Jon’s volunteer story: helping make tech products that serve a social good

Jon has been an outstanding volunteer for CodeYourFuture for some time, helping many grads hone their product delivery skills on their way to starting careers in tech.

Jon has also helped CodeYourFuture’s Tech Product team create several products that serve social good.

Photo of Jon and other folks in the CYF community

Jon (L) has been a key volunteer for CodeYourFuture for several years, helping many folks along the way

Volunteering in London

Jon first encountered CYF while working as a consultant, “We had an ‘office hours’ session with the Impossible team, CYF and HumanKind.” he says, “It was really interesting to hear about the (CYF) programme. I got in touch shortly after and have been volunteering ever since.”

Jon’s decision to join CYF was driven by a desire to give back. “I wanted to share the skills I’d developed in software development and product engineering to help other people,” he explains.

He also saw an opportunity to improve diversity in the industry, emphasising “teams made up of people from a broad range of backgrounds are more fun to work on and create better products.”

Making a long-term impact through tech product development

At CYF, Jon works as part of the Tech Products team.

“We maintain and develop a number of products that are used internally at CYF. Our aim is to both provide the organisation with the tools it needs to deliver the service and give the team members real working experience that will help them in their job hunt,” Jon says.

The Tech Products team at CYF primarily works with graduates of a web development course who are actively seeking employment. The team’s responsibilities include maintaining and developing numerous products used internally within the organisation. Their dual goal is to equip the organisation with essential tools for service delivery while giving team members practical work experience to aid in their job search.

Tech leads like Jon play a crucial role in the team, guiding the design and development of the tools being created.

In a typical week, the team holds a meeting alternating between backlog refinement sessions and a combination of demonstrations and retrospectives.

Beyond these meetings, the tech lead’s role primarily involves responding to queries on Slack, reviewing the work of developers on GitHub, and imparting advice on various aspects of the team’s operations based on their professional experience.

The CYF community supports Jon as he supports others

Jon enjoys the support of the CYF community in his tasks, saying, “We have a growing and very supportive community. I work mostly with our Director of Product, Karen Klein, and the other volunteers in the Tech Products team.”

One of Jon’s standout moments as a CYF volunteer is seeing the direct impact of his work. “It’s always nice when folks I’ve worked with get to make their ‘I got a job’ posts! That’s the overarching goal of the service and really makes me feel like I’m having a tangible impact in people’s lives and the developer community at large.”

Tech career advancement is for volunteers too

Beyond helping others, Jon’s volunteer work has also led to personal growth and career advancements. “It might seem like a minor thing, but I’ve definitely got better at using git!” he says, adding, “Volunteering with CYF gave me practical mentoring experience that helped me land an engineering management role.”

When it comes to volunteering at CYF, Jon’s advice is clear and encouraging: “Give it a go! We have loads of different roles with different levels of time commitment, and whatever your expertise and experience, you’ll get to work with and learn from a whole bunch of other lovely people.”

Jon particularly values the moments when the community comes together – “conferences for the whole community and our recent summit for volunteers and leadership.”

Photo of Jon and other folks in the early days of CYF.

Since the start of his volunteering in the early days of CYF, Jon has been helping folks get the tech and product delivery skills they need to thrive in a modern dev team.

Volunteers make a positive long-term impact

In conclusion, Jon’s experience serves as a beacon for potential volunteers, proving how contributing your time and skills can make a difference and lead to personal growth.

As Jon put it, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”

Jon is certainly making things better at CodeYourFuture.

If you’re interested in helping people to improve their technical and agile product delivery skills or volunteering with CYF in general, you can earn more and apply here:

Volunteering with CodeYourFuture allows you to:

  • share your skills and experience with others.
  • meet new people and make new friends.
  • learn new things yourself.
  • learn more about the world by working with people from different backgrounds.
  • gain valuable experience that can help you in your career.
  • make a real difference in people’s lives and in your local community.
Photo from a CYF community building event

Community-building events allow volunteers and trainees alike to share ideas and find ways to take the organisation forwards. And they’re excellent fun.