Hey Redditor friends! I was a 30-something teacher who learned to code, started working as a developer, and wanted to help more people do the same. So I created the freeCodeCamp.org open source project 4 years ago.

Today freeCodeCamp.org is helping millions of people around the world learn to code for free. Already, tens of thousands of our alumni have gotten their first jobs as software developers.

We have a free 1,800 hour full stack development curriculum where you build projects and earn developer certifications. We also run the fastest-growing programming channel on YouTube and the largest publication on Medium.com.

Our nonprofit recently crossed the 1 billion minute threshold for total usage. This means people have spent about 2,000 years learning to code on freeCodeCamp! (more metrics here)

Some personal details about me:

  • My wife Jade and I have 2 kids: a 3 year old named Jocelyn and a 1 year old named Quentin (he's in my verification picture).
  • I grew up in Oklahoma City and recently moved back to China (where I previously studied and worked)
  • Aside from coding, I enjoy reading nonfiction, running, retro-gaming, and playing with my kids.
  • I write about technology on Quora and Medium and tweet a lot

Verification photo: https://truepic.com/CWBKGRR3/

Comments: 124 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

DarryltheBarrel20 karma

If you are in your mid 30’s and know almost nothing about coding, how quickly/successfully could you make a mid career switch? I’ve thought about coding often but am fearful to invest time into it, thinking even if I learn, some 18yo wiz kid would blow me out of the water and I’d have trouble finding a good paying job.

quincylarson29 karma

It took me about 7 months of studying full-time to get my first job as a developer. I hung out at the local hackerspace and worked through programming books, and most weekends I took the train to various cities around California to participate in hackathons.

You could probably do it much faster now (the tools are better, and the resources for learning are much better). Also worth noting, this was before I had kids. My wife was working full time so we still had benefits through her job during the time I was studying full time.

I recommend not quitting your job and instead taking your time and steadily expanding your skills.

Simbaxo14 karma

How does a beginner contribute to Open Source projects? I can never find a project that has easy/beginner issues and when I do, it seems like someone is already working on it like FreeCodeCamp issues seems to be taken as soon as they are posted.

quincylarson20 karma

You're in luck. We've got an open source repository focused on answering that exact question: https://github.com/freeCodeCamp/how-to-contribute-to-open-source

ImAReturd8 karma

2 Questions, on a scale of 1 to 10, how tired are you on checking the submissions on the previous JAMstack hackathon? and what's your 5 favorite games? Either console, mobile or pc

quincylarson9 karma

Haha - yeah - I manually checked about 1,000 submissions for our JAMstack hackathon last month. You can read more about all this here: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/winners-from-the-2018-freecodecamp-jamstack-hackathon-at-github-2a39bd1db878

For a programmer, I guess I do a lot of rote things. I constantly think of this XKCD when deciding whether it's worth it to automate a task, keeping in mind if I screw up the automation even more time goes out the window: https://xkcd.com/1205/

Top games at the moment:
1. Doom 2016
2. Dark Souls 3

  1. The Messenger

ImAReturd2 karma

another questions, do you think the event was successful in the online hackathon part? Do you think it was the same success as with the inperson hackathon? Just curious since I would like to do same within my school, well just the inperson hackathon. Also, sorry for the many question. :(

quincylarson4 karma

The online hackathon met my expectations (considering we were largely distracted with running the in-person hackathon). We're going to focus on making the online hackathon even better next time - and probably have an online-only hackathon in early 2019, with a lot more tools for participants and judges.

dannyddore7 karma

Hi Quincy! Thank you for developing FCC, as it has helped me gain so many skills in full-stack development and software engineering!

I don’t know how big of a background you have in data analytics and/or data science, but have you and your team ever through of launching a service similar to FCC but for Data Analysis and/or Data Science?

I know there is the Data Visualization module on FCC, but I am curious if a Data Analytics/Science learning service has ever been a thought and/or a project in the making.

quincylarson20 karma

We are working on adding a data science certification. First we want to get our Python curriculum live and our Statistics curriculum.

Statistics is imho the most important skill that most people don't learn in high school/college (other than coding itself). And creating this curriculum will unlock a ton of additional subjects we can teach.

