ProgCode Wants YOU

Joe Breslin
Jan 31, 2017 · 5 min read
The greatest American President

Perhaps you want to get big money out of politics. Or there’s an important social issue or activist group you’re passionate to support. Or you want to be a voice for the voiceless, whose representatives spend too much time representing themselves and too little time representing you (NEW: Now you can call them m*therfuckers directly and tell them they need to get their shit together). Whatever your reason for getting involved, ProgCode is bound to be the community for you.

While you’re eager to help put your skills to good use, you might find it a bit confusing on how to actually get started. There’s certainly a ton going on, with plenty of exciting projects and awesome partners calling our little Slack community home. Plus, if you’re not a developer, with a name like “Progressive Coders Network” you may be asking yourself if this is the right place for you (spoiler: YES!).

Whatever your reasoning, worry no longer, because we’ve decided to put together this handy little guide (with an even handier checklist linked below) that will walk you through the complete process for getting started with ProgCode. And once you’ve gotten through that part we’ll also provide some information on next steps toward community, volunteer, partner, and network onboarding.

Signing up

First things first, it’s time to sign up for the ProgCode Slack. For us, nothing is more important than sustaining a positive, collaborative culture that supports transparency and democratically driven decision making. This is why we carefully review all applicants to ensure people are well aligned to the community guidelines (e.g., not discriminating, inclusive) and have complementary values (e.g., collaborative, transparent). We want to ensure the community remains as positive and productive as possible.

Not long after submitting your application you’ll receive an email from the amazing* ProgCode founder, Rapi Castillo, with some additional information and next steps. We welcome the latest community members with Slack invitations for the latest cohort every Thursday (if you don’t already have Slack installed, we recommend installing the mobile app).

*Note: As with Rapi’s typical humility, he was (rightfully) concerned about my massive ego. Of course, here I was simply poking fun of Rapi’s frequent use of the word “amazing” to describe all things ProgCode.


Next, it’s time to make your debut into ProgCode high society (often literally). If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you’re probably a pretty awesome person with a ton of great ideas and super cool skills. Also, ridiculously attractive. And now you get to meet perhaps the most impressive group of other incredibly friendly, supportive, intelligent, and accomplished individuals that you’ve ever met. A warm greeting (and pizza!) awaits you in the #introduction channel as well as a direct message from somebody from the ProgCode volunteer staff seeing how they can help.


Little did you know, the ProgCode volunteer staffer just kicked off the next phase, where shit really starts to go down. I speak, of course, about the onboarding process, also known as the fast track to contributing toward the ProgCode community, our partner applications and network organizations, and even the ProgCode core team.

Within their introduction, the volunteer staff member will invite you to our regular onboarding calls, where a number of ProgCode staff and community members provide their perspective on ProgCode culture, values, and how they’ve contributed to the network. Then we’ll have a free formed conversation about why you’re here, your background and any goals, ideas or feedback you may have.

Following the onboarding call we’ll add you to a separate channel with all the other people who have been on an onboarding call with us the most recent month; the collective group henceforth known as your cohort. Your cohort will learn together. You’ll laugh together. You’ll cry together. In general, you’ll have some pretty good times. You’ll also be offered a small group chat where you’ll get to meet your…

Onboarding buddy!

Think of your onboarding buddy as your personal sherpa through the sometimes rocky mountains that are ProgCode. But believe us, the view at the top is worth it, and you’re in luck, because your onboarding buddy knows the back route, complete with resort and ski lift. With the 1:1 (or small group) onboarding buddy call the goal is simply to learn a bit more about one another’s personal background, what motivates them, and what brings them to ProgCode.

Immediately following the call the onboarding buddy will introduce you to any relevant channels or people you discussed. They’ll also be available to work with you continuously and help support you in whatever way works best for you, providing a roadmap to contribution.


The final step for getting started with ProgCode is, well, getting started with ProgCode. And we of course do this by actually contributing to the network. The first thing I want to make very clear is that people can contribute in all sorts of ways, and there are absolutely no requirements when joining ProgCode whatsoever (we aim to be a network of support, not suffocation). Whether you want to contribute for five minutes or five hours a day (or, if you’re Rapi, fifteen. He has a day job to get to, after all), as long as you are aligned with our core values, ProgCode is the place for you. And even if you just want to hang out and lurk around, that’s still perfectly fine, as it presents an opportunity to learn and grow.

For those who are interested in getting a bit more hands on, the most direct route is generally to jump into channels, check out the pinned items, and hop into the conversation. We look at Slack a the place for chaos, from which order emerges by way of GitHub issues (Projects for cool technology and Functions for ProgCode operations. Your onboarding buddy will also generally have a pretty good idea for what’s going on, and even if they don’t, someone nearby will most likely be happy to help support.

Next Steps

Well, congratulations, if you made it this far, nicely done. You’re officially onboarded, hooray! Of course, there’s much more to this, but this is a good start for today. In future pieces we’ll take the next steps and look at the four specific ProgCode Areas: Community, Partner Applications, Network Organizations, and Volunteer Staff, detailing each one with how to get involved.

If you want to learn even more about the network, we encourage you to check out the Conduits of Progressive Technological Change or dive into the ProgCode Toolkit, which includes all of our most handy resources. And if you haven’t already, make sure to say hello in #introduction and let us know what you’re passionate about. We’ll be excited to figure out how we can help support.

Joe Breslin

Written by

The Progressive Coder

We encourage everyone to share innovative ideas which inspire a means to achieve racial, social, environmental and economic justice. Join our radically inclusive network of skilled tech and non-tech volunteers engaged in non-partisan tech activism for progressive change.

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