Over the past half century I responded several times to AMSAT?s call for volunteers and never heard back from them. I was happy to hear from my son when he volunteered his software talents to AMSAT and told me that they had asked when would be a good time to contact him. His job title is Software Engineer with over 30 years experience, a number of published articles and winner of a number of design contests. He is also comfortable with hardware and firmware. If I mention a piece of hardware or software that I wish was a available in my ham shack it is usually available the next time he visits.
Oh by the way I see AMSAT is still looking for a software guy, they never followed up on their request of when they could contact him. They sure blew an opportunity there.
That is obviously very frustrating both for you and your son. Do remember that "they" are also volunteers, and for each area (engineering, finance, communications, etc) "they" are likely to be only a single person having a hard time keeping up with volumes of email in his or her spare time, and who has to prioritize what s/he can pay attention to.
And as Jaime's experience shows, every volunteer first has to be screened due to ITAR requirements. A pain in the neck but sadly true for the time being.
As a volunteer organization with many members who have 'real jobs', AMSAT, as with most such groups, has to deal with the common case of volunteers who do a lot of AMSAT work and suddenly have to drop out for a while to spend more time with job, family, etc. So the need for new people is always there, but the priorities of the moment vary widely. And we do differ from some organizations by often having very hard launch dates.
Not that you can predict, but I'm sure it depends on the time within a project cycle too and exactly what you are volunteering for. I suspect that at the moment analog circuit designer volunteers might get a greater mindshare than software people.
Please understand and don't give up. It should not work this way, but personal contact is also good. Hamvention (just passed), AMSAT Space Symposium (Houston in early November), etc.
Burns, W2BFJ (Not a volunteer screener, but an AMSAT member and volunteer who happened to send email at the right moment)