From Boring Tech to Civic Tech: How I’m Changing the Way Government Works

Before Code for America I was working on insurance software. I met an insurance adjuster in a bar once and was definitely over excited to talk to him, but it was the first time I ever got ask someone what they thought of the software I worked on. I think I must have freaked him out a little bit, but I really wanted to hear what it was like from the user perspective.

I first heard about Code for America in 2014. A former fellow was giving a lightning talk and I remember thinking, that sounds like a place I would want to work. It sounded full of extremely cool people who care deeply about the work they do. As a current fellow with the city of New Orleans, I can tell you this is definitely true.

My experience so far has been full of new (and interesting) challenges. Some I anticipated, like knowing that whatever I built would be in a different technical stack and that I would be working with a small team on a broad topic, economic development. Others, like forming a team from the beginning, building products completely from scratch, and using external products to rapidly prototype a process have supplied me with a much more robust and varied skill set. (It’s not all about programming!) Whether it’s managing stakeholder expectations, setting new deliverables with my teammates, or building a new framework for our product, everyday is a new challenge.

Code For America

Money goes down, performance data goes up

In New Orleans, we’re trying to figure out how to help job seekers navigate their workforce system. It’s a largely opaque process with a lot of moving parts — people don’t know what to expect when they walk in the door. If we can help folks understand the process and prepare before that point, we think more people will participate in the workforce in New Orleans. Now, not only is thinking about user experience an integral part of my development process, but I have the opportunity to work with users every time I go back to the city.

I’m excited to share that applications for the next round of fellows are now open! You should be a fellow if:

* You’ve ever been a closet government nerd and wanted to get under the hood
 * You want to learn from a multidisciplinary group with diverse backgrounds and experiences
 * You want to change the way you impact the world of technology

Learn more about the program on the CfA website and apply today!

Originally published at