A Developer’s role during the Pandemic – Call for Code 2020

We know how bad it is out there, we know how devastating it has been for many countries and we also have a good idea on what’s to come for many. I am sure I don’t have to go in detail on what the COVID-19 virus has been doing all over the world. My aim is to address the pressing question:

Can we as software developers do anything to help the
current situation that the world is facing?

We come from a wide background and many of us might be working with technologies that we feel might not help. But at times like these, it doesn’t matter. A single idea can help in ways we wouldn’t have previously thought possible. Time is of utmost importance and I want to stress the fact that a single idea and even an individual’s contribution can help tremendously. 

IBM Call For Code 2020

Trying to solve the problem alone is very challenging no doubt but it will not be given the right tools and the right platform.  We have the “Call for Code 2020” initiative to provide us with just that. This initiative backed by IBM is providing the platform for rapid development, collaboration, and technical help to get the idea implemented, deployed and help save lives all over the world. 

So far, over 200,000 developers have participated from over 165 countries and many of the solutions have been implemented and deployed at production scale. IBM along with all its partners have helped the ideas of developers become a reality. This is the differentiating factor that increases the probability of ideas going where it matters the most.

Ensuring High Impact

Since time is of the essence, it would be best if we all focus our goals on building applications that can help the best way possible. To achieve this, the experts have categorised the applications towards three main categories where the need is most and impact is high. 

Crisis Communication

Healthcare systems, logistics, and information centers are heavily overwhelmed in regions where COVID-19 has hit the most. Communication between various departments as well as from people to the department is extremely crucial in restricting the spread of the virus. 

Intelligent chatbots for example that you could easily build using the IBM Watson technologies, communication apps, or information websites are some examples of solutions that might fit in this category. 

Crisis Communication – Call for Code

Remote Education

Among the many sectors that have come to a standstill, education is one among them. However, thanks to the internet, it’s no longer a barrier and we have seen some institutions shifting education online until things return to normalcy. 

Not everyone has the tools, and resources to help children and students stay updated with their respective subjects when a lockdown is in place. Developers like us can build them. It can be applications like quiz apps, or live streaming and versioning lectures, etc. 

Online Education – Call for Code

Community cooperation

There are a lot of issues that come up with a lockdown or restricted movements. Information on where to get supplies, or availing the services of volunteers for the delivery of essential food or medicines is hard to find. 

This category of ideas to solve community problems involve solutions where communities can easily share and receive information from the volunteers or other government officials. This ensures the people get accurate information based on where they are and help in solving their specific issues. 

Community cooperation – Call for Code

Getting Started

The Initiative is structured in the form of online global competition. You can work alone, or form teams with people anywhere in the world to take part. COVID-19 has been the most urgent calamity we are facing and so, this is the main part of this year’s Call for Code Challenge. 

Following are the steps to help you get started with the challenge: 

  1. Register your team for the Call for Code challenge
  2. Choose where your idea may fall under the COVID-19 categorisation that we discussed above
  3. In case you need help, you can visit the library of Technical Help that IBM provides to assist us in implementing our idea. 
  4. Submit your application before the deadline of April 27th for the COVID-19 related application and wait for the announcements of top applications on May-5.


As of now, we have a commitment from IBM that the ideas that you and I will implement will be whetted at the earliest and the top three solutions will begin implementation in just two weeks of announcement. 

We can take this opportunity and the help that we are getting to build applications for our communities, and one which can be replicated to other communities and help people all around the world in these dire times. 

Finally, to further help you, if you need any help using the IBM technologies, you can refer to some of the in-depth articles that I have written in the past:

  1. IBM Watson assistant to build smart chatbots
  2. Using Machine Learning on Cloud – IBM Vision

Hoping to see you in the challenge!

akshay pai

I am a data science engineer and I love working on machine learning problems. I have experience in computer vision, OCR and NLP. I love writing and sharing my knowledge with others. This is why I created Source Dexter. Here I write about Python, Machine Learning, and Raspberry Pi the most. I also write about technology in general, books and topics related to science. I am also a freelance writer with over 3 years of writing high-quality, SEO optimized content for the web. I have written for startups, websites, and universities all across the globe. Get in Touch! We can discuss more.

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