Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the Indian economy is going through tough times. But a bigger crisis that is looming is the aftermath — what will India look like when the pandemic has been conquered? Small businesses are going to suffer the most.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has requested the businesses to go digital, and adopt new business models.
Many noble professions like doctors, police and other essential workers are at the COVID-19 war front to help us all. Although we developers are not directly on the front lines, we can still do a lot to help our small business clients, as well the human race at large.
Let us find how we can help.
5 things digital pros can do to help save the world
Now is the time to extend a helping hand by offering services that can support others through these tough times. Here are five ways to be a force for good:
- Perform COVID-19 updates to clients’ sites for free.
- Notify your customers of your current capacity and services offered.
- Join global efforts to track the virus.
- Contribute to the dataset.
- Help track the spikes in the number of COVID cases.
Whether you prefer acting locally or globally, there’s something for you to do.
1- Perform COVID-19 updates for free
As we know, all businesses are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and are taking precautions and measures to avoid the spread.
Their customers need to be informed about their efforts to keep the community safe and if applicable, their new way of doing business while maintaining social distance. Any other business activity that is impacted due to the current situation should be properly communicated to the customers as well.
You as a developer can help your clients perform COVID-19 updates on their site for free. This may not take you long, but your clients will definitely appreciate and remember your support for a long time.
2- Notify your customers of your current capacity and services offered
Due to the quarantine situation, almost every business is getting impacted. Employees are working from home and offline sales have dropped for many businesses. In such a situation, you can approach your clients to assist them in the following ways:
- Give your clients (and their staff) access to internal networks from home, without the fear of infecting the network by installing VPNs.
- Set up a simple system comprising an eCommerce store and the payment system (e.g. Stripe) so that they can sell physical products online.
- Help them discover new avenues of income such as courses, eBooks or digital products. Your job is to make the process easy for them. You can integrate tools like Easy Digital Downloads or help them create an account on Gumroad.
- Since people are at home, they are spending even more time on social media. You can help your clients to be more visible. Depending on which platform your client uses, you can create stunning graphics using Canva and schedule them using popular scheduling apps like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social or the Tailwind app.
There are countless ways you can help your clients and win them forever by just supporting them at this time. Think about how else you can help them. Create a page of your website and reach out to them with your offer to help.
3- Join global efforts to track the virus
WHO, in association with tech giants like TikTok, Facebook, AWS, Microsoft, Pinterest, Slack, Twitter and WeChat, came up with the idea for a COVID-19 Hackathon. The deadline for this hackathon is over and they have selected 89 entries from the pool.
India’s COVID-19 Online Hackathon called developers, healthcare professionals and businesses to collaborate to build projects to minimise the impact on India. Moderated by the Slack group, this hackathon ran from March 22 to April 19, 2020. The most promising projects received financial help and guidance.
No worries if you missed the train. Here’s a list of COVID-related hackathons that might still be going on.
4- Contribute to the dataset
Another way you can help is by contributing to this dataset on Open Data Stack Exchange.
It aims to crowdsource data on the policy measures adopted by various governments (travel restrictions, lockdowns etc.)
The dataset relies on volunteer contributions and is free to use for anyone.
5- Help track the spikes in the number of COVID cases
In a pandemic like this, it is important to track data like:
- Number of cases
- Time of proliferation
- Location of hotspots
- Latest guidelines
This can be used to draw a trend and understand what is going on. Once you have a pattern that is common across the data sets, adequate measures and precautions could be taken to break the chain of infection.
You can also help the world by building the computing and visualization infrastructure to track the spread. For example, one such app is the open-source iOS coronavirus tracking app.
For this purpose, you can use the following database sources:
You might not be a doctor or work for an essential sector such as utilities but there are ways to use your skillset to make a positive difference.
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Resources to help you help
Your first stop should be the COVID-19 Open Source Help Desk. If you are a new stack reader who loves open source, this is where you can get answers from the original creators of the software and those who are pros at using it.
A few other resources to check out:
- GitHub’s guide on Open Collaboration on COVID-19
- Help With COVID is a forum for engineers and software developers, bio, medicine and manufacturing experts who are helping.
- Sharpen your coding skills through Codeacademy, Coursera, edX, Udemy or Creative Class. If you’re looking for some hands-on learning while doing so, then check out freeCodeCamp, CodePen and Glitch.
- Get yourself certified so you can help your clients with more things through Facebook Blueprint Course, HubSpot Academy or Copyblogger’s Content Marketing certification.
Save the world without leaving your desk
Developers from across the world are working together to beat the COVID-19 crisis.
We have discussed several ways you can help the community, including your clients in this difficult time. You can find a thousand other ways to do your bit. Although you’re confined to your house, you can still beat cabin fever and help the world fight this pandemic.
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