This year has been a great one for Natives in Tech. We had our first remote conference were Native developers and leaders in the Native tech sphere spoke about their work. It was amazing to see and listen to all the wonderful ideas and applications that are out there to help elevate Native culture and modernize how we assert our identity across the globe. If you missed it, check out the recordings here. We look forward to next year's conference that further builds on this topic of cultural renaissance and how technology can help to empower Native peoples.
We partnered with Coding Dojo to offer full-ride scholarships to Native participants. This is an amazing opportunity for Native persons interested in pursuing training in full-stack development but are hesitant because of the steep cost of attending a months-long Bootcamp. By removing this barrier, Coding Dojo is opening doors and providing opportunities that would otherwise not exist for these participants. We are extremely grateful and we look forward to working with Coding Dojo in the coming year to help support participants and ensure they are getting the technical and emotional support they need to be successful.
In June, NiT became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit. This has allowed us to acquire software at a free or reduced-price:
- Slack Standard Plan (Free)
- Google (GSuite) For Non-Profits (Free)
- Coda (80% off)
- Netlify (Free for OSS)
- Freedcamp (Free)
This also means we can now accept donations through our PayPal. We hope in the future to apply for grants that further our goals of elevating Native peoples in tech. One project we have in mind is hosting online and in-person workshops that teach the fundamentals of programming. We want to target youth interested in a computer science career path or adults considering a career change. We also are seeking funds to maintain our open source projects. We currently use Netlify (free for OSS) and Digital Ocean to house our web-based projects. Currently, the cost is around 30 dollars a month. If we can cut some costs as well as receive enough donations to pay the overhead then it would greatly reduce the burden on board members to cover them.
Our Slack is growing and I wanted to share some stats from our activity online:
Members Joined By Year
Posted Messages by Channel
We have more than doubled this year in Slack! It is great to see everyone that has gotten involved and engaged with the community this year. Whether you are consistently chatting it up or partake ever so often, thank you for being part of the NiT community. If you don't mind distractions then please join us on Slack.
The future of NiT is bright and I want to share some of the goals we have to help further grow NiT:
Write, write, and write some more
Growing an open-source community can be incredibly difficult. After observing how other OSS communities operate, we learned that one of the best things we can do is write about what's happening. This allows those who engage infrequently to feel up to date with what's happening even from afar. Writing also provides a history that anyone can read through to see the accomplishments, and failures, of an organization. Maybe from reading about our trials, readers may feel inspired to help or to learn from our efforts and apply it to their own lives. Either way, we are helping the community immensely by sharing our knowledge and expertise for others to track and/or learn from and both are extremely valuable.
We also want to make our projects on GitHub more approachable by providing well-documented README's that inform potential contributors on how they can help. Instead of getting stuck on the README page, possible contributors can gain knowledge from it, look at issues that track progress, and find ways in which their contributions can help the project.
Host another conference
We want to host another conference! Last year was great but there is much that can be improved. The sound quality was poor and the overall production of the streaming could have been much better. We hope to learn from our mistakes and provide a much cleaner and organized conference for 2020. We are thinking about having it on location but that will take a lot of effort. If we feel we don't have the volunteer power to make it happen then we have an online conference to fall back on. Either way, we want to work to make this happen once more!
Build more OSS that reinforce Native communities
If you have ever looked at our GitHub repository you can see we have a few Native centric applications on there. We want to grow this more, whether by creating libraries, services, or by having toy projects that relate to some of the work we are doing in our communities. There are so many amazing things that we can build and we invite others to get involved and provide ideas for awesome projects they want to work on under the NiT umbrella or if you want to contribute to a project we want to let you know how you can. We will be opening a repository for RFC's, request for comments, which will allow users to submit a pull request that details the project they are working on and the resources they will need on Digital Ocean to maintain it. It will be some time before this is ready so if you have ideas right now that you think would be great then feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org outlining your goals and how we can help you get your open source project off the ground.
These are just a few of the ideas we have but we also want to hear from you. Come join us on Slack, follow us on GitHub and Twitter, or let us know how you can help using this Google Form. Thank you for all your support and we hope to continue to grow in 2020!