Work-From-Home Computer Jobs And the Skills You Need

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 13, 2020

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Now more than ever, working from home is a legitimate option for earning a living. Remote work varies from small odd jobs to make some extra income on the side to full-time remote positions where you’re on a company’s payroll.

A study from Upwork found that 35% of the American workforce freelanced in 2019, and overall freelancing income outstripped major industries like construction and transportation. This is not a fad that’s likely to pass either, with more than half of those surveyed responding that no amount of money would entice them to take a traditional job.

So what sorts of opportunities are available for someone looking to start working from home? We’ll go over jobs that require no experience whatsoever and jobs where you’ll need some credentials. Additionally, we’ll cover some of the skills you’ll need to succeed and how much you can expect to make for each job.

Jobs That You Can Work From Home

  • No Experience Needed

    Let’s start with jobs that just about anyone can perform. Note that, for most of these jobs, you won’t make much money, and you’re unlikely to get a reference letter. However, for someone who isn’t interested in building up their resume or finding a long-term career, these options provide a simple and straightforward way to earn a bit of extra cash for little commitment.

    1. Virtual assistant. A virtual assistant performs the duties of an office assistant, just remotely. In this role, you’d be filing records, scheduling appointments, answering calls, composing emails, creating and distributing documents, responding to inquiries from media or businesses, and a variety of other clerical tasks.

      While having some experience as a secretary or administrative assistant may help you earn more, anyone who is competent with basic digital tasks can find success as a virtual assistant.

      What skills do I need? Organization and communication skills are highly-prized soft skills for a virtual assistant. You’ll also need to be disciplined and self-motivated. For hard skills, word processing skills, a fast typing speed, familiarity with Excel, and general competence with a computer and the internet are required.

      Anyone with advanced skills in one or more of these areas can expect to earn more in exchange for more responsibilities.

      What’s it pay? There’s a wide range of income you can achieve as a virtual assistant. The annual salary of a virtual assistant can be anywhere from $28,000-$73,000. Payscale lists the average base salary for a virtual assistant as $15.77/hour. Note that numbers on the high end of the spectrum are likely for those with more experience.

      Job type you want
      Full Time
      Part Time
      Internship
      Temporary

      Where can I find a virtual assistant job? A good place to start your research is VANetworking.com, part forum, part social network, and part job marketplace. Other useful websites include Zirtual and FancyHands.

    2. Call center representative. A call center representative resolves customer issues, answers questions, and provides information – all stuff that’s as easy to do at home as it is in an office. A call-center representative may perform their work over the phone, through online chat windows, or via email.

      What skills do I need? Good phone etiquette and computer competency can land you a basic call center rep job. Experience in sales, customer service, or data entry might help net you more income with this job. While not a skill, it is essential that you have fast internet hooked up via Ethernet and a quiet space in which to work.

      What’s it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly rate for a call center representative as $14.15. The range of annual income is between $23,000-$41,000.

      Where can I find a call center representative job? Websites like Advanis, AdviseTech, and Accolade Support all connect call center representatives with businesses looking to outsource these roles.

    3. Data entry clerk. There is a wide range of businesses that need data entry clerks to enter data into their systems. This person manually enters or updates numeric or alphanumeric data into the company’s database. This is one of the fastest-growing fields for those looking to work at home since many companies need these tasks completed, and it’s an easy job to perform remotely.

      What skills do I need? Fast fingers! Companies want to see that you can type quickly, typically with a minimum words per minute (wpm) count of 50. They may also want to see your keystrokes per hour (kph).

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly rate for a data entry clerk as $13.57. The range of annual income is between $22,000-$40,000.

      Where can I find a data entry clerk job? Websites like Working Solutions and Axion Data Services are excellent places to learn more about what being a remote data entry clerk is all about.

    4. Micro-jobs. Micro-jobs can take several forms. They involve performing small tasks online in exchange for a small fee. Because the jobs are quick and low-paying, one must perform many tasks to achieve a minimum payout, usually around $20-$50. This option won’t net you big money, but it can provide a steady stream of cash in your off time.

