Codementor, an online education platform for software developers, is launching Code Against COVID-19 to match volunteers with software projects to fight the pandemic. The initiative, which Codementor is not making money from, wants to connect coders with universities, non-profits, local government agencies and other organizations.
Some of the programs Code Against COVID-19 is currently working with include Safe Paths and Covid Watch, both of which are developing tools to stop the spread of COVID-19 while safeguarding personal privacy. It has also connected developers to grassroots projects like Hospital@home and a UX designer working on a geofencing app to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Codementor’s platform includes hundreds of thousands of developers around the world. After seeing that many organizations and government agencies needed coders to work on COVID-19-related software, Codementor surveyed its community. Founder and CEO Weiting Liu said 98% of respondents said they were willing to donate their skills, and Code Against COVID-19 was created to quickly match coders to projects.
So far, more than 200 developers have signed up to work for free or, for longer-term projects, at a discount.
Liu is from Taiwan, which despite its close proximity to China has managed to prevent a major outbreak of COVID-19 without lockdowns.
Liu told TechCrunch that Codementor’s team was inspired by the success of software projects lead by the country’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang, including a citywide alert system in Taipei and maps that let users track the real-time inventory of rationed masks at nearby pharmacies to avoid waiting in long lines.
“If you believe software can change the world, this is a perfect example,” Liu said, adding that Codementor’s Taiwan-based team members want to help other countries. “We’re fortunate with the situation in Taiwan, we’re not locked down at home with our kids, we’re relatively safe, so we can just try to help the community.”