Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of teaching and working alongside some of the world’s most brilliant developers. I’ve also had the honor of being able to call myself a developer. I’ve watched my colleagues build software and solutions that have changed people’s lives profoundly (and, in some cases, even saved lives). I’ve watched them perform what I can only describe as miracles.

Call for CodeIt might sound lofty, but I believe the profession of developer should be held in the same regard as medical professionals, engineers, and educators. Think about how often a developer’s work affects you in your daily life. Every time you pick up your phone and open an app, there was a developer to make every step seamless. Each time you binge watch your favorite show, you can thank a team of developers who made it possible. And increasingly, developer-driven artificial intelligence is helping doctors diagnose and treat serious illnesses. Even this site where you’re reading these words—and the page you’ll visit after—these would not be possible without a developer.

It’s with this sentiment—that developers have the power to improve lives and affect change in the world—that we are launching Call for Code.

Call for Code aims to harness developers’ talent and expertise to solve the world’s most pressing issues. For the initial event, we’re putting out the Call for Code to developers to build sustainable software solutions that will address global natural disaster preparedness.

I cannot overstate how excited we are at IBM to be a founding partner in this initiative, which was created by David Clark Cause and supported by the United Nations Human Rights Office and The American Red Cross as charitable partners.

What better way to show how critical the developer profession is as a critical discipline than by launching a global initiative that seeks to improve the way societies prepare to face natural disasters directly. This is such a critical initiative for IBM that we committed to a $30 million investment over five years to make this happen.

The winning team of the inaugural Call for Code Award will receive:

  • An all-inclusive invitation for each team member to the Call for Code Award event in October.
  • A cash prize.
  • Open source project support from the Linux Foundation.
  • The opportunity to pitch to a venture capitalist.
  • An opportunity to deploy the solution with an IBM Corporate Service Corps team.

Two runners-up finalists will also receive cash prizes, and a limited number of semi-finalists will have the opportunity to travel to the Call for Code Award event.

Think about it: At the end of this year’s Call for Code challenge, developers will walk away with a United Nations-sanctioned medal and an opportunity to grow their project within an active open source community. This is what it means to elevate an entire profession around a truly inspired cause.

My challenge to you is this: Visit, and sign up for the challenge. Commit to the cause. Push for change. Show the world that developers have the power to save lives.

Click here to share Call for Code on Twitter!

2 comments on"Answering the call, elevating a profession"

  1. What are the sorts of natural disaster related complex humanitarian challenges to be solved/addressed? While the experienced humanitarian bodies know of the issues to be resolved, the developers not already experienced in the humanitarian field, don’t. These experienced humanitarian bodies will need to be able to clearly communicate this to support this Call for Code program.

  2. Michele, that’s exactly why the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross are charitable partners of the Call for Code Global Initiative (

    They have frameworks and on-the-ground knowledge of the issues that would benefit from sustainable software solutions.

    The prize and judging structure of the 2018 Call for Code Global Challenge encourages developers to solve real problems with high-quality applications based on those needs.

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