      What skills do I need? Basic competency with computers and the internet are really the only requirements to start performing micro-jobs.

      What does it pay? Micro jobs typically pay in small increments for small tasks. A study found that people who worked on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk earned an average wage of just $2/hour. Only 4% of respondents earned $7.25/hour or more.

      Where can I find micro jobs? Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Swagbucks, Respondent, and Clickworker are all good sources for micro-jobs.

    5. Transcriber. A transcriber listens to audio and types it out. Many different industries, from journalism to law to medicine, have audio they need to be transcribed.

      What skills do I need? Good listening skills and a fast typing speed will come in handy as a transcriber. With a technical background in law or medicine, you can expect to earn more money.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a transcriber as $15.08. The range of annual income is between $21,000-$57,000.

      Where can I find a transcriber job? Websites like TrasncribeMe and GoTranscript are great places to look for these jobs.

    6. Stock photographer. All right, so this one might require you to leave the house, but as an independent photographer, you can take pictures of whatever you like. Interior design, portraits, and food photography can be done from home. Any other high definition photos of cityscapes, natural scenes, or people can be sold to stock photography websites.

      What skills do I need? Be good with a camera! Having a background in photo-editing software will also be very useful for this job. Other than that, owning a high-quality camera will help you offer the best possible product.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a photographer as $15.08. The range of annual income is between $24,000-$100,000. Note that these data are for photographers in general, not work-from-home stock photographers.

      Where can I find a stock photographer job? Websites like iStockPhoto and Fotolia are useful resources for those looking to get into stock photography.

    7. Proofreader. A proofreader looks over documents to catch errors. Several industries put out public-facing writing that must be polished, and that’s where proofreaders come in.

      What skills do I need? Attention to detail is the most critical soft skill a proofreader must have. Having experience with style manuals, such as AP or Chicago, will help earn you more challenging tasks and higher pay. Some companies will test your proofreading skills before offering a position or contracted assignments.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a proofreader as $17.97. The range of annual income is between $26,000-$65,000.

      Where can I find a proofreader job? ProofreadingServices is a good place for beginner proofreaders to start, while Scribendi looks for those with more editorial experience. You can beef up your credentials by doing small projects for people on Fiverr as well.

    8. Social media manager. Pretty much every business under the sun has some social media presence. But many companies don’t have someone in-house who has the time to manage their social media. As a social media manager, your job is to manage the company’s social media account to help them grow and reach more customers.

      What skills do I need? A good sense for the culture of the community you’re trying to reach. For example, if you’re a rural midwestern housewife, you might not be the best candidate for marketing to urban youths. Other than that, a good grasp of how social media works is essential. Any additional skills you have in data analysis can boost your income considerably.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a social media manager as $15.89. The range of annual income is between $29,000-$76,000.

      Where can I find a social media manager job? You might try a more traditional job search for this one. Just be sure to limit your results to remote positions. Sites like UpWork are an excellent option for finding jobs like this.

    9. Content creator. Whether it’s blogging, vlogging (video blogging), podcasting, or making a YouTube channel, becoming an independent content creator offers the most freedom of any position on this list. But with all that freedom comes a lot more uncertainty – your earnings are entirely dependent on how good you are at driving traffic to your content and monetizing it. Simply choose a topic you’re passionate about and start making compelling content.

      What skills do I need? Creativity and passion. You may also have an easier time if you have some web development or graphic design under your belt, but you can pay experts to help you with this if you’re willing to invest a little to get the ball rolling. Domains cost about $12 a year, and web hosting can cost as little as $8 a month.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a blogger as $15.00. The range of annual income is between $21,000-$53,000. Take these data with a grain of salt – most blogs don’t earn a dime for their first months or even years. This is a better choice for someone who wants to work on a passion project while developing their skills.