These will be optional certifications that will probably be about 300 hours of coursework each, including tested projects. We're shooting for sometime in 2019 for these.

Cred2Skep5 karma

Hi Quincy which is your favourite book? fiction and non-fiction.

quincylarson6 karma

My favorite book as a kid was Snow Crash. I was completely obsessed with the concept of "The Librarian" who was like the ultimate just-in-time teacher AI.

The freeCodeCamp.org community is focused on the obstacles right in front of us, but our long-term vision is some sort of system like The Librarian who can not only give you facts like Wikipedia can, but can drop you into an environment where you can immediately apply a skill and get a deeper understanding of it.

We already do that with coding fundamentals, and eventually we'll do it with subjects like math, economics, and natural languages too. All of this may sound crazy - you're a coding website! - but we're thinking decades into the future and what will be possible.

It's all about the tight feedback loop and the core gameplay element of step-by-step problem solving. That's how freeCodeCamp will get to The Librarian.

sheibuck5 karma

I currently only have an Android phone (& not a lot of money for a laptop). How much will this hinder me learning coding/using freecodecamp?

quincylarson10 karma

Coding on your phone is a pain in the ass, but it's possible. For some inspiration, here's a kid from Nigeria who built an entire production web app on his phone - a Nokia feature phone! He didn't have a laptop but he made it work. He now works for an MIT-based startup. https://medium.freecodecamp.org/how-i-went-from-programming-with-a-feature-phone-to-working-for-an-mit-startup-40ca3be4fa0f

By the way, our current mobile web UI looks pretty bad, but we're going to merge this pull request pretty soon: https://github.com/freeCodeCamp/freeCodeCamp/pull/34602

ProfessorImprobable5 karma

The amount of content on FCC has gone from manageable to daunting to totally overwhelming over the years. Have you considered paring it back down to essentials?

quincylarson6 karma

If you focus on the core freeCodeCamp curriculum it's manageable.

Yes, it's 1,800 hours of coding challenges and projects. But keep in mind you're learning an entire new skill set for a complicated new career.

We plan to continue to publish tons of supplementary courses and tutorials for more experienced devs to dive into. A lot of people want to learn machine learning, game development, and other topics outside of our core certifications. And that desire to learn new things is very much a good thing.

But first things first, you will want to learn the basics and get your first developer job. That's what the core curriculum is for.

ProfessorImprobable0 karma

That's basically a year of full-time study, which is on-par with the classroom hours for major classes in a proper degree and makes a 12 week immersive seem tame by comparison. I've stopped recommending FCC as the first stop for friends who want to learn coding because none of the curious get past that number. There needs to be something between hour-of-code and this-is-your-life-now.

quincylarson5 karma

If someone tells you learning to code is easy, they are probably trying to sell you something.

Learning to code is hard. It is a serious commitment of time and energy.

freeCodeCamp's curriculum is a proven path to a first developer job, and a big part of why it works is because the community understands that learning to code is hard work and there are a lot of subjects that you just have to cover.

zzeroda5 karma

Hi Quincy!, What is your ultimate goal in your life?
What are your vision with FCC and things you have done so far?

quincylarson15 karma

My ultimate goal in life is to help as many people as possible learn to code so everyone can make use of these mainframes we're now carrying around in our pockets.

As of 2018, machines do most of the work. But only a few people are able to tell those machines what to do.

Also, as you may have noticed, jobs are getting automated. Employment numbers here in the US look good but Amazon will only need warehouses full of people for so long before they've automated most of the work.

Also, in fields like law, a single lawyer who knows how to use technology can do the work of 10 lawyers. More of the work will be done by fewer and fewer people.

At the same time, there's so much work that needs to be done that nobody's doing. We can dramatically increase GDP and make society so much better than it is now. But only if we have people who know how to use the contemporary tools to get the work done.

So my life goal is basically to blunt the effects of technological unemployment long enough for us to reach a period of abundance. Governments should be doing this, but it's too big a risk to hope. We need to take action and educate ourselves and educate our neighbors so we can overcome these fundamental challenges that come with rapid technological change.

JROS_NZ5 karma

Are there plans to release more challenges/curriculum on FCC? (What kind of courses/languages?)

