Ask anything to Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp is an open source community of busy people who learn to code and help nonprofits. Quincy, the creator of FCC, is here to answer any questions you might have. If you are someone who is learning to code, this is a great opportunity for you to get in touch with Quincy and have his insights.

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Thanks for creating Free Code Camp. How did such an amazing idea come to your mind and what motivated you to build it? I also have one more question. How to motivate people with disabilities to get into coding?

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Thanks Quincy. :)

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What new features are you planning to implement sooner and later in Free Code Camp?

We're moving all of FreeCodeCamp.com over to React. Berkeley Martinez (https://twitter.com/berkeleytrue) has been working on this for a couple months, and it's already live at http://beta.freecodecamp.com - check it out and if you discover any new bugs, create a GitHub issue and add the "beta" tag 😄

In the medium term, we are adding a multi-file editor. This is basically a simplified version of CodePen running right in our challenge framework. So you'll be able to build your projects right on FreeCodeCamp.com

And in the long term, we want to implement live pair programming on challenges, and a system that matches you with another camper in real time so you can pair program.

We are still early days (we just launched 21 months ago). There are so many things we will do with Free Code Camp.

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Thanks for FreeCodeCamp, I keep referring all my non-techie friends - who want to get into the field of programming, and web - to FCC. I have a couple of questions.

  • How did you start sourcing for the non-profits at the beginning of FCC, and where / from whom did that idea of "having sites built for non-profits" arise from?

  • What is the story behind the handle @ossia? :)

Hi Juanita,

Thank you for spreading the word about our open source community spread the word! 😄

Nonprofits seemed like a fairly obvious group of organizations who were chronically underfunded and who were often unable to attract expensive software engineers. Also, nonprofits are constantly under scrutiny to spend as much of their donations as possible on outcomes rather than administrative process.

In other words, they were a perfect candidate for pro bono code.

We attracted the attention of most of our early nonprofit partners through social media and our landing page: https://freecodecamp.com/nonprofits

Here's the story behind my Twitter handle @ossia:

I wrote a script to discover 5-letter dictionary words that weren't already taken. Among the few dozen words that hadn't been taken (or had been removed and recently freed-up) was ossia. I chose it because it started with OSS (Open Source Software) and because I loved the definition of the word - an alternative musical passage which may be played instead of the original passage.

I felt like this was symbolic of my decision to abandon the "safe" path of being a school director in a traditional brick-and-mortar school and attempting to become the teacher of thousands of people who wanted to learn to code.

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What technologies should I be familiar with if I want to contribute to the development of Free Code Camp?

First and foremost, you should be familiar with GitHub. There are a ton of ways you can contribute without even really knowing Node, Express, and JavaScript all that well.

Ideally, you'll want to get Free Code Camp running locally on your computer, which doesn't require so much understanding of Node/Express as it requires an ability to carefully follow directions (and our project is not unique in this regard).

I wrote a short guide a few days ago about getting started contributing to open source: https://www.quora.com/What-is-a-step-by-step-procedure-to-become-a-GitHub-open-source-developer-for-a-complete-newbie/answer/Quincy-Larson

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Thanks for doing this AMA Quincy, I have a lot of respect for Free Code Camp's mission!

I have a couple of questions:

1) I understand that you want to keep the learning free and open, but why not make a voluntary donation option directly to FCC for those that want to contribute (like you do for other nonprofits for motivation)? I for one would contribute.

2) What learning path/resources would you recommend for someone who wants to get into hybrid mobile apps?

In the spirit of keeping learning free and open, we'd rather not accept straight donations. You can support our community by getting books and services through our shop: https://www.freecodecamp.com/shop

You work hard to earn your money, and we want you to have something concrete in return to show for it.

As for learning paths for mobile apps, I would recommend focusing 100% on web development first. Then picking up React Native or Cordova will be much easier, and you will already understand the back end components, which are extremely important for mobile apps.

For example, even though Uber is mobile first, they have a sophisticated back end and make heavy use of Node and React. You can read more about that here: https://eng.uber.com/tech-stack-part-one/

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