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Thread: Anyone here work for a non-profit and perhaps pro free software company?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Anyone here work for a non-profit and perhaps pro free software company?

    I hope this is the right place to ask.

    Needless to say, I'm a big fan of free software, and what it represents.
    I recently earned a bachelors in computer science from University of California Irvine. I've been soul searching in regard to what to do with it...

    I'm not interested in earning huge sums (or being trapped in a cube 8 to ? hours a day)

    I would like to know if any of you can share any experiences you've had or recommendations with either non-profits or pro free software companies.

    I'm thinking maybe part-time or full time work, perhaps telecommuting (I live in a rural area, the only "broadband" access I have here is via dish connection)

    Anyway, I have my resume ready, and my website almost up to snuff.

    Thank you guys and gals.
    The idea of copyright did not exist in ancient times, when authors frequently copied other authors at length in works of non-fiction. This practice was useful, and is the only way many authors' works have survived even in part. -- Richard Stallman

  2. #2
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    Re: Anyone here work for a non-profit and perhaps pro free software company?

    I work with several nonprofits, and the pay is not always bad.

    Wish you had said more about what your interests were. I know starting out you want to keep your options open, but you should do things you like.

    Since I can see you're technically minded, you might want to look into grant management. Government agencies give money away, but they do it usually in exchange for information. Grants split into sub-grants, and the information has to flow back up to the original grantee, so they can consolidate, summarize, apply statistics, and report back to the original grantor.

    From what I've seen, most of this data collection is done with paper forms or Acrobat documents, and consolidating this data is done manually by a (technically) untrained grant manager. A lot of mistakes happen during this step, and data is skewed. The end result is that the original grantor gets is distorted view of the nature of the grant, and may prioritize future funding badly.

    They need better tools that the free software community already provides. I would like to get in this field at some point, myself, and am starting a publishing business with this market in mind.

    If this type of work appeals to you, then make a proposal to provide data services to an existing non-profit with which you share social goals. Once you get some experience with working with them, finding out deep-down how they do things (much different than for-profit corporations), you can start your own gig -- either a nonprofit org to provide services to other nonprofits, or a for-profit enterprise.

    In fact, just yesterday an old friend visited me to get advice on the details of starting a nonprofit. They start out simply but quickly the complexity escalates. Many need help, even newly formed ones. You can help by providing free software solutions, and you can make a living doing so, I believe.

  3. #3
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    Re: Anyone here work for a non-profit and perhaps pro free software company?

    Hey, Soul searching is always good. A lot of people do soul searching while back-packing around Europe. When I did my back-packing I ended up with a job in Poland, programming databases for Cigna Insurance. After that work experience I knew what I did and didn't want. Now I'm a systems consultant in Rochester NY. I do a lot of programming so inevitably I work with open source software libraries, and products. While my company is not a non-for profit, and it's not an open source company I do enjoy working with it.

    Remember, wherever you go that is where you are. Life is what you make of it, so if you see an opportunity to use open source, just bring it into the mix.
    It's all about people

  4. #4
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    Re: Anyone here work for a non-profit and perhaps pro free software company?

    Thank you both of you for your replies. I will definitely look into it.

    I apologize for such a late reply (my father was injured while riding his bicycle recently, so our family has been focusing on his recovery...)

    So things are on hold for just a bit.

    As for my interests (if that helps with further suggestions)

    I like to make free software "scratch an itch." Not so much in coding, but in scripting or using a series of apps to accomplish a task.

    Other things I like to do are setting up and tweaking systems. Ubuntu does make that much easier. I'm not sure about hundreds of machines, but I can handle several. So, for example, with small operations I could help migrate from Windows machines (which I would hope lower costs substantially.) Even if it meant keeping the environment heterogeneous, and/or using VM's.

    I am interested in Technial Writing as well, especially for an application I use.

    Unrelated to all this, I like cooking.

    Also, I'm pretty meticulous. So if I were handling data, I make sure it's 100% correct.

    Thanks again.
    The idea of copyright did not exist in ancient times, when authors frequently copied other authors at length in works of non-fiction. This practice was useful, and is the only way many authors' works have survived even in part. -- Richard Stallman

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