My remote setup in Lagos, Nigeria, an escape from the chaotic commute, and a portal to high paying, interesting work.

The Two Things You Need to 10x Your Tech Salary

Chris Quintero
5 min
Hi! I’m Chris, the founder of Stack Shift. I moved to Nigeria because I’m excited about remote work and the prosperity it will bring. Our mission at Stack Shift is to help you unlock this opportunity.
I’m incredibly excited about remote work because it’s enabling people to 2x, 5x, or even 10x their incomes. This is particularly true where I live in Lagos, Nigeria. Time zone, native English, and a booming local tech sector have combined to create a perfect storm of opportunity.

But despite the immense benefits, remote work also makes some jobs more competitive.

If your skills are fairly easy to learn – like basic graphic design – there are now more people than ever competing with you. Just look at the prices on Fiverr.

But if your skills are valuable and scarce, you’ll be able to earn more than ever before. As remote work takes hold, top talent will negotiate salaries based on their unique value, not their location. If you want to do the same, you’ll need two things.

Differentiated Skills

The first is differentiated skills. Basic web development may have been prized a few decades ago, but isn’t any longer. Your skills can’t just be valuable – they also need to be scarce.

One place to look is in areas that are new and trending. Web 3 is one example.

Another place to look is in areas that are unsexy. Where can you carve out a niche and build expertise away from the crowd? 

However, I would argue that the most differentiated skill isn’t proficiency with any tool. It’s the ability to quickly master hard things. Similarly, there are foundational skills that add leverage to technical proficiency. Things like communication, collaboration, and people management come to mind.

Also, star performers don’t just have competence in one area. They combine depth with cross-discipline expertise – so-called T-shaped skills. A blockchain engineer that’s knowledgeable about cryptography, security, and economics is a rare bird indeed.

A Powerful Network

While differentiated skills are one component of an incredible remote career, they’re not enough.  The second thing you’ll need is a powerful network. 

This is important because for the world to bid on your talents, they first need to know about you.  Without a large and diverse community of peers, you’ll lack access to the best jobs. 

A happy hour we recently ran for Web 3 developers in Lagos

A powerful peer group also brings insider information - stories, lessons, and best practices that haven’t been written about publicly. This advice gives you a deeper toolbox to turn to in your own problem solving.

While it’s possible to build a powerful network on your own, it’s much easier to join a community of peers looking to do the same. That’s why we founded Stack Shift. We believe that to advance remote work, the biggest lever isn’t just technical training. It’s access to powerful networks.

Cohort-based programs to level up your network

To facilitate this, we run cohort-based fellowship programs. Cohorts run for 8-weeks part-time, during which you’ll opt-into things like:

  • IRL dinners, happy hours, and fun socials
  • Reverse demo days where companies pitch themselves to you
  • Workshops that help clarify your goals and negotiate better offers.
The boat cruise during our "beta" dWeb fellowship

These are not technical training programs. The goal of each fellowship is to:

  1. Level-up your network
  2. Make it easy to explore high-impact job opportunities 

Each cohort is composed of carefully selected peers who have similar levels of experience and goals. Our first fellowship is focused on Web 3 and is funded by a grant we’ve received from the Filecoin Foundation

Longer term we hope to support these programs through our work in recruiting. This means that we’ll get paid like a recruiting agency does - by employers for successful job placements. We want to be known as the place where both amazing talent and incredible companies hiring on the continent go to find each other. 

If you’d like to learn more about our first, Web 3 focused fellowship, see here. Please also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

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