Fellowship FAQ

The Fellowship is an 11-month program where developers, designers, UX/UI researchers and project managers work alongside city staff to produce open-source apps and improve the citizen experience.

The Basics

Where Would I be Working?

You'll spend the majority of your time in Code for America HQ in downtown San Francisco with frequent trips to your residency city for needs assessment, research and stakeholder check-ins.

Will I Receive Wages During the Fellowship?

In addition to receiving training and mentorship, fellows receive a stipend of $50,000 USD, a professional development budget, travel expenses and health care benefits.

Can I choose my city partner?

You will be asked for your top city partner choices once you're selected for the fellowship.

Who are my teammates?

You'll be paired with teammates based on complimentary skill sets in mid December. Our fellows range in their experiences - some have worked at, and even invested, in startups. Others are more recently graduated from college, or didn't go to college at all. All share a passion for the civic space, talent for making a difference, and the desire to collaborate. Last year's average fellow was 30-years-old with previous experience in design, development, research or project management. Fellows have come from small startups, design agencies, and larger tech companies like Google, Apple and Rackspace recently started a sabbatical program to support us. You can check out past fellowship bios here: 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Eligibility and Selection

Selection Criteria

In addition to having the necessary paperwork for a year-long work term, Code for America welcomes developers, designers, project managers and researchers apply from across the country. Code for America is committed to a diverse fellowship class. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply. Interested? Fill out this form and we'll let you know when applications open.

Can non-US residents apply?

Code for America cannot sponsor work visas for international applicants but non-US citizens with the necessary paperwork for a year-long work term are welcome to apply. You should also check out the International Partnership Program for more info.

Apps & Training

Mentorship and Training

You'll receive training from a variety of leaders in the technology and public administration space on a variety of topics. In past years, fellows have learned to navigate the Federal Government from former White House CTO Aneesh Chopra, develop negotiation tactics from public policy entrepreneur David Eaves, and organize for better civic design via Code for America's new Civic Design meetup. In addition to these presentations, fellows are often invited to networking dinners, company visits and special events in the civic tech space.

What Can I Expect to Build?

In the past, fellows have built a variety of apps including those that tackle civic engagement, criminal justice, human services, health and environmental issues. Your area of focus will depend on the needs of your host city. But apps are just the beginning. Since this program's inception, fellows have helped release 1000+ open data sets, facilitate the creation of new local Brigades and encouraged their host cities to institute progressive new policies. A complete list of our yearly outcomes is available in our Annual Report.

Why are the apps open source?

City apps built during the fellowship are released as open source code and can be redeployed by local volunteer Brigade groups. While it's true that other cities can download and tweak your app code, as a fellow you'll receive attribution and help steer the app's functionality in a way that is customized to meet your host city's unique needs.

Timing: Selection

Selection & Application Timing
July 15 Fellows Application Deadline
Aug Fellows Selected
Sept Fellows Can Attend Code for America Summit
Oct Press Release: Cities & Fellows Announced
Dec Cities & Fellowship Teams Matched

Timing: Program Year

Program Timing
Jan Fellows Training/Orientation: Fellows arrive in SF for training, team building and project research. They're divided into three, assigned to a host city, and listen to guest speakers.
Feb City Residency: Fellows arrive for their residency, meet with their city host, build a network of contacts, and identify where CFA can have the most impact. Fellows interview community and government stakeholders and brainstorm project scope.
Mar Fellows Return to SF for app development: Teams return to SF for app development, resource sharing and collaboration. Ongoing training and guest speaker series continues.
Aug-Sept Apps Launch: Teams launch their apps and select teams demo their projects at the CfA Summit.
Oct Fellows document their work and prepare to transition the apps to the City.
Nov Sustainability: In the final month, work to transition towards an agreed upon method of sustainability post-Fellowship.
Still have questions? More answers available at GitHub or by emailing fellowship-staff[at]codeforamerica.org