Apart from more challenges/curriculum, what are some future plans for FCC?

Thanks for FCC, it helped me and continues to help me tremendously and I find your weekly 5 links very beneficial as well.

quincylarson13 karma

Yes - we're working on a Python curriculum that will cover algorithms, data structures, and basic scripting in Python. The challenge has been getting everything to run client-side in the browser (no server interaction = no latency). We have a proof of concept and have started working on the coding challenges.

Also, thanks for the kind words about the 5 links email. For anyone reading this who doesn't get my weekly 5 links email, here are the links I'm sending out this week (emails are going out through Mail for Good as we speak:

  1. Learn JavaScript - our free 134-part video course for beginners (3.5 hour watch): https://www.freecodecamp.org/n/j4Va5cR1p

  1. Learn penetration testing, from beginner to advanced. We cover Ethical Hacking concepts like CSRF, XSS, Brute Force Attacks, SQL Injection, and more in this free video course (3 hour watch): https://www.freecodecamp.org/n/pena5cR1p

  1. Amazingly, 1 out of every 200 developers is completely blind. Here's how freeCodeCamp is helping teach even more blind people how to code (4 minute read): https://medium.freecodecamp.org/c47c68d4a237

  1. Even in an active war zones in Afghanistan, thousands of people are coming together to learn to code and expand their careers using freeCodeCamp (4 minute read): https://medium.freecodecamp.org/d553719579e

  1. Here are 670 free online programming and computer science courses you can start in December (browsable list): https://medium.freecodecamp.org/a90149ac6de4

slovaph4 karma

Hi Quincy! Thanks for FCC.

As a Spanish guy trying to become a Full-Stack Developer I've found not a lot of people, including recruiters, from around here have any knowledge about FCC, and they even underestimate it, since they think it's just some online course.

So far I've only completed a little part of the whole thing, but I'm sure it won't be an easy way!

From what I've read on forums and stuff it's much more appreciated over there in United States, and people are getting jobs by showing their non-profit projects and FCC certification.

Are you aware of any non-US students getting jobs thanks to FCC certificate?

quincylarson7 karma

According to our LinkedIn Alumni Group, there are 674 freeCodeCamp alumni in Spain who are now working as developers: https://www.linkedin.com/school/free-code-camp/people/

Regarding recruiters and employers, it takes time for hiring practices to evolve and for people to hear of new learning tools and certifications. freeCodeCamp.org is still very new.

But that's not stopping people from going out and getting jobs anyway, on the basis of the skills they can demonstrate during interviews.

m1n74 karma

What code editor theme are you using?

quincylarson5 karma

Right now I just use the stock VS Code theme and the stock Sublime theme. I believe the Webstorm theme I use is called "Dracula" or something like that. A night theme.

SuperGirl4323 karma

Hi Quincy :)

Thank-you for all the hard work that you've put into FCC! It's amazing! I'm just starting to learn HTML and there's SO many free resources for web development. What's the best approach to learn web dev? Do you recommend we stick to one resource to learn and then use other resources if needed to clarify something? Or read the same thing about 10 different ways using different resources - which sounds a bit excessive actually lol! I was just thinking of using FCC & Colt Steele Web development course - do you think that is enough to get a solid understanding and landing a junior job? Sorry if this is rambling on a bit, thanks in advance! :)

quincylarson1 karma

There are a ton of great resources out there, and I recommend you use as many as you so fit.

freeCodeCamp can be a core resource and you can branch out from there. For example, our core curriculum focuses specifically on coding itself - if you want to learn relational database design or DevOps or topics like that - or even basic computer science - I recommend you try some of the many excellent courses for that. We just published a big list of them a few days ago here: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/a90149ac6de4

Also, we have a reviews section of our forum where we review learning resources (that Colt Steele course you mentioned is a perennial favorite!) If you do use some other resources, you should review them here: https://www.freecodecamp.org/forum/c/reviews?order=views

_paulywill3 karma

Quincy, thanks for doing this!

We've talked once and appreciated being a moderator for some of the PRs. I highly encourage others to check out the chatroom: https://gitter.im/FreeCodeCamp/Contributors

In one of your podcast episodes, you mentioned that before you made the career switch to starting FCC you started the habit of saving more money and learning to live off half of every paycheck.

