So, you didn’t know that volunteering as a coder was a thing? Well, it is! But, how can you volunteer as a programmer? And why should you?
Here are 5 awesome opportunities for you to explore, what they involve, and the benefits you can enjoy when choosing to put your developer skills to work as a volunteer:
What: Are you really good at helping your friends understand their homework? If you also love watching others have light-bulb moments, why not put in your volunteer hours as a coding mentor with Big Idea Inc.? Working one-on-one or in small groups, you’ll enjoy the challenge of helping your mentees find bugs in their programs. Plus, you’ll guide your students to learn harder and harder programming concepts.
Become College and Career Ready: If you teach coding, you’ll cement your own knowledge in web, app, and software development and become a strong candidate for a future tech internship. You might even learn new things about coding yourself as you help students overcome challenges and pinpoint errors.
What: This is a very flexible opportunity for high school and college students to get their volunteer hours in. With this project, you get to spread the love of coding to the next generation. Hour of Code offers the activities, all you have to do is guide students. Whether you help during the annual event or support a local elementary school teacher, your passion for coding will light the spark of inspiration for the kids you mentor. Hour of Code needs volunteers across the country.
Leadership Tip: Is there a technology leader in you just waiting for the right moment? You can create that moment by organizing your own Hour of Code event in your community. Why not reconnect with a former elementary school teacher? You can go back as a volunteer to your old classroom to teach basic programming skills! Or, talk with staff at the local library and host the event there. Hour of Code makes teaching coding easy, fun, and highly effective.
What: Could you imagine yourself teaching young students the basics of coding? Let’s face it, if you can teach high-energy kids how to sit still, focus, and create a game or app, you can do anything! There will be lots of coding jobs in the future, but kids don’t always get to learn these skills in school. You can make a difference by mentoring STEM students at Code for Fun and similar nonprofits. VolunteerCrowd has lots of STEM volunteer opportunities for teens. Code for Fun needs STEM volunteers to help with teaching game design, prototyping, debugging, database structure,or how to turn Legos into robots – and so much more.
Growth Opportunities: If you help kids learn how to code, they will be better prepared for jobs when they grow up, and so will you! When you go to college or apply for a job, you will have real-life experience using coding to feature on your applications. This will make you an attractive prospective student for computer science programs or candidate for a computer science job.
What: In the US, women only earn 18% of computer science degrees. To even out the playing field, we need to build girls’ interest in computer science, programming, and coding. You can be part of this change by volunteering with the Girl Code program! If you’re a girl, you can also be a mentor and inspire younger girls to learn developer skills.
Creating Your Future Network: Not only will you teach coding to girls but you’ll also connect to other coders. You’ll meet other instructors and members of the organization who are into coding. The more coders you know, the more you’ll learn about opportunities in computer science such as jobs, events, educational programs, training, and more!
What: How would you like to give a presentation that inspires others to learn software development? Show off your skills with an engaging, motivational presentation that highlights how fun coding can be! This is the perfect volunteer work to try if you aren’t sure you’re ready to teach web and app development on a regular basis.
Leadership Standout Moment: Show initiative. Make a killer PowerPoint for your presentation and include demonstrations and samples of your programming skills. Do your best work and knock it out of the park! Then, save this work as part of your coding portfolio which you can use when applying to jobs or colleges.
If you know how to code, it can be your gift to the world. Using your developer skills to volunteer will not only help younger coders build their knowledge, but it will also help you on your academic and career path. So, grab a friend, choose a volunteer opportunity, and try it out! As a volunteer programmer, you have so much to give and so many benefits to gain in return.