      Where can I find a content creator job? Sites like Wix and SquareSpace offer easy-to-start options for blogging beginners. If you’re starting a YouTube channel, simply start posting content! Nobody hires you for this job; you just start doing it.

    10. Website/App tester. A website or app tester uses a company’s website or app and reports back on their experience. Companies want to test their current websites’ usability for ongoing improvement or before launching a new project. You are asked questions about your demographics, internet knowledge, and social media use before you begin.

      What skills do I need? None, really. Companies want people with a range of internet expertise that represents potential users of their website or app. However, if you have software coding experience, companies may pay more for your in-depth analysis and suggestions.

      What does it pay? A single review earns around $10 and takes no more than a half-hour to complete. A client must accept your feedback for you to be paid, so being thorough and thoughtful in your responses will help.

      Where can I find website/app tester jobs? Sites like TryMyUI, UserBrain, and UserTesting are good resources for those looking to get into website/app testing. Other big names in e-commerce, like Amazon, also pay individuals for this service.

  • Some Qualifications Needed

    While all of the above options can suit just about anyone, the following jobs require some particular expertise or knowledge. On the plus side, they also pay better (in general).

    1. Translator. Most translators work from home. This job involves translating documents from one language to another.

      What skills do I need? While some translator jobs require a bachelor’s degree, most will hire you as long as you are fluent in at least two languages. You also need to be highly organized and able to work under tight deadlines. You may also need strong listening skills if you are transcribing and translating simultaneously.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a translator as $20.22. The range of annual income is between $24,000-$76,000.

      Where can I find translator jobs? Sites like Gengo and AllTasks match up freelance translators with clients.

    2. English teacher. There are several online teaching options just about anyone with expertise can get into, but the easiest to start is teaching English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Teachers typically work with students in Asia, with China being the dominant player in ESOL education opportunities.

      What skills do I need? A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL certificate is required for most online English teaching companies. However, many allow you to earn your certification while you work. Additionally, many online courses grant such certificates at a low cost. Just be sure it’s fully accredited before signing up.

      You will also need a computer with a webcam, a headset with a microphone, a stable internet connection, and experience in simplifying your language for new English speakers.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for an ESOL teacher as $19.37. The range of annual income is between $25,000-$76,000. Note that these data are not strictly for online teachers. However, online teaching companies regularly offer between $14-$25 per teaching hour.

      Where can I find an English teacher job? There has been an explosion of ESOL platforms in the past few years, so do some research. Big names in the field include VIPKid and DadaABC.

    3. Web Developer. A web developer builds websites, typically for companies that contract them. Developers can either be front-end (creating user-friendly code) or back-end (handling intricate, functional tools for online users).

      What skills do I need? Skills in HTML/CSS, JavaSript, SEO, and analytical skills are essential in becoming a web developer. Look into online courses for developing these skills further.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a web developer as $20.79. The range of annual income is between $25,000-$90,000. For a remote, freelance worker, the sky is the limit in what you can earn, depending on your background and what clients you take on.

      Where can I find a web developer job? Sites like 10xManagement are useful resources for freelance web developers.

    4. Freelance Writer. A freelance writer creates written content, typically for a website. Some sites may have in-house writers that work there full time, but a growing number are outsourcing this role.

      What skills do I need? Excellent written communication skills are essential to make it as a freelance writer. Experience will count for a lot here, so start developing a portfolio of all your written work, even it’s just a personal blog you’re running. You also need to know something about the market you’re writing for.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a content writer as $18.46. The range of annual income is between $30,000-$72,000.

      Where can I find a freelance writer job? Sites like FlexJobs and FreelanceWriting offer easy connections between companies and freelance writers.

    5. Computer programmer. In very basic terms, a computer programmer writes code that tells computers what to do. Freelance coding and programming opportunities are increasing as new businesses leverage freelancers’ expertise to get a working product at below-average cost.

