Last week, we published our article Civic Code for Social Change: Lessons in Civic Tech Grassroots for Software Engineers in IEEE Software. The article builds on previous work on Code For Ireland by Antti Knutas, Victoria Palacin, Giovanni Maccani and Markus Helfert, and incorporates visions by Annika Wolff, Lukas Mocek and myself. In particular, we review the concept of civic technology and propose three pillars of software engineering in this field: code empowering communities, open and equitable participation, and free and open-source licensed artifacts.
The creation of code for improving civic participation in societal processes is often referred to as civic tech. Software engineers are increasingly likely to work with civic tech initiatives or as part of volunteer efforts during their careers. It is important to raise awareness about the civic tech phenomenon and how it relates to the field of software engineering. We explore the best practices for civic tech grassroots that software engineers should be aware of when working with – or as – civic coders through a case study.