What were some of the others habits or thing you did or had to tackle when you made the decision to leave teaching?

Was being a teacher very stable? Did you walk away from a pension or other safety nets?

How do you balance family time these days?

quincylarson4 karma

Yes - I was a compulsive saver and I still am.

This may sound crazy, but when I left my school director position to focus on learning to code full time, I had about 5 years worth of runway saved up. Meaning me and my wife could have done nothing for 5 years and kept our lifestyle as it was (assuming neither of us had a catastrophic health issue).

I didn't have a pension or anything - just money in index funds.

A lot of people thought I was crazy for leaving my "stable" school director job. But 6 years later, that school was shuttered and the staff were all laid off.

There is no such thing as a stable job. There's no sure thing. I'm sure a lot of bureaucrats in the Soviet Union thought they were set for life right up to the end of the regime.

Inaction is often riskier than action, and it would have been for me had I not started expanding my skills into software development.

Bravosseque3 karma

Hello! First, all the more congrats on your project! It has helped me re-introduce to the world of programming starting from December last year and I've been staying on it (holy crap, it's been almost a year?)... It has helped me find relating to other hobbies and it really made me having these career choices and all. Anyways, enough about me, let's ask you.

Dogs or cats?

What would be your situation without freeCodeCamp? Or at least can you imagine yourself if you didn't started it in the first place?

quincylarson1 karma

Dogs or cats?

Babies!

It's hard to imagine what my life would be like without freeCodeCamp because aside from having kids and switching cities a couple times, freeCodeCamp has really been the past 4 years of my life.

I like to think that if freeCodeCamp.org hadn't gained traction and been embraced by the developer community, I would have continued building educational tools (I built several before freeCodeCamp that nobody cared about).

I decided during grad school that I wanted to devote my life to education, and then at age 31 I further narrowed that to technology education. I like to think I would have kept that focus and not been tempted away to fields that weren't my calling. But then again, I do have a family to provide for and if push came to shove, I would do what I needed to do to provide for my family.

I feel incredibly fortunate that I can pursue my passion of helping people learn about technology and advance their careers while simultaneously raising kids. I take none of this for granted - that's for sure.

Onepopcornman3 karma

So can you talk about how your service compares to other free online tools? (How do you see your site differentiating from others?)

For open and free resources what have you learned from other educational services and how do you think new technology will change how we approach education in the future?

quincylarson3 karma

Some ways freeCodeCamp.org is different from most other resources for learning to code:

- It's completely free and ad-free. We're a donor-supported nonprofit.

- Our curriculum is comprehensive and challenging (1,800 hours of interactive coding challenges and projects + thousands of hours of interview prep challenges)

- We give free verified certifications to people who complete the required projects

- Everything is open source, meaning that it is constantly getting better. For example, we last updated the curriculum 6 hours ago. That's how fast we can iterate. You can see our GitHub project here.

To answer your second question: as a teacher and former school director, I don't know how much new technology itself will change education in the near future. I'm a bit skeptical of "ed tech" since so little of it is developed by teachers themselves. The US spends half of its ed tech budget on smart boards, for example, and I don't think those really move the needle in terms of learner outcomes.

But I am confident that new teaching methods - like the coding challenges with a tight feedback loop and peer-driven learning we use on our forum - will make a big difference. And there are tons of teachers out there with new processes and new approaches that can be implemented using existing technology. That's what I'm excited about.

gauravano3 karma

Hi Quincy!
I started my developer journey in summer 2017 with Ruby on Rails. I targetted GSoC after that and completed it this year. As JavaScript is trending and most jobs require knowledge of node.js, etc. So, I wanted to learn MEAN/MERN too and was confused if FreeCodeCamp is right for me?
(I made a MEAN app with DB and deployment in just a week but wasn't convinced that I got it well)

Also, do you think one can call himself a Full-Stack developer after completing all the sections of FCC?

quincylarson7 karma

Awesome! Rails is amazing and has a great community around it. I am a former Rails developer and still think it's a great tool to use to build production web apps.

freeCodeCamp can help you learn full stack JavaScript (MERN and MEAN are pretty similar - we cover React in depth and you can learn Angular on the side using this free video course if you want: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OHbjep_WjQ

And yes - if you complete all 6 freeCodeCamp certifications, you can confidently call yourself a full stack developer. You will have built 10 front end projects, dozens of algorithms, 5 data visualization projects, and 10 APIs. We even give you a verified Full Stack Developer Certification if you complete all the other 6 certifications.

