks are all lessons you’ll learn in an online degree program that, in turn, perfectly align with employers’ expectations for remote employees.

As you begin your job search in the pursuit of becoming a digital nomad, highlighting that you’ve graduated from an online degree program demonstrates to employers that you’re able to work independently, which is a key indicator of success.

Designed with accessibility in mind, Champlain College Online (CCO) offers 100% online associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and certificate programs in four primary areas of study: business, cybersecurity, healthcare, and information technology.

Learn more about how CCO can prepare you to pursue - and find success in - a digital nomad lifestyle.

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Champlain College Online

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