Sure, league table results are public. But they don’t paint a picture of the crime rate surrounding a school, or how good public transportation links are.

So, he built something that did just that. His website visualizes crime, transport, poverty, and healthcare statistics, contextualized by nearby schools. And he could do that thanks to open data.

Open data is exactly that. Government data that’s shared, openly. It pertains to things like how well government departments are working, to crime stats, and everything in-between. Governments that choose to release open data do it for the sake of transparency.

And quite often, it’s distributed in formats that are conducive for developers to work with it – like CSV, TSV, JSON, XML, Excel, and sometimes as entire SQLite databases.

I want to stress that this is totally anecdotal, and not at all scientific, but over the past few years, the number of founders I’ve met that have been taking advantage of open data has soared.

Over the past twelve months, it seems as though it’s almost hit a critical mass. This paints an optimistic picture of open data usage in 2017.

Public-sector software development jobs will get increasingly attractive

Developers worth their salt have always gravitated towards private sector jobs, particularly in VC funded startups. The reasons are obvious.

Pay, which is number one, is usually better. There are stock options. Then there’s the frivolities. You don’t have to wear a suit, and there are perks, like free snacks and ping-pong, and you get to work with interesting technologies.

Public sector jobs traditionally haven’t had the same appeal. But that’s starting to change.

Starting with the UK’s Government Digital Service, and following with the United States Digital Service, it’s now enticing to be a public-sector developer. These departments work like a startup-within-government.

And quite often, it’s distributed in formats that are conducive for developers to work with it – like CSV, TSV, JSON, XML, Excel, and sometimes as entire SQLite databases.

I want to stress that this is totally anecdotal, and not at all scientific, but over the past few years, the number of founders I’ve met that have been taking advantage of open data has soared.

Over the past twelve months, it seems as though it’s almost hit a critical mass. This paints an optimistic picture of open data usage in 2017.

Public-sector software development jobs will get increasingly attractive

Developers worth their salt have always gravitated towards private sector jobs, particularly in VC funded startups. The reasons are obvious.

Pay, which is number one, is usually better. There are stock options. Then there’s the frivolities. You don’t have to wear a suit, and there are perks, like free snacks and ping-pong, and you get to work with interesting technologies.

Public sector jobs traditionally haven’t had the same appeal. But that’s starting to change.

Starting with the UK’s Government Digital Service, and following with the United States Digital Service, it’s now enticing to be a public-sector developer. These departments work like a startup-within-government.