Volunteering at Code the Dream
We always need professional software developer volunteers with experience in our tech stack: Ruby on Rails and React.js.
BIGGEST VOLUNTEER NEED- October 2020: We are currently looking for experienced volunteers to serve as 3-month project leads for projects built in React.js and Ruby on Rails.
Scroll down for descriptions of each position.
- One-time commitment
- “Huddle” Workshop leader (1 hour)
- Special Events volunteer (2-5 hours)
- 1-3 hours / week for 6 months
- Mentor Group leader in a 6-month long class
- CTD Labs Volunteer Mentors (ongoing)
- 4-6 hours per week for 3-6 months
- Short-term project leads
- Class instructor
Volunteer Opportunities – One-Time Commitment
Workshop leaders during weekly Huddle
We are always seeking individuals who can provide 1-hour workshops during our weekly “Huddle” on issues in their area of expertise that would be beneficial to our student developers. Workshops can be one-time or can be part of a series.
The weekly huddle is a chance for the students to hear from professionals in the tech industry. Huddle is an hour-long event on Thursday afternoons from 2-3 pm at the Frontier in RTP. Usually, Huddles include a hands-on component. For 2020, we are experimenting with Huddles that span several weeks. So, instead of one session, we would take a month-long deep dive into a given topic.
Some of the past topics have included:
- Technical skills (SQL, jQuery, Data structures, Testing, and more)
- Career readiness (Resume writing; Improving your LinkedIn profile; Interview practice, etc.)
- Learning about tech fundamentals (History of coding, Computer science fundamentals, Web security, etc.)
- Tech career exposure (Guest speakers from a variety of tech careers, especially individuals from a minority background; people in tech jobs in non-tech companies)
- Team Building activities
Examples: Lisa provided an excellent one-time workshop on web security that gave our students insight on the latest industry trends and what should be on their radar as developers. Reid organized a four-workshop series on resume-building that involved best practices, real-time resume-editing, and how to use LinkedIn effectively to highlight aspects of your resume.
Special Event Volunteer Opportunities for Groups
We occasionally offer opportunities for groups of volunteers who want to participate in a one-time event. These events can take many different forms; we look for the ways in which the skills of a particular group can match our needs.
Some of the past special events have included:
- Mock interview practice sessions, especially for technical interviews for software engineer positions
- Project presentations from our student developers to give them practice in public speaking
- Occasional office maintenance projects depending on our current needs, e.g. building a standing desk for our student developers
Example: Credit Suisse and IBM sent teams of volunteers for an evening session with our student developers. Their senior software engineers conducted practice technical interviews with students preparing for the job market, helping our students improve their interviewing skills.
Volunteer Opportunities – 1-3 Hours Per Week
Class Group Mentors
Mentors are typically responsible for:
- Hosting an hour-long mentor group meeting through Slack or Zoom twice per week in which the group goes over the week’s assignment and the mentor responds to any questions or blockers the students might have
- Creating activity in the mentor group slack channel, encouraging students to work with each other to solve problems
- Reaching out individually to students who are falling behind or need specific help
Each Rails and React.js class lasts six months and is broken up into three periods. Mentors must be proficient in the programming language to be a volunteer. Mentors are not responsible for creating class content, keeping up with student progress, or grading assignments. We provide the support mentors need to be successful with their groups.
Examples: Ashley and Armmand were both mentors for our fall Ruby on Rails class. In this class, they met online with their small groups once per week. Ashley enjoyed coming up with fun code exercises to share with her small group, including a complete Hangman game.
CTD Labs Volunteer Mentors
CTD Labs Volunteer Mentors come to our Frontier RTP office for a few hours each week to work closely with our student developers. These volunteers help our interns work on projects, fix issues in their code, and answer any questions they might have. Our apprentices/ interns work in Ruby on Rails and React.js.
These mentors have the opportunity to become a part of Code the Dream’s community as they build relationships with the student developers, participate in scrum, and take part in fun events like office video game days and karaoke nights.
Examples: When Yash moved back to North Carolina after working as a professional software developer in New York, he decided to start volunteering at Code the Dream. He comes in every Friday afternoon and is a great resource for our students who may encounter blockers in their code or just want to learn something new. Similarly, Chris is a professional web designer who has been a long term volunteer with Code the Dream. Chris recently offered to lead a weekly workshop on how to create customized WordPress websites for our students.
Volunteer Opportunities – 4-8 Hours Per Week for 3-6 Months
Class instructors are typically responsible for:
- Working with CTD staff to design and distribute content for our classes, including presentations, videos, course readings, and example programs
- Creating assignments to gauge student comprehension of a topic
- Working with staff to ensure that classes are successful
Example: John, retired from IBM after 30 years as a software developer, has been a Code the Dream mentor volunteer for several years. He has taken on a lot more leadership as a lead instructor of our recent Ruby on Rails class. He works with CTD staff to update the class curriculum, create videos and slides for weekly lessons, and lead online discussions.
Short-Term Project Leads
Short-term project leads work with our student developers to manage specific projects from beginning to end. Projects typically run three to six months. Again, our tech stack is React.js and Ruby on Rails.
Shorter-term project leads are typically responsible for:
- Coordinating and leading weekly developer and client meetings
- Managing a project Trello board
- Maintaining communication between the developers working on a project
- Following up with students to ensure they are comfortable with their various pieces
- Assisting student developers on blockers or other questions related to a project
Example: Michael, a career software developer, was passionate about his volunteer work with a farmworker organization in eastern North Carolina, and partnered with Code the Dream to build a mobile app for the farmworker organization. Michael served as the project lead, and led weekly meetings and helped to shepherd development work for 4 months until we created a final product.