July 17, 2019

Start in IT: Your First IT Project

Katarzyna Marchocka by

How to gain experience in IT - find volunteer opportunities in Poland, around the world and online

Back in 2017 Geek Girls Carrots invited me to be a speaker at their 6th birthday and talk about gaining experience in IT by finding volunteer opportunities. Here’s a 2019-updated list that I’ve prepared afterwards. Enjoy!

The idea occurred to us about two months ago during a GGC Warsaw meeting. One topic got everyone’s attention – how do we move from learning new skills to developing the first project. Why don’t you check NGO opportunities, I asked. Based on my 10+ years of experience in the third sector, that’s the best way to test one’s skills while being able to impact a cause that matters to us. And bonus, you meet amazing people from diverse backgrounds along the way.

There’s only one question left: where do we start?

In Poland

Ngo.pl is the ultimate source of knowledge on all things NGO in Poland, including job offers and volunteering opportunities. You can either search for a current opening or leave your offer in the designated section.

On a personal note, this is the very place where I found my first volunteer work. I started as a translator for a small organization focused on culture and spent many afternoons helping to plan events with international artists.

Online international opportunities

Volunteermatch.org already has more than 6700 online volunteering opportunities listed, including nearly 800 in technology roles. Awesome! I’ve been doing a lot of online volunteering – it’s the best form of engagement while you still have your day job and can only donate some part of your evenings or weekends. I usually helped with content creation. Apart from feeling good about myself, I could also expand my expertise to the topics and fields that my work in automotive PR did not include.

For those who already have experience

Let’s be honest – you’re the NGO’s dream come true. So why not share your knowledge for a good cause rather than take yet another course to advance your career path?

Onlinevolunteering.org is a platform created by United Nations. Can you think of a cooler experience on your CV? No? Me neither. They’re looking for experienced professionals who’ll be able to help them with writing and editing, art and design, project management, research and technology development.

Catchafire.org is another place where you can donate your professional skills for a good cause. There are many opportunities for developers, designers, and writers. Again as a bonus, you can confirm your language skills as well as gain experience in international projects. Win-win!

For teenagers

Dosomething.org is a platform dedicated to young volunteers. It’s an American website, so your kid can practice her English while still in a safe environment. Recently I found myself advising my friends who are mothers of teenagers – how their kids can challenge themselves to learn what they like? To succeed in their future careers they have to love what they do and it’s a bit hard to know when they’re still in high school. I hope this one helps a little.

Ok, that’s it from me. Now it’s your turn. I hope I’ve managed to inspire you to take a look at volunteering opportunities. And please, do share your experiences with me when we meet during next GGC meetups.

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