[@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes
Cobi Alison Smith
cobi.smith at unimelb.edu.au
Mon May 4 09:24:24 UTC 2015
I agree with Paul and Steve about what opportunities exist and why. Coincidentally I just posted an update on my site about some of my thoughts following publication of Friday's article
in it I discuss the impact of AdaCamp, because I'm reminded of discussions at that first AdaCamp about women in open stuff and stereotyping and what tasks in communities are valued.
I'm feeling fatigued from talking about it. It's great that GovHack events in some places are supporting childcare. I think Rosie's issues about project sustainability and work involved are related to what funded opportunities exist. Yay Code for Australia defying stereotypes - I also don't want this to come across as a polarised binary gender thing. It's about valuing skill sets. OK UK funds people to do things beyond just tech.
Tired. I appreciate folk sharing. Frustrated I didn't meet my thesis word count goal today because I was listening to people, then frustrated at myself for thus valuing quantified production over listening.
Enough oversharing from me tonight.
From: okfn-au [okfn-au-bounces at lists.okfn.org] on behalf of Paul Walsh [paulywalsh at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 4 May 2015 4:16 PM
To: Open Knowledge discussion list for Australia.
Subject: Re: [@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes
I think Steve is right on here.
I too have been lucky enough to do most of my professional work (Product Manager and Developer) in the last few years with open source and open data (and so my opinion is obviously influenced by that), but from what I see:
* There are a range of academic/research opportunities, but mostly in Europe
* In general, you have to think globally, as open data is still too young to offer enough opportunities at any one regional level
* Most opportunities come from already being involved in some project/network as a volunteer
* Most opportunities are still technical in nature (i.e: writing code)
The last point is critical IMHO. Technical literacy is almost a must to have ongoing work in open data at this time.
We are still at a stage where standards and basic tooling are merging. The whole Frictionless Data thing (http://data.okfn.org) is addressing this head on, but simply speaking, a lot of work being done around the world right now in open data is writing tooling and developing specifications so that we can push forward to the next stages.
So, I jump between writing code and managing projects all the time: I do it in my work contracting to startups, and I do it in my work in the “open data” space.
The needs I see in “open data” are actually pretty similar to the needs I see working with startups: people who can manage projects well, people who can see the problem and solve it with code, people who can jump between roles and tasks without cognitive dissonance. It is just that the volume of opportunities is minuscule in comparison, as we are, quite simply, just at the beginning.
On 4 May 2015, at 08:09, Steve Bennett <stevage at gmail.com<mailto:stevage at gmail.com>> wrote:
On Mon, May 4, 2015 at 10:41 AM, Rosie Williams <budgetaus at hotmail.com<mailto:budgetaus at hotmail.com>> wrote:
I'm sad to hear from Cobi that the way forward earning money in open knowledge seems so grim. I'd think that for people with a professional history there would be opportunities opening up with government agencies as they begin to open up. In NSW there is a lot going on now (or will be). All NSW state agencies are looking at what they should be opening, the NSW State Library is opening the DX Lab incubator.
It obviously depends exactly what one means by "earning money in open knowledge". If you consider any open source development under the banner, then it's easy (for developers), and if you cast the net as wide as working with or on any "open technologies", then there's no shortage of possible roles, including within industry (RackSpace comes to mind). So I think Cobi is either being very pessimistic or is considering only a narrow range of roles.
I've been lucky enough that for the past few years, most of my professional work has been under the broad umbrella of open knowledge, including open research data at ANDS and VeRSI, a "data guru in residence" fellowship at the University of Melbourne, and now working on National Map at NICTA.
If the momentum around publishing open data continues to grow, then presumably there will be a need for more people to do that work, and hence more job opportunities. Obviously the staff at Link Digital are paid to work on "open data projects", and you could say the same for various staff scattered around museums, libraries etc.
The pattern currently seems to be more along the lines of finding work using the same skillset, and squeezing open data in wherever you can. I frequently find that projects that started out as purely "hobby projects" creep into my professional work, such as demoing http://cycletour.org<http://cycletour.org/> as an unintended showcase of open government data, or using opencouncildata.org<http://opencouncildata.org/> as the basis for a proposed standard for CSV data<https://github.com/NICTA/nationalmap/wiki/Aus-Geo-CSV-standard-(proposed)> for data.gov.au<http://data.gov.au/>. One benefit of this approach is that you tend to be constantly pushing the bounds of current practice, rather than being put in an "open data" pidgeon hole which might be ignored.
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