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What is the Community Fellowship?

The 2020 Community Fellowship is your chance to use your skills to directly impact everyday people’s lives by helping make government work for the people as promised. Fellows have helped families gain access to housing, helped formerly incarcerated people connect to relevant re-entry services and resources, provided equitable access to essential utilities such as access to clean running water and government services like 311. 

Code for America Fellows are mission-driven digital professionals with project-related lived-experience who are eager to use their skills and experience to inform the ways government can work better for the people who need them the most. They have multi-disciplinary experience in engineering, design, art, public service, community organizing, research, product management, and more.

It’s a big job but highly rewarding. And it comes with some amazing perks:

  • Work on the most complex challenges of our time. Use your skills to make a huge impact on people’s lives.
  • Connections. The biggest names in the tech industry and the civic technology movement will provide you with unparalleled networking, mentorship, and support.
  • Professional Development. You will develop lasting relationships and learn new skills in a creative and fast-paced atmosphere.
  • Exercise Creativity. Working in small teams with your government partners, you’ll conduct user research to decide what you build and how you build it.
  • A Labor of Love. You’ll not only accomplish a lot and make the world a better place, but you’ll have a lot of fun working with other passionate people.

What does a successful Fellow look like?

2020 Fellows will come from a variety of backgrounds in technology, and in life. Some may come from large companies or startup environments, some have experience working in government or social impact organizations, and others may be making a career change. All Fellows will work to support their own communities.

All of our Fellows bring a few key traits to the table:

  • Highly Collaborative. Fellows are able to actively engage with their teammates as an equal partner, motivator, and teacher. They openly and directly provide and ask for feedback, and they want to work with their governments as partners.
  • Comfortable Wearing Many Hats. In small teams, it’s vital to the success of the team that teammates are able to jump in and out of roles and tasks to push their product forward. They are scrappy, resourceful and creative problem solvers.
  • Able to work independently. Fellows are a core part of the Code for America team and often work adjacent to the focus area staff in the areas of food, jobs, and justice. They are self-motivated and ask for help when they need it. Fellows must be able to successfully work remotely and with remote teammates.
  • Lived Experience. Fellows have real-world firsthand experience navigating the societal barriers both necessitating and simultaneously preventing access to crucial government services. They’ve endured the systemic injustice embedded in the original governmental designs and are ready to bring their lived experience to the table to help develop key systems interventions.
  • Adaptable. There is no real “typical day” as a Fellow. While teams often define some sprint planning and decisions making processes, routines change often. Fellows need the ability to travel to Code for America Summit, Fellows’ Orientation, Brigade Congress, closing ceremony, and other public interest tech events. *Travel estimated at 20%.
* Safety of our Fellows is our top priority. Fellows will be remote and no travel will occur at least until 2021. At that time Code for America will reassess travel safety which will depend on the state of the pandemic and current public health guidance.


Fellowship teams are cross-functional teams of 3 people with skills in software development, design, data science, and product management. Additional experience in GIS, community organizing, non-profit management, government, and policy work can be highly valuable. Here are some of the core competencies we’ve identified for a sample of the skillsets:

Software Developer:

  • Proficient in one full web stack
  • Strong software architect who knows when to build code to throw away and when to build code that will last
  • Solid understanding of agile and iterative development processes
  • Work closely with the designer to ensure that application is user-friendly
  • Work closely with designer and product manager to identify a reasonable development process
  • Flexibility in trying new things
  • Strong people skills


  • Comfortable with leading your team and external stakeholders through a human-centered design process
  • Translate research findings (both generative and usability) into a design strategy
    Generate design materials, including: user requirements specifications, storyboards, scenarios, flowcharts, design prototypes, wireframes, and design specifications (redlines)
  • Care deeply about accessibility and building things that work for everyone from the start
  • Work closely with the developer to ensure that designs are implemented according to specification
  • Work closely with the project manager and developer to identify a reasonable design and development schedule


Product Manager:

  • Experience with agile and iterative development and comfort walking your team through that process
  • Solid background with understanding and/or hands-on experience in software development or design
  • Strong Stakeholder Management communication skills to convey the importance of your project vision
  • Ability to identify and track key product metrics to understand the impact of your team’s work
  • Experience leading a team to build something from scratch
    Work closely with designer and developer to identify a reasonable work plan

Data Scientist:

  • Synthesize a wide variety of data sources to understand the impact of your project, and train your government partners on how to measure their progress.
  • Use strong people skills to effectively communicate with your team and government partners
  • Work closely with data managers in partner governments and your team’s developer to build a sustainable data infrastructure for your project.
  • Have the patience to work with often frustrating government data systems.
  • Collaborate with the team’s designer to build visualizations the communicate key findings, and with the project manager to build informative project updates.
  • Have comfort with a wide variety of tools and methods and the flexibility to try new things.


Where will teams be based?

We are looking for local talent to build teams in four areas:

  • Adams County CO
  • Fort Collins CO
  • Oakland CA
  • Santa Barbara County CA

About Code for America

Code for America is a tech non-profit with a great culture and a huge opportunity to make a difference. We work in cross-functional teams, collaboratively and agilely and value high-quality, user-friendly work product. We strive to learn from everything we do and regularly host talks from leaders in the civic technology movement. We respect each other, work hard, and have a great time together.  We’re looking for individuals who share our vision, our values, and our willingness to do what it takes to achieve an ambitious mission over the next few years.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Code for America values a diverse workplace and strongly encourages Black people, Indigenous People, people of color, women, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, people with prior convictions, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply. Code for America is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.

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