A Day in the life of a coder

by Henrik Bolte, Software Engineer

I’m tapping away at my computer from my home in tropical Thailand where I spend my days working as a remote app developer.

Before embarking on my digital nomadic life, I was honing my skills in major corporations such as IBM Deutschland GmbH. As a trained software engineer, I have the opportunity to work from anywhere. So after a few trips to Thailand, I decided to make the most of this flexibility and embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. I packed my bags and headed off to start my remote career in the tropics.

Initially, the plan was to work away in Thailand for six months, but I left in January 2020, and then Covid hit. And you know the rest. Instead of jumping on the next flight home, I pivoted my plans, stayed, and made a new life for myself as an expat working in Thailand.

The future is remote

From my base in Thailand, I have the opportunity to work across different time zones. I’m five or six hours ahead of Europe, and around 11 hours ahead of the USA’s east coast, meaning I’ve finished most of my day’s work before you’ve even had your morning coffee. I can polish up projects and get ahead while you’re still sleeping and have updates fresh on your desk ready for the next steps in the morning.

I’ve become a true advocate for a new way of remote working, where we can work together and collaborate when necessary. This is not just great for freelancers like me, but also for companies because it means you can save a fortune on expensive hiring costs and instead just pay a fixed fee or hourly rate for a dedicated amount of time.

This way of working offers flexibility for both the company and us digital nomads, as it means we can dedicate ourselves 100 percent to each project and then go our separate ways once it’s delivered.

How many hours do coders work?

So what does a typical day look like? I usually wake up early and enjoy my morning coffee while catching up on the latest news. As a digital nomad, I have more freedom to structure my day, so I usually start it off with a walk or run along the beach before logging onto my computer and setting aside around half an hour or so to go through some quick tasks such as catching up on project statuses and checking emails.

I’ll then check and outline my tasks for the day for each project. This helps each client know what to expect for the day and helps me to keep their priorities in mind.

Once I’ve set my tasks, I block out time for each project according to priority, and then I officially start working. In reality, no two days are the same and the structure of the day really depends on the clients I’m working with and size of the project.

Typically, I break up my day into two blocks, dedicating my morning and early afternoon to deep-focused work, and then I’ll usually take a break in the early evening for dinner. I often work for another few hours after dinner to follow up on any requests or tie up any loose ends before concluding the working day.

Depending on the projects I’m working on, my hours can be a lot longer. But thanks to the time difference, I can decide the hours. I can be totally focused and get more done while the teams are resting but be available for those all important project catch-ups in overlapping hours.

Coding for China’s largest software company

Before working as a freelance software developer, I gained experience working with major corporations. In fact, I worked as a software engineer for Neusoft Technology Solutions GmbH, which is part of the Neusoft Group, China’s largest software company. The company is a pioneer in navigation technology and is a leader in the development of embedded software, software design, and software architecture.

Neusoft explores technology innovations and applications to help medium and large clients globally achieve digital and intelligent development. They are leaders in the fields of smart city, healthcare, intelligent vehicle connectivity, enterprise digital transformation, and international software services.

I worked as a software engineer on various software projects for the company, working as part of the in-house team. Now as a seasoned remote contractor I can work with similar corporations, effortlessly slotting into teams and available for video calls and real-time updates. While also making the most of different time zones to get work done and accelerate projects while the team rest.

When working with in-house teams, they outsource their specific software development needs to me, so that they can focus on other parts of the project, without having to hire someone in-house, which can get expensive. As a freelancer, I offer more affordable rates without skipping out on quality.

Work-life balance

What are the perks of working remotely? I get to choose when I can take a break and then dive back into work feeling refreshed and recharged. Working from my home office, or from the numerous co-working spaces here in Thailand, is much less stressful than a hectic office environment, that pulls you in every direction. Besides, when I nip out for a break I can enjoy a warm, sunny climate and dive into crystal clear waters.

By choosing the environment I want to work in, I end up feeling much more relaxed. I don’t have to lose time commuting, and instead, can fully focus when I need to work, dedicating all my time to my different clients. Then, as soon as I need to take a break and get inspired, I get out and enjoy the beautiful tropical paradise that is Thailand.

Coding for Education

Another example of a project I’ve worked on, this time for SBE network solutions GmbH. I worked as a remote mobile developer, working on tech solutions for educational purposes by optimizing complete EDP solutions for schools and school authorities.

EDP solutions is a market-leading company based in Germany that provides innovative and practical IT solutions in the field of education, offering schools and school authorities a complete software solution. It combines easy-to-use functionalities that are customized to the needs of modern schools.

I worked directly with the client, consulting with them to understand their unique needs, and planning and implementing mobile app solutions for the education sector. Working from my base in Thailand, I was able to carry projects forward when the European working day finished, accelerating the project’s turnarounds.

It’s so rewarding to work on educational programs such as the project with SBE network solutions GmbH. Working on multiple projects with a variety of different companies means that I get to work on incredible projects like this one, making a positive impact on educating a tech-savvy generation by giving them access to world resources and helping them to dream big.

As a remote app developer, I have the opportunity to help all kinds of different companies around the world on different coding projects, big or small.

Henrik Bolte is an adventurous digital nomad based in Thailand, South East Asia. He has in-depth expertise in software engineering and is passionate about Android app development. Far away from potential clients, time difference is not an issue. Instead of it being an obstacle, he uses it as leverage. Thanks to his way of life, he can bring his best self to each project offering adaptability, dedication, efficiency, and utmost flexibility. 9 to 5 is not his style. He is available at any moment of the day, making him extremely reliable and his clients feel comfortable in trusting Henrik to convert an app idea into a reality.

Henrik Bolte, Software Engineer

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