There are many awesome reasons to be a programmer for a living, but one of the most compelling has got to be the fact that this is a job you can do anywhere. If you are freelance, or if you have a relaxed employer, then you can take your laptop with you on the road and there’s nothing to stop you from working at home, in the garden, or even while travelling the world.
The only issue is finding ways to be productive on the move without weighing yourself down too much with heavy tech. And if you’re used to working on a big desktop PC, then you might struggle at first to adapt.
This article is your guide…
The first thing you need to consider if you hope to code on the move, is precisely what technology you intend to work on and how you’re going to get the power and flexibility you need on a device that’s small enough to fit in a bag.
The good news is that we these days are spoilt for choice when it comes to the tech. For starters there are a number of incredibly thin and light ultrabooks which include things like the amazing Macbook Air which has won countless awards for its svelte proportions and light profile. At the same time this is a powerhouse of a computer that can more than match your processing needs for most programming environments.
If you’re more a fan of windows on the other hand though then you again have a ton of options. For instance you won’t just be limited to working on laptops or ultrabooks – why not work on one of the impressive tablet ‘slate computers’ which can transform between tablets running the Windows 8 ‘Metro’ interface and full-powered PCs that run the full desktop environment. If you get something like the Atom-powered Dell Venue 8, then you’ll get the full Windows experience on an 8” tablet. All you need is a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and you’re good to go! As long as you’re not making a 3D game in Unity that is. But if you are, then the amazing (but expensive) Surface Pro 3 will be everything you need.
The tech alone isn’t everything you need though. As well as the right device to work on, you’re also going to need an internet connection (how else will you access Stack Overflow?), you’ll need power, and you’ll need somewhere comfortable to sit.
This is why it’s always a good idea to do your research before you head off travelling if you hope to work on the move as a coder. Find places that will offer WiFi near where you’re going to be, and if you can’t get WiFi there then make sure you’ll be able to use internet tethering on your mobile. Likewise, make sure that you have access to a power socket – and it never hurts to have a backup battery pack if you can take one.
Another way to plan ahead though is to do the right kind of work before you set off, and the right kind of work when you’re on the move. For instance if you’re working on a program and you get to decide what happens when, then you should tackle the parts you’re unsure about or that will need lots of testing while you’re at home. Save jobs that don’t 100% require internet connection or too much concentration (even things like creating assets in PhotoShop) for when you’re on the move so that you always have something you can fall back on.
Note as well that if you’re working between devices that you will need to be able to access all of your files. The finally piece of the jigsaw when working on the road then is to set up some sort of cloud service and to upload everything you might need to that.
Then once you’ve arranged all your travel details like the hotel and , you’ll be good to go!
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