      What skills do I need? Proficiency in programming languages, like SQL, C++, Python, and SQL. You don’t need to be a pro in each language, but the more you know about more languages, the better off you’ll be. Math and problem-solving skills are also essential.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a computer programmer as $23.27. The range of annual income is between $38,000-$101,000.

      Where can I find a computer programmer job? Sites like StackOverflow, WeWorkRemotely, and CodingNinjas are an excellent place to find remote computer programming gigs.

    6. Graphic designer. Businesses need aesthetically pleasing graphics to sell their products or services. That’s where graphic designers come in. A graphic designer creates logos, flyers, advertisements, or other visual elements of a company’s website.

      What skills do I need? Knowledge of graphics editing software, like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator or InDesign, is crucial for a graphic designer. No diplomas are necessary, but a practical understanding of these software programs can be learned through credible online courses.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a computer programmer as $17.62. The range of annual income is between $30,000-$64,000.

      Where can I find graphic designer jobs? Sites like Remote.co offer several remote positions, including those in graphic design. For a site specifically dedicated to finding freelance graphic design work, check out Dribbble.

    7. Medical biller and/or coder. A medical biller and/or coder is an assistant who assigns codes for medical billing. This job is becoming more and more popular as a remote option, and those who work it enjoy an extremely flexible schedule. Or you can work as a payroll employee for a company.

      What skills do I need? You may need to pass a certification program, such as CCA or CCS (Certified coding associate/specialist). You also need strong attention to detail and the ability to adapt to new technologies. Strong communication skills will also help in knowing what questions to ask and retaining information.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a medical biller as $16.37. The range of annual income is between $26,000-$47,000. Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a medical coder as $18.66. The range of annual income is between $29,000-$56,000.

      Where can I find a medical biller/coder job? Companies like AviaCode and Change Healthcare connect medical billers and coders with physician groups and medical centers.

    8. Accountant/Bookkeeper. As more small businesses and entrepreneurs enter the scene, the demand for remote accountants increases. Accountants look after a company’s books, handle accounting, and file taxes.

      What skills do I need? If you’re already a CPA, then you’re all set to work as a remote accountant. However, the bar for bookkeepers isn’t nearly as high – a high school diploma and having solid basic math skills will do. You can take free tutorials on Microsoft and Quickbooks or become an EA (enrolled agent), which has far fewer certification hurdles than becoming a CPA. EAs can file taxes and assist with audits.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for an accountant as $20.43. The range of annual income is between $36,000-$72,000. Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a bookkeeper as $17.63. The range of annual income is between $27,000-$57,000.

      Where can I find an account/bookkeeper job? Bark offers online bookkeeping jobs for people of all experience levels.

    9. Digital marketer. A digital marketer works to make sure that digital advertisements reach the right people. As digital advertising through Google and Facebook ads grows more and more complicated, businesses are outsourcing this role to remote workers.

      What skills do I need? First, decide if you want to specialize in Facebook or Google Ads (those are really the only two options). Then, acquire a Facebook Blueprint Certification or a Google Academy Certification. Both are free and will set you up to be an expert on digital marketing.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a digital marketing manager as $20.17. The range of annual income is between $42,000-$102,000.

      Where can I find a digital marketer job? Remote job sites like Jobspresso have a plethora of freelance jobs in digital marketing.

    10. Video editor. Pretty much every other part of the process of making a video (directing, lights, camera crew, etc.) requires people to be present at the time of the shooting. But the editor can get his or her job done anywhere, making it a perfect work-from-home job. Video marketing is becoming more and more popular, so the demand for dependable video editors will only go up.

      What skills do I need? Being an expert on one or more video editing tools is essential for potential clients to take you seriously. Become well-versed in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Final Cut Pro X, or other video editing software to get a leg up on the competition.

      What does it pay? Payscale lists the average hourly wage for a film/video editor as $19.87. The range of annual income is between $30,000-$86,000.

      Where can I find a video editor job? Sites that offer freelance jobs, such as UpWork and FlexJobs, are excellent resources for aspiring remote video editors.

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Chris Kolmar

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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