SGMuff3 karma

freeCodeCamp is a nonprofit, yes? Do you have a strategic plan? If so, do you share it? Thanks

quincylarson6 karma

Yes - we're a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit.

When you say "strategic plan" are you referring to a specific document? (I am new to running NGOs and still learning a lot of the meta lingo).

If by strategic plan, you mean a plan in general, yeah - we want to help billions of people learn to code over the next 20 years. And we're doing that by building free open source programming curricula, and maintaining a friendly, inclusive developer community: https://www.freecodecamp.org/forum

abhijeetps3 karma

Hey Quincy, first of all, thank you for delivering this amazing platform. :)

My question is basically about The Future of Web Development.

We all know how NodeJS is ruling the web currently and is expected to grow a lot.

What do you think about Deno and how will it influence the future web? How long would it take for deno to occupy this market? And what would happen about the curriculum of freeCodeCamp when Deno will get popular?

quincylarson5 karma

As the person who runs the /r/deno subreddit, I'm extremely bullish on Deno. Ryan Dahl is a genius and I think he learned a ton creating Node that he'll now apply to Deno.

If you already know Node, I think it will be pretty easy to switch to Deno. Node is already used so widely that it will be used for decades to come (even Cobol is still used by a lot of organizations today!) So we'll keep teaching Node until there's a clear inflection point in Deno adoption by employers.

ronnieboy_73 karma

Hi Quincy,

I'm working as a devops engineer in a startup mainly on the operations side. I'm not from CS background, so whatever I do it in the work is by understanding the stuff at high level and implement it.

I realized that I should learn coding, so I picked Python. Though I understand the python concepts and could write scripts, I see the difference in understanding of systems/products between me and the developers are so huge.

What would you suggest me to get my foundations right?

quincylarson2 karma

I recommend starting at the beginning of the freeCodeCamp.org curriculum and working through it in order. This will give you broad exposure to programming, upon which you can later build more specialized skills.

I also recommend taking some free online university computer science courses. We just published a list of 670 CS courses that are starting this month: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/a90149ac6de4

Kiriranchelo3 karma

Did you expect this project to be so big? Or what were your thoughts at the very beginning¿

quincylarson10 karma

I hoped it would be big, but I had already built a few technology education projects that no one cared about before I built freeCodeCamp.org, so my expectations were tempered.

Needless to say, once I saw freeCodeCamp was getting traction I put all my time and resources into it. The community started to coalesce around the open source project, and that was a huge breakthrough. But I can never rest on my laurels. There is so much work to be done, and the community has so much potential.

tehGeko3 karma

What do you think is the best way to go about asking questions and learning what you don't know in a given situation? Broad question, I know. But after using FCC for months and finishing my degree, I started my first job as a developer in January at 30, and I learned so much early on, but it seems hard to communicate what I do / don't know in any given situation.

quincylarson7 karma

First of all, congratulations on starting your first job as a developer!

To answer your question: you have to choose your questions wisely, as your colleagues WILL judge you based on the types of questions you ask.

I recommend following the Read-Search-Ask method:

- Read the error message / failing test. If you still can't figure it out...

- Search around on Google / Stack Overflow and see if you can find a solution yourself. If you still can't figure it out...

- Ask for help. Figure out whom you think you should ask and make it clear that you've already put in a good faith effort to answer the question yourself. Don't interrupt a developer who has their headphones on. Try to catch them on their way back from the bathroom or kitchen, or ask them at lunch.

I know this sounds like a lot of extra work, and that it may take longer to get unstuck, but people will respect you for it, and you will become more resourceful yourself.

I slowly learned this on my first job.

