NASWCA Tech Council

The mission of the NASW-CA Tech Council is to expand and strengthen the role of technology within social work practice. Our audience is social workers, including practitioners, students, faculty, and alumni as well as community partners and technologists. This statewide Tech Council is a first in NASW.

Here are six main roles for social workers at hackathons:


The social worker is a member of the organizing/planning team, assisting in execution and event planning. Social workers can bring resources that will assist and guide the hackathon experience for all participants so that they have the resources to reach the metrics of the hackathon. Social workers have access to data, professional knowledge of the needs and how the technology will reach the targeted users.


The social worker is asked to be a mentor and/or subject/matter expert at a hackathon. They are present at the hackathon throughout its entirety and assist all the teams regarding the civic, human health, social services, ethics/confidentiality and micro/mezzo/macro knowledge.

Team Lead/Participant:

The social worker is a member of a "hacker" team and assumes the role of the subject/matter expert. As the team lead, the social worker is the one that brings the idea to the table and uses their expertise and professional experience to formulate a solution based on one of the proposed challenges. As a participant, the social worker joins a team and uses their expertise and professional experience. In these roles, a social worker is dedicating all their efforts to one team.

The Observer:

The social worker attends the hackathon and observes the various roles in the hackathon. It is in this space where social workers become familiar and gain experience of an actual hackathon. Through networking, social workers can interview various people and gain knowledge for their future participation at a hackathon.

The Sponsor/Judge:

The social worker joins in with the other sponsors and/or is the main sponsor. In this role, the social worker can help create the challenges for the hackathon where the teams are asked to address them. As a sponsor/judge, a social worker can select the "hacker teams" who were best able to address the challenges.