Jeremy Nagel

@jeremynagel

Where are the programmers who give a shit?

Right now, entrepreneurs are trying to fix things that aren’t broken. And we can all name a lot of things that are broken: Health care, education, homelessness and poverty, food waste, climate change … need I continue? These aren’t even small market problems.

Marco Marandiz, “I’m done pretending that Silicon Valley tech is visionary”

This isn’t just a Silicon Valley problem. Looking around at job listings for web developers, it seems like the biggest employers right now are gambling companies, far right news publishers, financial institutions that focus on enlarging the income inequality gap and advertising businesses. How is that we have many of the tech industry’s brightest minds beavering away in industries that most likely have a net negative impact on society?

I get that people have families to feed and mortgages to pay but in the middle of a booming economy, where top candidates have their choice of any job out there, why would you choose to work for an organisation that is making the world a worse place?

It makes me wonder: where are the programmers who give a shit? Where are the people who want to help solve these kind of problems:

  • climate change
  • access to quality healthcare
  • wealth inequality
  • social inclusion

You might think that you’d have to take a pay cut (or volunteer) to get to spend your work hours contributing to something that really matters but that isn’t necessarily the case. Check out ethicaljobs.com.au and greencareer.net.au. There are plenty of positions available at ethical organisations that pay market rates and above.

Hell the company I work for is trying to hire at least five devs right now who want to help improve energy efficiency. Despite offering competitive salaries, we’re getting almost no applicants and those that do apply don’t even seem to notice what we do. There’s a question in the application: “Why do you want to work for us?”. Typical answers are “I want to work in a product team” or “I’m excited about new UI frameworks”. Those answers leave a bit to be desired. Of course you need to care about your craft. You want to be constantly improving. But your craft in the wrong hands can be a weapon.

Are you a mercenary selling your services to the highest bidder? Or do you want to use your skills to actually make a difference in the world?

If you give a shit, join the LinkedIn group I just created: Programmers Who Give a Sh*t.

More by Jeremy Nagel

Topics of interest

More Related Stories