Open office plans are widely decried by developers because they enable the types of people who don't follow this sort of advice - the people who just immediately ask a question as soon as it pops into their head. But if you're mindful of your colleagues' time and their need to focus, you will be able to get your questions answered and gain respect at the same time, regardless of how your office is set up.

scissorsneedfoodtoo2 karma

Hey Quincy, hope everything's been going well since you and your family moved to China. Quentin is so cute!

I just have a couple of questions. First, where do you see freeCodeCamp in the next 5 years? Is there anything that you would like to see in the curriculum, the platform, or the organization as a whole in that time?

Second, I didn't know that you were into retro gaming. What's your favorite game / console?

quincylarson3 karma

Living in China is great, though it's also complicated. My wife grew up here and we have an extensive family here, and we wanted my daughter to go to an all-Chinese school and get the full immersion experience (she's the only westerner in a pre-school of 300 students!)

Where will freeCodeCamp be in 5 years? We should have a much larger curriculum, a much larger community of contributors, and a ton more in-person study groups (there are currently 2,000 in cities around the world but only a small proportion of those meet every week to code together).

My favorite retro gaming console is the Super Nintendo. It removed a lot of the major limitations of the original NES (limited sprites, colors, on-screen characters). And there are so many great games on the system, including Super Metroid and A Link To the Past, as well as less-well-known classics like Metal Warriors and Tetris Attack.

I picked up an SNES classic the morning after Quentin was born. I couldn't sleep and was like - oh that comes out in a few hours! Me and this other guy ran into one another in the Walmart parking lot at 6 a.m. and raced each other to get to the electronics counter. They ended up having exactly two SNES classics left!

scissorsneedfoodtoo2 karma

That sounds great, and your daughter must be quite the celebrity! Has she been enjoying pre-school there?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I read some of your other responses about the curriculum and am excited for what's to come. The statistics course sounds really interesting. And I hear you about the in-person study groups. There's a small group here that I should have reached out to months ago.

Glad to hear that you managed to get an SNES classic! Have you modded yours? Seems like it's really easy to add roms to it, so you could play through Metal Warriors and Tetris Attack again!

quincylarson1 karma

Yes - I've modded it and have spent many an evening playing those games with my brother!

codingideas2 karma

In the past you've expressed that you wanted to add python to the course. Do you have any plans to do that still and how can someone contribute to making that a reality?

quincylarson1 karma

Yes - we have a proof of concept (Python tests running in the browser so no need to run on a server and send the result back). We're hoping to have the full Python certification and all its coding challenges and projects live some time in 2019.

hessproject2 karma

Hi Quincy,

I got the front end certification back in 2015 while I was in college and unhappy with my major. It helped me get my first software job (and second, and third...). So thanks for that.

For my question: As you know your original curriculum was based around AngularJS, which faded a bit after the switch to Angular 2 and the rise of smaller front end libraries like React.

What is your process for choosing your curriculum? Eg. teaching relevant information and not outdated technologies or, on the other end of the spectrum, a fad/flavor of the week technology?

quincylarson1 karma

Congrats on your certification and your subsequent developer jobs!

You should write about your experience and lessons learned on the Getting a Developer Job section of the forum. This will be a huge boost to everyone out there who's still facing the initial job search.

To answer your question, we look at macro hiring data and ask employers what they want as well. Then we make an informed decision about what to include in the curriculum. New tools come out every day, but few of them get the broad embrace that something like Node.js or React has gotten. Other than dropping Angular in favor of React, the freeCodeCamp curriculum hasn't switched tools that much over the past few years. And we may eventually add a supplemental Angular section in the future. We're still publishing tons of articles on Angular, and full-length video courses like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OHbjep_WjQ

aenkirch2 karma

Why did you choose to teach React in place of Angular as a front-end technology in your course ?

quincylarson6 karma

We originally taught Angular but React set the world on fire and we felt we should switch. We were already using React internally ourselves, and we thought React was a lot simpler to teach, too.

If you want to learn Angular, we just published a 6-hour YouTube course on it last month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OHbjep_WjQ

We may create an interactive curriculum for Angular as an elective in the future. I have a lot of respect for the project and think it will have staying power for many years to come. We just didn't want people to have to learn both libraries before they got their first developer job.

heluva_guy2 karma

Hello Quincy,

Really love Fcc. What is the advice that you would give for today's programmers ?

quincylarson1 karma

Write code every day, and hang out with other people who code.

