Welcome

Code for San José is a group of volunteer developers, designers, researchers and community organizers who build civic apps, data visualizations and media projects.

We create a space for San Jose’s civic tech community to meet, experiment and collaborate on all kinds of projects through our twice-monthly civic hack nights.

Technical skills are not required to contribute. Project managers, subject matter experts, communications specialists, community organizers, designers, developers, data scientists are all welcome!

How to Get Involved

Civic Hack Nights

Come to civic hack nights. Find teams to collaborate with. Keep tabs on our schedule by joining our Meetup group. We typically meet every 2nd and 4th Thursdays 6:30-9:00pm in downtown San José.

Collaborate and Create

Pitch a design, data or coding project for our volunteers to work on. You can share your idea or email Michelle Thong, Code for San José Captain.

Learn more about our current projects.

Share our activities with your friends and colleagues.

Discuss

Join us on slack to discuss ideas, projects and colalboration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to know coding to participate?

No, you do not need to know coding to participate. There are many ways non-technical volunteers can contribute.

Check out a creative video project made by our members Lorin Camargo and Clarence Leung to showcase the construction of a protected bikeway pop-up on 4th Street, between St. John and San Salvador in San Jose, California:

Does Code for San Jose teach you how to code?

No, Code for San Jose is not a place that teaches members how to code.

Check out San Jose Public Library online resources, such as Team Treehouse or Lynda to learn new skills.

How did it all begin?

Launched in March 2014, Kalen Gallagher and Michelle Thong founded Code for San Jose, a local Code for America brigade. We are a group of volunteers who are passionate about using our skills to advance civic innovation in San Jose. Our members represent a range of skill sets and interests, spanning the high tech, local government and non-profit sectors. Our Captains are Michelle Thong and Vivek Bansal.

What is a Code for America Brigade?

A Code for America Brigade is a group of volunteers who meet regularly to collaborate on technology, data, policy and design projects that strengthen their communities. There are over 30 Brigades in the United States. Brigades build participatory power in their cities by holding regular civic hack nights, advocating for open data, and deploying apps.

Local brigades determine their own activities and projects, and the overall Brigade program is administered by Code for America, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization. Code for America has a range of other programs that help governments, entrepreneurs and residents harness technology to solve community problems, including a one-year Fellowship, a civic start-up Accelerator and Incubator and the Peer Network for government workers.

What is Civic Hacking?

Civic hacking is when citizens see something in the public realm that they can make better, and they take it upon themselves to create a solution.

A civic hacker can be anyone – technologist, public servant, designer, entrepreneur, engineer – who is willing to collaborate with others to address local challenges and make their cities better for everyone.

A hacker is someone who uses a minimum of resources and a maximum of brainpower and ingenuity to create, enhance or fix something. Although in some circumstances the term is used in a negative sense, the term is not inherently negative, nor does it even have to be related to technology.

What is Open Data?

Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone. The U.S. government defines open data as publicly available data structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users.

Governments around the US are opening their data, allowing civic hackers to build tools, apps and other solutions that benefit their communities.

What is Open Government?

Open government promotes greater citizen participation, collaboration, and transparency in government. This includes promoting government accountability via improved citizen access to public government information, decision-making, and representatives.

Many public agencies already abide by open government laws that were developed in the 1970s prior to the Internet. These laws tend to be focused on making sure meetings are held in public and that agencies respond to requests for information. Today, open government increasingly overlaps with the idea that governments should provide citizens with open data on its actions, performance and decisions.