Some people think that volunteering requires a lot of effort. You apply to a program; they accept you; you train for a few hours, and then you commit to volunteering a couple of hours every week.
In my opinion, though, volunteering in a city like NYC — with its large and ever-growing tech community – doesn’t need to be so difficult. If you identify as a developer, or if you’re even just learning to code, you don’t need to look too far to engage.
Below is a list of my favorite spaces to “volunteer” with (in no order of preference) in NYC.
- Hacker Hours, Code Crew, NYC Python Meetup
- Women Who Code, Ladies Who Code, PyLadies
- Init Developer
- Tech for Good NYC
- Monthly Music Hackathon
- NYC BigApps
- WordPress NYC
In general, my philosophy is that volunteering is about being present. You volunteer by going to a meetup and asking thoughtful questions. You volunteer by helping a stranger solve a technical problem that they were struggling with. You volunteer by exchanging advice and resource tips with the team you work with at a hackathon. You volunteer by talking to newbies about your own learning path as a developer.
Often, what you’ll come to find is that in the act of “volunteering,” you learn a lot too. New friends give you professional or technical advice. New mentors help you when it’s your turn to get stuck on a new framework you’ve been learning for your personal project. You serendipitously discover a lot of free stickers you can put on your laptop.
If you’d like to add to my list by offering a recommendation, please leave a comment below!