How to Become a Digital Nomad: Best Deg…

How to Become a Digital Nomad: Best Degrees [+Visa Rules Explained by Expert]

Erudera teams up with visa expert to provide the most comprehensive guide on how to become a digital nomad.

It’s basically an ‘all your questions answered’ guide, which we know you will find helpful if you plan to lead a nomadic lifestyle.

A digital nomad uses technology to work remotely and lead a nomadic lifestyle, typically moving from one location to another.

Digital nomads are not bound to a fixed location or office and often work from coffee shops, co-working spaces, libraries, or anywhere with a reliable internet connection. They may choose to live in different cities, countries, or continents, experiencing new cultures while maintaining their careers or running their businesses online.

Here at Erudera.com, we teamed up with visa expert, Melvina Kelmendi, from VisaGuide.World, a leader in online visa information for over six years, to create a straightforward, all-inclusive guide on how to become a digital nomad, with insights directly from education and visa experts.

What to expect from this guide on how to become a digital nomad:

➡️ Top 7 degrees for aspiring digital nomads and the corresponding digital nomad job opportunities for each degree.

➡️ Visa insights from VisaGuide.World expert with information on requirements, tax obligations, restrictions, permanent residency, etc.

Best Degrees for Aspiring Digital Nomads

Computer Science Degree

Holding a degree in Computer Science positions you for numerous career opportunities in technology. Throughout your degree, you delve into subjects such as programming languages, data science, software development, information security, and network architecture, equipping you with the skills and knowledge fundamental for various tech-centric roles that can be done remotely as a digital nomad.

Digital nomad jobs with a Computer Science degree:

  • Software Developer. You get to develop, test, and maintain software applications and systems. You will work with clients or teams to create customized software solutions.
  • Web Developer. This job allows you to design and create websites or web applications. You must ensure the functionality, performance, and responsiveness of web platforms.
  • Mobile App Developer. Develop applications for mobile devices on platforms such as iOS and Android. You get to work on user interface, functionality, and updates.
  • Data Scientist/Analyst. Analyze large datasets to extract insights and support decision-making.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst. Protect organizational assets by identifying and mitigating security risks. You will get to monitor networks for security breaches and conduct investigations.
  • UX/UI Designer. Design user interfaces and user experiences for software applications.
  • IT Consultant. Provide technology advice and solutions to organizations. You get to help clients with technology-related decision-making and implementation.

Digital Marketing Degree

Digital marketing involves advertising products and services through digital platforms. While adhering to the core principles of marketing, it places a specific emphasis on digital analytics and strategies to connect with consumers online, distinguishing it from traditional forms of marketing that utilize conventional media channels. This means you can pursue most digital marketing careers as a digital nomad!

Digital nomad jobs with a Digital Marketing degree:

  • Digital Marketing Specialist/Manager: You will develop and implement online marketing strategies. Manage SEO/SEM, email marketing, social media, and display advertising campaigns.
  • Content Creator/Marketer: Produce and distribute valuable, relevant content. You work on attracting and engaging a defined target audience to drive profitable customer action.
  • SEO Specialist: Optimize websites to rank higher on search engine results pages. Conduct keyword research and implement content and technical SEO strategies.
  • Social Media Manager: Manage and grow an organization’s presence across social media channels. You will develop strategies, create content, and monitor social media engagement and analytics.
  • Email Marketing Manager: Design and implement direct email marketing campaigns. You get to analyze campaign performance and suggest improvements.
  • Affiliate Marketer: As an affiliate marketer, you promote products and earn a commission for every sale, visit, or subscription sent to a company. You get to work with various brands or through affiliate networks.
  • Public Relations (PR) Specialist: Manage an organization’s online presence and reputation. Develop and implement PR campaigns and media relations strategies.
  • Influencer: As an influencer, you leverage your social media presence to promote brands and products. You work with brands to create sponsored content.

Graphic Design or Multimedia Arts Degree

Graphic design focuses on visual communication and the aesthetic representation of concepts and ideas using graphic elements and tools. It equips students with the knowledge, skills, and creative thinking needed to create effective visual communications, and it can open doors to various career paths in design, advertising, media, and related fields.

A Multimedia Arts degree includes a range of subjects, such as video editing, animation, motion design, and graphic design.

Digital nomad jobs with a Graphic Design or Multimedia Arts degree:

  • Graphic Designer. Create visual content for brands, including logos, promotional materials, and web graphics.
  • UI/UX Designer. Develop user interfaces and design experiences for mobile apps and websites to enhance user satisfaction.
  • Animator. Create 2D or 3D animations for various projects such as advertisements, films, and video games.
  • Video Editor. Edit and assemble recorded raw material into suitable, finished products for broadcasting or online publishing.
  • Motion Graphics Designer. Combine graphic design and animation to create motion graphics for commercials, films, and other visual content.
  • Photographer/Photo Editor. Take high-quality photos and edit them using digital software for various purposes, such as advertising, journalism, or freelance photography.
  • Digital Illustrator. Create digital artwork and illustrations for various media, including books, magazines, and online platforms.

