In 2017 I spent some time working with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA). While I developed a number of software tools in that role, what made me truly effective was the fact that I could develop everything open source. The amount of advice, pull requests, and feedback that I enthusiastically received from public experts was tremendous, and I’m sure that this was helped in no small part by the fact that I was working for a high-profile humanitarian organisation.
Ever since then, I’ve been thinking. What if I could do humanitarian open source outreach as a job?
There’s tremendous appeal to me for a paid outreach position; not only am I able to deliver more value than I could on my own, but there’s also opportunities for me to learn, to teach, to further the careers of others, and to build communities. While I’ve been privately offered positions as a developer evangelist at a number of companies, working in the humanitarian space is much more in line with my values.
I’ve a lot that would qualify me for this role. I’ve been writing and speaking about open source for decades. I’ve launched and managed numerous successful open source projects in the past, the largest of which—the Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network—has hundreds of contributors and hundreds of thousands of users. I thoroughly enjoy knowledge exchange of all sorts. And finally I’m also a prominent public speaker, especially able to draw a large audience when it comes to technical and social matters. Alongside many technical talks, I’ve also given presentations on open source and humanitarian efforts, mental health, and whether technology is making the world a better place.
Of course such a role would not be without its challenges. Structuring a project to maximise contributions and community growth often involves using different tools and methodologies than would be used for an internal project. My schedule tends to be choppy, as I travel a lot for conferences, but this also means I’m able to do more outreach as I go. I’m based in Australia, which can present its own time coordination challenges.
If you think that you’ve got something that’s up my alley, then drop me an email at email@example.com, or catch me at OSCON this year, I’d love to hear from you! My resume is available upon request.
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