This way you'll keep your skills sharp, while also staying motivated and building your network.

dipunj2 karma

Hi Quincy,

Thank u for the AMA.

I am a final year undergraduate. I want to know what is the fastest way to go from absolute zero to workable knowledge of a web framework/library. Most of my juniors too ask me the same. There are so many web technologies, it's really overwhelming to know them all. Which one should we learn first? What's the entry point?

Secondly, what is one most important objective you would keep in mind while designing software (not just the UI, but software as a whole).

Thanks

quincylarson3 karma

As far as deciding which tools to learn, if you're in a hurry and unsure, learn the tools we cover in the freeCodeCamp core curriculum first. We choose these tools based on constant feedback from employers and from experimenting with these tools ourselves, and they represent a "shortest path" to a developer job.

If you want to learn a new tool from absolute zero, the best way imho is to go to hackathon and use that tool in your project's stack. Hackathons are incredible resources for quickly learning and applying new skills and tools. You'll have external pressure, and an externally determined deadline, and hopefully you'll also have well-intentioned developers in the trenches with you riding a similar learning curve with the new tool.

derekcanmexit2 karma

What do you like best about coding? What motivating tips do you have for someone in their late 40's that would like to start learning how to code? How have mature students done with freeCodeCamp? Do you have any success stories to share?

quincylarson2 karma

Learning to code in your late 40s probably isn't that much different from learning to code in your 30s like I did. The main thing I struggled with was motivation to keep pushing up against misinformed social expectations.

There are tons of people in their late 40s and beyond who are learning to code. Hollywood has this image of the 20-something developer who just graduated (usually from Stanford). But the reality is people enter the field from all kinds of backgrounds. To demonstrate this I put together a list a while back of 300+ devs who got their first developer job at age 30+ - some of them as old as in their 50s. I hope you find this inspiring: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/stories-from-300-developers-who-got-their-first-tech-job-in-their-30s-40s-and-50s-64306eb6bb27

kmetek2 karma

Hi Quincy: will you guys make any Python or PHP course?

quincylarson1 karma

Here's a 5 hour PHP course we recently published: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK_JCtrrv-c

And here's a 4 hour Python course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfscVS0vtbw

We are working on a fully interactive Python curriculum + certification for 2019. If we do something like this for PHP, it will be a ways off in the future.

ImmortalBadger882 karma

I am a beginner, and was wondering what projects are good for beginners? Also, what made you want to start up freeCodeCamp.org?

quincylarson2 karma

All of the projects in freeCodeCamp's curriculum are designed for beginners. They have example projects demonstrating their user stories, and they have test suites to go with them. That's the best place to start imho.

What made me want to start freeCodeCamp.org? I wrote this blog post just a few weeks after I launched freeCodeCamp and it explains my goals: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/free-code-camp-s-first-month-9bed140da1f4

qwertyisdead2 karma

Do you have any plans for a mobile app? I’m a graphic designer who never knew what I wanted to do until I came across free code camp. I absolutely love it.

quincylarson2 karma

We're working on an open API to access public freeCodeCamp data programmatically (by the way, everyone's data is private by default, and they opt in to making parts of their profile public).

Once that API is done, people will be able to create mobile apps and other tools around freeCodeCamp.

For now we're working on a better mobile web experience: https://github.com/freeCodeCamp/freeCodeCamp/pull/34602

FireBird8972 karma

Hi Quincy, any plans to launch a java/j2ee based backend course in the near future?

I have used nodeJs tutorials and found them really useful. Am looking for soemthing for Java?

quincylarson1 karma

For the core curriculum, we plan to stick with Node.js for now. But there are a ton of great Java/J2EE resources out there.

A good place to start is our 9 hour Java course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grEKMHGYyns

From there, I recommend digging into these free Java ebooks: https://github.com/EbookFoundation/free-programming-books/blob/master/free-programming-books.md#java

rawriely2 karma

Hi Quincy! So happy to see you do an AMA!