Education Degree

People pursuing education degrees generally enter careers in teaching, whether it be for children or adults. This degree provides opportunities in various roles, including teacher, assistant, counselor, or administrator, serving diverse age groups. The adaptability of this degree allows teaching opportunities not only in conventional settings but also in the growing online education space, catering to both young and adult learners, depending on preferences and qualifications.

Digital nomad jobs with an Education degree:

  • Online Tutor/Teacher. Teach subjects or skills remotely to students of various ages through online platforms.
  • E-Learning Developer. Design and create digital learning materials and courses for online education platforms.
  • Educational Consultant. Provide guidance and advice to educational institutions or individuals remotely on curriculum development, instructional strategies, and educational policies.
  • Curriculum Designer. Develop curriculum and instructional materials that can be used by teachers and students in online learning environments.
  • Language Instructor. Teach languages to individuals or groups through virtual classrooms or one-on-one sessions.
  • Education Blogger/Content Creator. Write articles, create videos, or develop other content related to education for blogs, websites, and social media platforms.
  • Test Prep Instructor. Teach and prepare students for standardized tests such as SAT, ACT, GRE, or IELTS through online sessions.

Foreign Languages Degree

A Foreign Languages degree teaches you a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge focusing on a specific language or languages other than your native tongue. Students get training in speaking, reading, writing, and listening in their chosen language. They develop in-depth knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and syntax. Among other things, students delve into literature study, translation and interpretation, and cultural understanding.

Digital nomad jobs with a Foreign Languages degree:

  • Translator/Interpreter. Translate written documents or interpret spoken language remotely for businesses, individuals, or organizations.
  • Online Language Tutor/Teacher. Teach students of various ages and proficiency levels the learned language through online platforms.
  • Freelance Writer. Create bilingual or multilingual content, articles, blogs, and social media posts for different audiences.
  • Customer Support Representative. Provide multilingual customer service and support for international companies and clients.
  • Virtual Assistant. Offer administrative services to businesses or entrepreneurs, utilizing language skills to manage international communications.

English or Journalism Degree

An English degree focuses on the study of the English language and literature. It involves a wide range of areas of study, including the analysis of literary texts, the development of writing and communication skills, and an understanding of linguistic principles and theories. The program hones both written and oral communication skills, critical thinking and argumentation, research, and academic writing, among other skills.

On the other hand, students majoring in Journalism acquire skills in reporting, writing, and editing content for both publication and broadcast. A Journalism degree teaches students how to gather credible sources, write with clarity and effectiveness, and convey meaningful and captivating stories to the audience.

Digital nomad jobs with an English or Journalism degree:

  • Content Creator/Writer. Develop written content such as blog posts, articles, and social media updates for various platforms and audiences.
  • Editor/Proofreader. Review and edit content for grammar, punctuation, style, and coherence to improve quality and readability.
  • Freelance Journalist/Reporter. Research, write, and submit news stories, features, or opinion pieces to online publications or news outlets.
  • Social Media Manager. Create, curate, and manage published content across social platforms to grow online presence and engage with the audience.
  • Digital Marketer. Develop and implement online marketing strategies to promote brands, products, or services through digital channels.
  • Online English Teacher/Tutor. Teach English language and literature to students of various ages and proficiency levels through online platforms.
  • PR and Communications Consultant. Manage public relations and communications for individuals, companies, or non-profits, crafting press releases and managing media relations.

Business Degree

A business degree provides students with finance, marketing, management, and administration knowledge. It helps you learn how to solve real-world problems in a fast-changing business world. The term "business degrees" covers various subjects, including finance, accounting, management, and economics. These degrees can be broadly categorized into two types: general ones covering various business subjects and specialized ones focusing on a specific area such as international business, entrepreneurship, or human resource management.

Jobs related to this degree that can be performed as a digital nomad include consulting, managing online businesses, or engaging in entrepreneurial activities.

Digital nomad jobs with a Business degree:

  • E-commerce Manager. Oversee online sales strategies, manage product listings, and optimize customer experience on digital platforms.
  • Remote Sales Manager. Develop and lead a sales team, set targets, and strategize to meet sales goals from anywhere in the world.
  • Freelance Consultant. Offer specialized advice in management, operations, finance, or human resources.
  • Online Business Owner. Start and manage your own business online, which could be in retail, services, consulting, or any number of industries.
  • Financial Advisor/Planner. Provide financial advice and planning services to individuals or businesses remotely.
  • Project Manager. Plan, execute, and close projects, managing resources and stakeholders, typically using project management software.
  • Data Analyst. Interpret complex datasets to provide insights and solutions for businesses.

Visa Expert Shares Valuable Insights: A Conversation

For those aspiring to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, visa information ranks as one of the most crucial considerations. And, no, this type of visa is not the same as a tourist visa.

