Donations, social good and tech: a modern placement for developers
Social good has many forms and thankfully there are several resources in the tech arena to support people and projects that most of us have not thought to do. Aiming to put the voluntary effort of developers in perspective, we realise there are important questions that someone has been answering for some time now:
How will we integrate technology into activities for social benefit, whether building an interactive map for an international humanitarian movement, or communication platform for a charity organisation?
And how can knowledge and tech skills be developed among people who don’t readily have access to it, like refugees stuck in a country due to heavy disputes in their homeland?
We approached our two non-profit media partners whose support we had during our previous Developer Economics survey (Q2 2018) to answer a few questions about their work and give us a peek at not-for-profit activities in tech, from their perspective.
donate:code is a platform connecting developers who want to apply their skills for a cause with organisations in need of building a site, platform or app for their non-profit, who can’t afford to.
Social Hackers Academy (SHA) is an organisation aiming to educate, find work and help integrate refugees and socially vulnerable groups – the team provides future-proof education including hard and soft skills making up tomorrow’s Software Engineers.
Focus on the aspects of donating code: what role would you say you play in the software ecosystem?
James: We all know that the more you practice your craft, the better you get at it. However, it can be difficult to go beyond the standard workday and continue the same work into your spare time. So working on code projects that can be donated to a charity can be a useful way to get more time practicing what you work on, or trying something completely different from a framework/library/language point of view.
Aggelina: The role that Social Hackers Academy plays in the ecosystem lies mainly in the empowerment of disenfranchised groups with the aim of finding them secure and sustainable jobs. We encourage all of our students to be “open source first” with all of their coursework available on Github from the very first lesson. We believe that by encouraging a wider diversity of people to be developers we can empower not only the people themselves but also the communities that surround them and that by promoting the open first principle we can build a more open and progressive world.
What are the goals of your coding charities and how do you measure success?
James: The goal of donate:code has always been to give people with developer skills the opportunity to contribute to charitable causes using their knowledge, rather than money. In a lot of cases, 8 hours of your time as a developer has a much higher value to the charity, and whatever you do create could generate recurring revenue or value. I measure the success of donate:code through charities that are happy to get something done, and the happiness of developers who feel like they have an impact in the universe. These are notoriously difficult to measure, but it really is the natural byproduct of donate:code
Aggelina: As Social Hackers Academy, we aim to integrate socially vulnerable groups into the society, through employability. Our main weapon in achieving this, is education, as it offers the tools for someone to develop in personal and professional level, what’s more in a sector of high demand, IT. In parallel, we pursue to eliminate digital illiteracy, thus we offer multiple programs in software programming and technology in order to make technology accessible. We measure success, by how many we have engaged in our programs and how many of them have placed in the job market (either as in-house employees or freelancers)
What is your vision / inspirational discussion?
James: donate:code aims to be a KickStarter for the charity/non-profit sector. We want to connect developers who want to have time and skills to spare, with charities who need technical work done. We want to see a world where skills are regarded as highly as money.
Aggelina: Our vision is to form a global organization that empowers socially vulnerable groups in using technology. Our vision is to make education accessible and offer a different perspective on how to structure a detailed curriculum and teach others how to code.
Care to contribute your skills for a good cause, or assist in teaching coding or sharing your tech skills with vulnerable social groups? Get in touch with our partner organisations to support their activity or donate your skills, old laptop or hardware!
Bonus part: To contribute to the effort of empowering developers worldwide, /Data will also be donating $0.10 for every developer who completes the new Developer Economics survey to the Raspberry Pi foundation. Take the survey here!
She serves as Business Development Coordinator for Social Hackers Academy: a Greek Non-Profit Organization that educates, integrates and finds employment for people from vulnerable groups in software engineering. She recently graduated from Primary Education Department, acquiring a Business Administration Diploma. Aggelina is passionate about education & long-life learning, as they offer the tools to unlock everyone’s potential. She has worked in the HR field for a multinational company and what inspires her the most is the transformational change that education can generate.
James Sugrue (Twitter)
James is founder of donate:code, a non-profit organisation that allows developers to donate their skills to charitable causes. James is also CTO at Over-C, building mobile applications and services for managing compliance, using NFC and Bluetooth sensors for proof of presence. James is an expert in Java and Swift, building everything from desktop applications to high performance servers and mobile applications in Android and iOS.