Occupy Wall Street: Tech Experience Without Pay

Occupy Wall Street can offer you a bunch of tech experience, fast. As long as you’ll volunteer.

This is a team (in the true sense of the word) that’s building new platforms from the ground up. There is no pay, you’ll work 16-hour days and be given some pretty great responsibility from day one, but you’ll come away with a wealth of knowledge. You can work from home if you like.

“We are quite busy,” Jake DeGroot, a tech op at OWS told me. “We have lots of projects we’re juggling all at once and because the movement is changing all the time and we’re just trying to keep up the best we can.”

The techs at the so-called New York General Assembly, the original decision-making body of Occupy Wall Street, are busy building new platforms on Linux because what they need doesn’t yet exist. The effort is ambitious:

  • OccupyWallStreet.net is the official outward-facing website for the Occupy Wall Street protest at Liberty Plaza in NYC. It is under development.
  • NYCGA.net is the official website of the New York City General Assembly. While the OccupyWallStreet.net site is a megaphone, this site is more of an internal tool.
  • 855-203-7763 NYCGA.NET Voice Services provides real-time voice access to nycga.net events, schedules and announcements.
  • Occupy.net CRM helps #occupy organizers manage relationships with people interested in the Occupy movement.
  • Occupy.net Maps is also known as “#occupymap” and it is based on the open-source Ushahidi platform. Individuals can submit stories via Web form, email, tweet (#occupymap), and, soon, SMS, so their location-specific incidents/occupations/emergencies appear on the map in real time.
  • Federated General Assembly (FGA) is a Drupal-based next-generation NYCGA site, capable of being rolled out and customized by other Occupations. Each instance will allow pushing and pulling of content to other Occupation sites. This project is in the early stages of development.
  • nycga.net – A social-networking site for collaboration of Occupy Wall Street.

There are more, but you get the idea.

“We are always looking for all kinds of people,” says DeGroot. “PHP developers, support folks, moderators, hardware people, app developers, everything.” If you join, you get a vote to decide what projects should look like, but don’t look for a title because there are no titles in the tech ops group.  If you’re interested, DeGroot says to fill out the form at http://volunteer.nycga.net/join/.

3 Responses to “Occupy Wall Street: Tech Experience Without Pay”

  1. I don’t know about this. OWS is a very, VERY politically-charged issue. I put it right up there with abortion insofar as most people aren’t neutral regarding it; they are either rabidly for OWS or rabidly against it.

    With that in mind, putting any sort of work with them on your resume–even if all you did was write code–could result in being blacklisted by employers who, to put it mildly, do not like OWS. This is especially the case if you intend to apply for jobs with large corporations; not only do those places tend to be very conservative, they are the targets of OWS.

    Politics and job-hunting rarely mix; it is almost always best to leave politics off your resume completely. If you would never think of putting work done for a pro-life or pro-choice charity on your resume, you shouldn’t put OWS on there, either.

  2. @Trhthaar,

    Over and over when I interview hiring managers they tell me the problem they have when finding qualified applicants. More than one – especially those of smaller firms – told me they are looking for people with passion, that is people who build something because they want to build and not just for the check. I agree with you that OWS is highly charged, but when you can show an employer something you’ve built not just for money but to fill a need – that would go far in an interview process. Talking with the techs at OWS, I can tell you that you won’t get far without passion there either.

    Thanks for posting.