In an interview with VisaGuide.World expert, we got our answer loud and clear: “A tourist visa does not usually allow you to work abroad, even remotely. Tourist visas are issued for a short period (max. three months), whereas digital nomad visas are issued for at least six months, can be renewed, and allow multiple entries (which is not always the case for tourist visas).”

So, whether you plan to work from a beach in Portugal or a café in Germany, having the correct visa is essential. Not only does it legalize your stay, but it also ensures access to local amenities and services and avoids potential legal complications.

Which is why Melvina Kelmendi from VisaGuide.World has given us some helpful insights on everything from requirements to tax obligations.

Now, you might be wondering, which countries roll out the welcome mat for digital nomads? Well, according to our conversation with a visa expert, Portugal stands out as a hot spot, having granted over 200 visas to digital nomads in just the first two months of its program launch! Cyprus is also getting a nod from the nomad community.

Based on our chat with Kelmendi, there are essentially two main visas you can set your sights on. First up is the Digital Nomad Visa. This one is your go-to if you’re working for a foreign company or dealing with international clients but have your heart set on living abroad temporarily. The second category is Freelancer or Self-Employed Visas, which are “issued to individuals who are freelancers or self-employed, and can work with local or foreign clients.” According to Kelmendi, tax requirements may be imposed in the latter case if they have a local client base.

Here’s our conversation in full:

Erudera: How do visa requirements vary between countries for digital nomads?

Kelmendi: Usually, the main difference when it comes to visa requirements between countries is the minimum required salary to work there as a digital nomad. For example, for Iceland, it is at least $7,700/month, whereas for Portugal, it is at least €3,040/month. Other than that, the main requirement is just having a job that you can do remotely.

Erudera: How long does the application process usually take, and how much does it cost?

Kelmendi: The cost and processing time varies depending on the country. The cost can be as low as €70 (Cyprus) or $294/applicant (Curaçao). The processing time is usually around the two-week mark but can be higher or lower.

Erudera: And how long is a digital nomad visa typically valid for? Is it a matter of months/years?

Kelmendi: Typically, the visas are offered in the form of temporary residence permits, allowing foreign nationals to live and work abroad for six months to a year. However, many countries are also offering renewable visas for up to several years. For example, you can work in Cyprus as a digital nomad for up to two years.

Erudera: And, can this type of visa be extended or converted into a different type of visa?

Kelmendi: Yes, these visas can usually be extended, but not indefinitely. They cannot be converted into another type of visa, but the applicant may discover that they like living in that particular country, in which case they could find a job in that country and apply for a work visa or something similar.

Erudera: Are there any restrictions on the type of work that can be performed on a digital nomad visa?

Kelmendi: With digital nomad visas and similar visa schemes, such as freelancer or self-employed visas, applicants are not allowed to work for any business registered in that country. For example, digital nomads in Portugal cannot work for a Portuguese employer because that would require them to have a work permit, not a digital nomad visa.

Erudera: So, is it possible to apply for permanent residency while on a digital nomad visa? I mean, I can imagine a scenario where a digital nomad likes living in a specific country enough to seek permanent residency. Is that possible in any way?

Kelmendi: No, it is not possible to apply for permanent residency under a digital nomad visa. To qualify for permanent residency in any country, you must have lived there for a certain period of time (e.g., five years) with another qualifying visa, such as a work or family visa.

Erudera: Here’s a question I’m sure everyone is interested in: What are the tax obligations and rights granted under a digital nomad visa?

Kelmendi: Because digital nomads work for employers abroad, they are not required to pay taxes in the country that issued them a digital nomad visa. However, most countries have a limit as to how long someone can live there before they are required to pay taxes. This is usually between six months to one year. After this period, you are considered a “tax resident” and will be required to pay taxes.

Erudera: I’m sure many digital nomads would like to bring their families along. Can family members or dependents also stay if the main applicant obtains a digital nomad visa?

Kelmendi: Yes, some countries do allow family members of digital nomads to join them, in which case the minimum required salary increases.

By the end of this insightful conversation, we asked VisaGuide.World representative Melvina Kelmendi, whether there are any restrictions or specifications regarding the type of work or industry one can engage in while on a digital nomad visa.

Her answer corresponds with our list of top degrees for aspiring digital nomads. “As long as the job can be done remotely and pays well, there are usually no restrictions and specifications regarding the industry,” Kelmendi claimed.

“However, the most common jobs are in tech, such as software engineering or web developing, but also graphic design, content creation, and other similar professions,” she concluded.

Readers wishing to know more about all the ins and outs of digital nomad visas, countries issuing these visas, and more, head over to VisaGuide.World's official guide.

Information about this guide:

This comprehensive guide has been written, revised, and edited by Erudera education experts with the aim of bringing the most helpful information to aspiring digital nomads. Our exclusive interview with VisaGuide.World expert gives this guide the missing element needed for a well-rounded and complete resource. This collaboration ensures that readers receive a blend of educational insights and crucial visa information, making the journey to becoming a digital nomad clearer and more attainable.