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7 Organizations That Use Coding to Make a Difference

Coding nonprofits and NGOs around the world are working to train people who want to learn coding. Some organizations also volunteer their own coding skills to provide software and technology to groups that can benefit from it but don’t have the tech skills themselves. In this post we've spotlighted seven organizations using coding to make a difference.
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Coding skills are in demand and the job availability for people with these skills are continuing to grow. As more industries rely on automation and software, coding pros are tasked with building, maintaining, and supporting them. However, there is currently a gap in the number of skilled coding professionals available for this work and the number of roles needed. 

To help bridge the gap, coding nonprofits and NGOs around the world are working to train workers who want to learn coding. Some organizations also volunteer their own coding skills to provide software and technology to groups that can benefit from it but don’t have the tech skills themselves.

Volunteering or working with a coding nonprofit is a great way for professionals to build up their resumes and gain new experiences. A part-time volunteer position is also a good choice for someone who doesn’t feel thoroughly fulfilled in their primary job and wants to make a positive impact elsewhere. Organizations vary in the number and type of volunteers they are looking for. Browse the list to find one that most interests you!

For people who don’t yet have coding skills and want to learn, or for those who want to level-up the technology at their organization, these groups may be able to help! Each group aims to work with a slightly different audience, whether it be government organizations, students, the elderly, or people from underserved communities. If you are looking for support in your tech journey, browse the list to find a group that can best help with your specific needs!

 

1. Code for America

Code for America is a nonprofit organization that launched in 2009 in response to the widening technology gap between private companies and government organizations. The org believes that government programs can better serve people and communities with improved digital technologies. To that end, Code for America has helped state governments across the country roll out user-focused apps, online forms, and processes to improve social services.

Code for America has worked to improve the efficiency and reach of programs like SNAP benefits, covid relief programs, student technology support, and emergency response. Working with government officials, the group identifies systems that are not working as well as they could be and builds technologies to improve them.

Interested in joining the CFA team? Check out their most current job openings here! You can also work as a volunteer through CFA’s Brigade Network.

 

2. Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code wants to close the gender gap in coding. They report that the share of female coders has declined over the past two decades, from 37% in 1995 to only 22% today. To reverse this trend, they’re engaging young women, girls, and non-binary youths in coding projects and communities. 

The organization is set up as a network of clubs and summer programs based out of schools and community centers all across North America, the U.K. and India. They tailor different programs to 3rd-5th graders, 6th-12th graders, and college students. Thanks to donations, volunteers, and partnerships all programs are free! 

Anyone can apply to start a Girls Who Code club, they just need to identify someone to be a Decisionmaker (an adult working in an official capacity in connection to the club’s meeting place, like a librarian or school administrator) and someone to be a Facilitator (an adult who will lead students through the Girls Who Code curriculum). Neither of them needs to have coding experience! Many clubs have additional volunteer roles for assistant coding teachers. 

Want to get involved? Find a club near you to connect! You can also apply to start a new club or connect as a corporate partner.

Or, if you’re a student or parent, browse free educational programs! There are options for after-school groups, at-home learning, and summer camps.

 

3. Coding it Forward

Coding it Forward is a U.S.-based nonprofit that matches technically skilled students with government internships where they’ll be able to leverage their skills for civic innovation at the city and state level. The nonprofit was founded in 2017 by students in STEM who wanted to find positive applications for their technical skills outside of the typical Silicon Valley environment. By partnering with state and local agencies they provide engaging opportunities for students like themselves to make a difference in the world. Students are accepted into cohorts that act as a support system and move through the program together.

On the other side of the equation, government agencies are able to bring in some of the brightest young leaders in tech for fresh perspective and new ideas on community innovation.

Current students (except first-years) and recent graduates are invited to apply for the program online. Students from college programs or bootcamp programs are equally welcome.

Government agencies looking to hire through Coding it Forward can contact the org to get started.

 

4. CodeYourFuture

CodeYourFuture is a nonprofit organization based in the UK. They aim to correct the skills shortage in tech by providing training and career resources for anyone “experiencing problems getting the education needed to find meaningful work.” Specifically, they aim to assist single parents, people from low income households, women and ethnic minorities, refugees and asylum seekers, people experiencing homelessness, and those with a mental health or learning disability diagnosis. 

The program offers courses at various levels, from an intro to digital technology class, that can be completed remotely using just a mobile phone, to an in-depth full stack development course. Once enrolled, students will not only learn valuable skills but they can take advantage of free child care, covered transportation costs, laptop loans, assistance paying for internet connection and guidance through the job search process.

If you live near one of CYF’s campuses and think you can benefit from the program, find the right course for your level on the website. Or, if you want to lend your coding skills as a volunteer you can register online.

 

5. Code.org

Code.org wants every kid to have the opportunity to learn computer science in school. They do this by training computer science teachers through professional development programs, building a K-12 computer science framework for schools to use, working on state and local policies that will bring computer science education to more students, and online projects that students can complete from home.

The projects are tailored to be age-specific and are all fun! They have plenty of opportunities for people with a passion for computer science who want to be involved. Check out their site if you are interested in teaching, being a guest speaker, or even translating content into new languages.

 

6. CoderDojo

Based out of Ireland, CoderDojo is a network of free coding clubs for kids set up all over the world. Kids aged 7 to 17 are welcome at any CoderDojo location where volunteers teach them to code, build apps, and more!

Parents and students can find their closest location on CoderDojo’s website. Interested volunteers can also find a club to work with or find out how to start a club in their own community. 

 

7. LaunchCode

LaunchCode is a nonprofit that works to provide free job training and high-demand tech skills to people looking for work. They also help students start job apprenticeships and connect with employers. During the covid-19 pandemic, LaunchCode directed major efforts to helping workers who were suddenly let go and those who could no longer work at in-person jobs due to health risks. By teaching software development and IT skills, they helped hundreds make career switches during the pandemic.

If you are looking for support in developing a career in tech, check out LaunchCode’s variety of programs.

Whether you’re an advanced coder looking for a way to share your skills, an interested newbie seeking support in the tech industry, or the parent of a child who could benefit from learning new skills, there are a host of nonprofits doing excellent work. When you’re ready to get involved, the best course of action is to contact your org of choice via their website. Many have sign-up pages or preliminary applications you can get started on today!

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