5 Ideas for Using Your Tech Skills for Good

There’s always more to be done

May 9, 2017
Stop Slacking, Start Hacking. (Shutterstock)

Stop Slacking, Start Hacking. (Shutterstock)

Hacktivism, for all those who've never heard the term, is “the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda. With roots in hacker culture and hacker ethics, its ends are often related to the free speech, human rights, or freedom of information movements.”

The majority of us know how to use computers these days, and we all can agree that there are more than enough problems to be solved in this world. All we have to do is commit to something: commit a weekend to building something that can have a positive impact on social, commit our time volunteering to support someone else building something we admire, commit to show up to a rally or march, or make a commitment to that open-source project we've had our eye on for some time now.

Here are some ideas to get you started in the world of Hacktivism:

1. GET INSPIRED

Find tech projects that cover issues that matter to you. Passionate about the environment? Check out Data Refuge, which is building a refuge for federal data to support climate and environmental research and advocacy. Passionate about politics and civic engagement? Check out Tech Stands Up, a grassroots movement founded by techies in the Bay Area to voice concerns about the effects of government policy on the tech community and its users.

Looking for a specific issue or nonprofit to support? Take a look at the Developers Foundation, an organization that builds products to scale charities while giving students real work experience. “We started a year exactly as of the end of this month actually, and we’ve grown from 3 people to over 30 members,” Fadi Azmy, the company's CEO mentioned. “This started when I was donating clothes and found homeless shelter websites to be horribly ancient while I was a student looking for experience.”

2. GO ABROAD

Looking to take your tech skills abroad? I’d highly recommend the mentorship program at Gaza Sky Geeks, it will change your life! They are looking for mentors to bridge that gap and expose Gazans to global best practices in software development and entrepreneurship. Developers, startup geeks, designers, angel investors and more are welcome to apply here.

3. CREATE OR SUPPORT AN OPEN SOURCE PROJECT FOR SOCIAL GOOD

If you’re a student, check out Google’s Summer of Code, which features a range of organizations with open source projects that need help. Even if you’re not a student, there are some great examples of organizations and projects in need of help such as Code For America’s Civic Tech Issues. You can also poke around GitHub – search for “social impact”, “social good”, “tech for good,” and more to find some pretty cool projects to work on.

4. VOLUNTEER TO GIVE BACK

Not a coder? Looking to get off the computer and maybe get outside? There are an endless amount of volunteer opportunities, particularly in the Bay Area. Startups Give Back hosts fun meetups for startup-minded folks at least 1x a month. The Taproot Foundation helps business professionals volunteer their time to deliver marketing, strategy, HR, and IT solutions for nonprofits.

5. NOMINATE A NONPROFIT TO BENEFIT FROM A HACKATHON (OPPORTUNITIES IN 50 CITIES WORLDWIDE!)

AngelHack’s 10th Global Hackathon Series will reach 50 cities worldwide this year, and we’re inviting local nonprofits to apply to offer a challenge in their hometown for an initiative called Commit to Your Cause. You can nominate a nonprofit this form.

Causeartist is an online magazine that spotlights social entrepreneurs, organizations, and brands that make a positive impact.

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