Frequently asked questions
We welcome programmers, designers, database administrators, IT experts, security experts, everyone with software development skills and experience.
Volunteering can be a fantastic way to gain experience, and we encourage volunteers at any and all levels to participate.
We also acknowledge that most projects will naturally seek first to engage a volunteer with more experience. Once projects are established there may be opportunities for less experienced volunteers to participate.
As you might expect, the duration of a project is a function of how many features are required, the complexity of the project, and the amount of time volunteers are able to give.
To give you a rough idea, the average Social Coder project usually takes upward of 2 months.
Some projects are much quicker, and some are much longer.
Projects always involve at least one experienced and qualified volunteer.
Less experienced volunteers may be invited to team up on a project to gain experience and assist as they are able.
Apart from the opportunity to support a cause they care about, volunteers can expect
Project value is based on an average expected time that a volunteer will spend working on a project, multiplied by contract rates for a developer in the UK. To make this calculation we use market rates from www.contractoruk.com.
Some projects require a high level of specialist knowledge or experience, and for those projects the contract rate can be much higher. For instance, the rate for a website penetration test can be twice the daily rate for a contract developer.
If a project is expected to take between 5 and 20 days of volunteer time we calculate as follows
Rate for a contract software developer: £375 per day
Minimum: 5 days × £375 = £1,875
Maximum: 20 days × £375 = £7,500
Average = (£1,875 + £7,500) ÷ 2 ≅ £4,500
We show project value to emphasise the value of volunteer contributions, and what a project might cost on the open market.
It is important to us that volunteer time is valued by the organisations they work with.
Experience tells us that the greatest cost of bespoke software development lies in support and maintenance after the initial product is developed. The cost of ongoing support can be many times greater than the cost of initial development.
We feel it is our professional responsibility to ensure that charities and non-profit organisations are not inadvertently burdened with this cost.
Where a bespoke development project is proposed, we will work to ensure a viable support plan is created before the project ends.
We will never agree to a project that, in our judgement, would create an unsustainable support and maintenance burden.
Yes. We also welcome collaboration with open source projects.
Social Enterprises, B Corps, and similar organisations can participate, and will pay a small fee to post volunteer opportunities.
We will only work with organisations that support genuine social causes.
Yes, but usually only if the charity can demonstrate an ability to support a software project.
Single-person projects and charities with little or no track record are unlikely to meet this criteria.
Volunteers with solid experience of leading projects and teams may be invited to act as project coordinators.
There might be other ways you can help. It's a misconception that software development is purely about coding. Projects will benefit from people with skills in testing, writing documentation, advising on architecture and security, promotion and marketing, even helping with project administration.
You can, provided you meet the following criteria
Our motivation is to assure volunteers that the projects they work on have a good chance of longer term success.