What are your thoughts on React Native (vs learning distinct languages for Andriod/Apple apps)? Do you think it's here to stay?

quincylarson3 karma

Yes, I think React Native is here to stay. We're working on an interactive React Native elective at the moment.

This said, React Native isn't perfect. You can still get way better performance out of native Objective C / Android.

But developing in React Native has a lot of advantages, such as the possibility of a single shared codebase across platforms, and less painful app updates.

I recommend listening to this podcast episode, which takes an objective look at the state of React Native and does a post-mortem on why Airbnb decided to ditch React Native, though their team still seems interested in using it in the future: https://softwareengineeringdaily.com/2018/09/24/show-summary-react-native-at-airbnb/

BurgerPleaseYT2 karma

Quincy, I must know, what's your favorite burger joint?

quincylarson1 karma

For fast food chains, definitely Freddy's.

If you had asked me in 2017, I would have said In & Out. But I recently tried Freddy's is much better, and they have these insane pumpkin pie concretes during the holidays: https://freddysusa.com/

iamaurelius2 karma

Hi u/quincylarson! I've always wondered, how do you manage to stay on top of everything? As in, every time I have interacted with you, you replied promptly. I find this awesome, but with the scale and traction FCC achieved, I still find it incredible. Do you have set routine of things you do or avoid doing to not get distracted? Do you dedicate most of your waking hours to FCC and its communications?

On a separate note, do you see a lot of people having been long-term unemployed getting jobs after getting proficient through FCC? As many more people are going to be in said position in the near future, what do you think is the best way to communicate this to an employer in an interview and when first approaching them to actually get an interview?

Thank you so much to you and to all the team for what you do. I have seen you grow from almost the very beginning of FCC and I am thrilled to see your continued success. Keep it up!

quincylarson2 karma

The article ArielLeslie linked to is a big part of it: Live asynchronously

You can work smart, but at some point it becomes a question of priorties. For me, helping people is my mission in life. Rather than trying to be on the front lines and write the code for medical devices and the code for self driving cars myself, my goal is to help more people get into those fields.

You can't do everything at web scale. Sometimes people have unique questions that nobody has asked before. For me that means spending hours each week replying to hundreds of emails answering questions from fellow developers and developers-in-training. But it's all just part of being a teacher and running a community. I enjoy it.

Mi_Hyung_Lo2 karma

Any plans for a Java or C# curriculum for those whose communities only have enterprise developer positions?

quincylarson5 karma

We have published in-depth courses on both C++ and Java.

9 hour Java course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grEKMHGYyns

4 hour C++ course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLnPwxZdW4Y

Our core curriculum will remain focused on full-stack JavaScript, though we're creating a Python elective and may eventually create electives for other programming languages.

Here_We_Are_Again_2 karma

Hey Quincy,

As I understand, FCC is a team of 5 core members. Do you/FCC intend to hire more developers anytime soon?

quincylarson12 karma

That's right - our staff is just me, Abbey, Beau, Mrugesh, and Stuart - all of whom were long-time volunteer contributors before we brought them on full-time.

We have a huge volunteer contributor team and they are what makes all of this possible.

We are a tiny nonprofit that has a budget of around $200,000 / year, yet serves millions of people each month.

To give you some perspective, Udacity is a venture-backed startup valued at $1 Billion, and has hundreds of employees. Yet freeCodeCamp has more monthly visitors than they do.

The main thing constraining us from expanding our full time team is our budget. If we can get more people to donate to freeCodeCamp.org, we will be able to hire more of our long-time open source contributors to work full time on freeCodeCamp.

iflylo011 karma

Is this something I can do on my MacBook? Or do I need a windows? Sorry I don’t know anything about coding

notAnotherJSDev7 karma

I went through the freeCodeCamp curriculum awhile ago. You definitely don't need any particular kind of computer to work on the freeCodeCamp curriculum, you just need a web browser!

Also, if you've already got a MacBook you're more than set for when you move away from doing everything inside a browser to working in a terminal.

quincylarson4 karma

That's correct - you can go through freeCodeCamp.org's curriculum right in your browser. You can also clone the repository and go through it on your local machine if you want. For the projects, you can pull in the tests through a CDN and build the projects wherever you want. Glitch, CodePen, or even GitHub Pages / Netlify.