Life as a Remote Developer in Medellín, Colombia

Did you already come across a software developer who travelled through South America?

Most likely he stopped over in Colombia’s digital nomad hub Medellín and worked remotely out of a trendy coffee place! Find out why programmers love to work out of Medellín – and who knows, maybe your next trip will take you here!

Foto: Medellín Valley, Bucketlistly

Colombia means great coffee

Creative and vibrant coffee places like  Pergamino  or Velvet, located in El Poblado, are leading the “code and coffee” trend and combine a mix of outstanding interior design, a buzzing nomad atmosphere and specialty coffee. The person enjoying a cup of coffee next to you is just like those you met at  Sey Coffee  in Brooklyn or Mazarine Coffee in San Francisco.

In some countries people would find it weird to go to a coffee shop alone, in Medellín it is just as
normal as travelling on your own or checking in at a co-working hostel by yourself. On some days I
avoid the office and work at a coffee place in El Poblado to exchange with inspiring digital nomads.

Foto: Pergamino, El Poblado, Tom Wilson

A New Jersey developer living the remote experience

Part of every foreigner’s coffee experience is to try Colombian flavors and specialties such as a malteada, a mix of milk shake and coffee or a granizado, a refreshing coffee in crushed ice. That’s how I met Adam a few months ago, a developer who works for a digital agency in New Jersey. He was curious about cold brew coffee and asked me for advice. Once he noticed I was coding for one of my projects, we had a chat about each others’ work and experience working remotely. He escaped the New Jersey winter and enjoyed Medellin’s climate and socializing options. Obviously, being at the equator Colombia has no seasons and the quality of life remains the same throughout the year.

Adam’s agency allowed him to work fully remote for a period of three months – a concept that is more and more common since the pandemic. He told me his clients usually don’t notice that he is abroad as he delivers excellent results and finishes projects on time. One thing he found challenging though was to resist Medellin’s night life which extends from Monday to Sunday.

Independence vs daily routine

I asked him why he enjoys programming at a coffee place, just equipped with headphones, a macbook and an aluminium laptop stand. His response was that it helped him to feel free and independent and that he was thankful to live a life of freedom. Every day on his journey would feel like a new adventure, something he didn't experience in his day-to-day life in New Jersey. Prior to meeting me he came across inspiring backpackers and digital nomads. Among these he met some developers who – if not working remotely – were based in New York and New Jersey, and he felt they were valuable contacts that had not crossed his path in New Jersey. Life in the states is fast and people loose time commuting to work. Time is money, so most of his friends at home were usually fully booked and lacked spontaneity. In Medellín he found the complete opposite as other digital nomads were always up for an evening beer or a quick trip to the outskirts, e.g. to explore a finca or a waterfall or a cave.

When a quick escape becomes life

Being Colombian it is tough to see life through his glasses, but I understood that my country comes to people's mind who are stuck in daily routines and their pace of life. Some developers feel extremely welcomed and comfortable and consider getting residency in Colombia – turning a quick escape into a new life. Since their jobs provide a great income for Colombian standards, the only challenge they face is to learn Spanish and those who deep-dive into our culture – to learn salsa. If you consider moving to Colombia to work as a remote developer, feel free to contact me for advice! In any case, Colombia’s kind people will embrace you and give you a warm welcome.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Conne Gil Morales, Software Engineer at Prisma Softwares

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