In this internet age, most of us have a virtual presence in cyberspace that is almost as well-defined as our physical identity – sometimes even more so. Given that so much business and social activity takes place in the virtual world, it should come as no surprise that virtual jobs are also on the up.
But exactly what do we mean by “virtual jobs” and what career opportunities are available out there? If you think that entering the virtual economy is all about anonymous working from behind a laptop and spending your life on your sofa or in your favourite coffee shop, the following examples will show that there is more to virtual jobs than you might think.
A virtual assistant
No, becoming a virtual assistant doesn’t mean you have to change your name to Siri or Alexa. Today’s businesses are all about running lean and efficient, with more and more non-core roles being outsourced. As a virtual assistant, you perform all the traditional duties of a PA, but will be doing so as an independent contractor or through a third party agency.
Becoming a virtual assistant gives you the opportunity to specialise in areas that interest you, or alternatively to gain experience of a range of industries. Just be careful not to spread yourself too thin, and understand the time demands of any role you consider.
Some virtual roles demand no IT skills or knowledge whatsoever. One sector that is undergoing exponential growth at present is the online casino market, and in particular, the area of live gaming. Here, people log on to a site and play games like roulette or blackjack in real time with a real dealer. You will work from a studio rather than a crowded gaming floor, but other than that, the job is no different to working as a croupier or dealer in a physical casino.
The days of companies having in-house IT teams with their very own support guy or girl sitting ready to troubleshoot problems are rapidly disappearing. From major corporations to SMEs to nonprofits, there is a general trend towards using virtual support specialists who to work remotely. Again, this gives you the opportunity to experience a range of sectors and to keep at the cutting edge of business tech. Indeed, author and business leader Kate Lister describes this as one of the top three work from home jobs.
Once considered one of the most hands-on jobs imaginable, there are now plenty of opportunities to teach in the virtual world. These range from online tutoring for youngsters worrying about their SATs to delivering elearning courses in adult education or industry. While online teaching used to be seen as a support role in which you might provide advice by email or on a chat forum, it has become far more interactive in recent years. Delivering video content and webinars on dedicated platforms, or perhaps through sites like YouTube will give you a chance to let your knowledge and passion for your subject matter rally shine through.