Ask HN: How can a software developer make a positive impact locally?

7 points | by desertraven 10 days ago


  • jwally 9 days ago
    I built a script to get all of my kids pictures off of their daycare website. I shared it, and it spread. I’ve received the nicest emails from people thanking me - including a guy who lost his job and his wife had cancer and couldn’t afford the daycare anymore, but my script saved his kids pictures. First time I felt I can make a difference instead of just make-work:

    • gcheong 8 days ago
      Join a local mutual aid group, or start one (for example: , and just start helping out however you can. If a problem comes up that can use a technical solution and you can solve it, do so. In the meantime, just help and get to know the people in your community.
      • yann2 10 days ago
        The key is finding the "right" people and proving to them you can be useful. That opens doors to all kinds of opportunities.

        I had subscribed to a local newpaper and an article showed up where a govt official was complaining about how most of the historic local budget data was still in paper or pdfs. I found the pdfs and converted them to csv and excel files. Found the contact info of the guy complaining and sent him the data. He was so happy about that, he put me on a mailing list where there were a bunch of serious people talking about local issues. That was the big door opener for me.

        • Share your knowledge and experiences with those around you - I personally believe that STEM fields need to be better about a tenet found in medicine "...see one (procedure), do one, teach one..."

          Make a local club, teach basics to those who don't understand computing, teach at your local college, develop software that understands we need more user friendly software in the scope of security and privacy.

          Bless you.

          • I'm not sure how local you mean.

            In my neighborhood there's a neighbours commitee that works on making everything better, there's a local library and a few public squares.

            They collect monthly fees from members and vote on the council every three years.

            They didn't have a system to keep track of this and sometimes had issues really knowing all their members.

            I made them a real simple web app and it helped them a lot, I was already a member and they asked in the members Facebook group if there was a programmer.