By Patrick Young
People with disabilities have more options than ever before when it comes to establishing a career. And we have technology to thank for that. Now, those who cannot easily maneuver through a world built for those without disabilities can work from home using the internet and assistive technologies, start their own business, or even go to school to pursue their passions. Here are some ways that the digital revolution has changed the world as we know it for the better.
Remote Working Opportunities
Remote work is not a new concept. More than 30 years ago, some enterprising companies began allowing customer service agents to work from home via telecommuting. While these jobs, as the term suggests, largely utilized the telephone network, today’s remote work opportunities are done almost exclusively online. And, if you do not want to use your bedroom or dining room as an office, for as little as $125 per month you can utilize an open co-working space at Hatch, where you will also have access to high-speed wireless internet, mail service, a designated desk, and plenty of coffee and snacks.
There are many companies that hire online workers, including Amazon, Apple, Hilton, and Xerox. These are often well above minimum wage positions and many include full benefits and a 401(k). Before you accept any position, confirm that you can work in a co-working area if necessary.
Looking to enhance your career or create new opportunities for yourself? Great, there are very few limitations as to what you can learn from the comfort of home. A few examples of online degree programs you might take include accounting to become a CPA, where you will learn all about management, finance, marketing, and economics, graphic design — which also goes along with marketing — and software development.
Many of the top 100 jobs in the US don’t require access to an office. Statistical scientist, IT manager, research analyst, web developer, and even counselor and financial manager are all examples of high-paying careers that you can become certified in or receive a degree and via an online school.
Thanks to the information superhighway, it’s entirely possible to create a professional business without the expense, overhead, or inconvenience of a brick-and-mortar location. BusinessTown notes that there are dozens of home-based businesses, and many of these can be launched within a day. Photography, social media specialist, gift basket design, and pet sitting are just a few examples of businesses that you can turn into a thriving enterprise at home.
Tools Of The Trade
Since you will be working primarily online, it pays to understand the types of assistive technology that can help you be more efficient. According to UC Berkeley, this includes things like screen readers, magnification software, speech input, and, for those of us with severe manual dexterity limitations, motion tracking and head pointers.
Other options may be available to you depending on your disability and budget. There are many assistive technology consultants available, and a quick Google search should help you find one in your area.
You have never let your disability get you down in life, and there is no reason that your limitations should hold you back in business either. From getting an education to starting your own business, there are plenty of ways to carve out your own success. And, remember, there are many technologies, both virtual and physical, that can help you along the way.
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