[@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Wed May 6 20:44:11 UTC 2015

I still think there is an issue moving projects begun at hackfests or even in the community by individuals or small teams from idea to financially sustainable projects and I think this is related to the absence of community consultation that goes into these projects to begin with.
I think the perception that the most important skill in open knowledge is coding as opposed to for example, the ability to consult with the community to find out what their needs are and how open data can help meet them is something that could be addressed in order to open up the demand for open data/skills. 
I think opportunities in open knowledge/open data are directly related to the wider community's grasp of what these concepts have to offer them. Being such a new concept, the general population does not understand open data and I don't think coders are typically the best people to help communities, organisations or their client groups figure out how open data can benefit them. I think this falls more into the realm of social and political science but I don't see a lot of understanding of the value of social science and the importance of what it has to offer open knowledge among developers. 

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)________________________________________

 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter | InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 

From: cobi.smith at unimelb.edu.au
To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
Date: Mon, 4 May 2015 09:24:24 +0000
Subject: Re: [@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes

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
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.

To take the technical point even further, I think that technical proficiency specifically in Python and JavaScript is also a factor: by far, most work around open data is being done in these languages.

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> wrote:

On Mon, May 4, 2015 at 10:41 AM, Rosie Williams 
<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 as an unintended showcase of open government data, or using
opencouncildata.org as the basis for a

proposed standard for CSV data for 
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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