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I am Quincy Larson. Ask me anything.

Teacher and creator of freeCodeCamp.

freeCodeCamp is an open source and nonprofit organization that consists of an interactive learning web platform, chat rooms, publications, and local organizations that intend to make learning web development accessible to anyone.

Ask Quincy Larson about:

  • Learning to code
  • freeCodeCamp
  • Software development
  • Tech stacks
  • Non profits
  • Public Speaking

That was a blast everyone! Thank you for your thoughtful questions! I hope my answers help you in your coding journey 💻💪

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48 discussions

Why do online programming resources revolve so much around web tech (HTML, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby etc) but it's somewhat difficult to find good quality embedded systems programming resources or anything relating to bare metal programming? If there are some out there then what are they?

Server programming, for example, can relate to both web and bare metal programming but most of what is taught is only with higher level languages like Python and JS in the Node.JS runtime environment.

Most online programming resources are geared toward beginners, and high level scripting languages are a good place to start for that.

Another reason is that most developer jobs involve doing web development - if not for building web applications, at least for creating APIs that can be reached through the giant platform that is the internet.

There are jobs that focus mainly on using tools that are "closer to the metal" such as embedded systems, but in my experience, employers who are filling these positions are more likely to also require a traditional computer science and/or electrical engineering academic background. For example, defense contractors like SpaceX have lots of developers who work on propulsion software for rockets.

Still, there are some resources for learning these things outside of an academic environment. You might take a look at this giant list: https://github.com/EbookFoundation/free-programming-books

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What is your view on Facebook React License controversy? Do you think open source software should never change license once they are popular? 🤔

I am not a lawyer. My perspective on it is informed mainly through reading the thoughts of lawyers on this topic. But here goes.

A few weeks ago, a developer (who is not a lawyer) wrote a popular Medium article asserting that Facebook could use its BSD+ patents open source license - which is uses for React and some of its other open source libraries - to prevent you from suing them. So in theory, Facebook could compete directly with you and perhaps even misappropriate your intellectual property, and you wouldn't have good recourse.

Here's a link: https://medium.com/@raulk/if-youre-a-startup-you-should-not-use-react-reflecting-on-the-bsd-patents-license-b049d4a67dd2

That article has some thoughtful responses from lawyers who make this sound a lot less scary than the original author made it sound.

Also, a former Facebook employee said that it's not nearly as bad as it sounds and it's just there so that Facebook doesn't have to have their legal team review every commit to their open source projects.

Again, I'm not a lawyer. freeCodeCamp.org uses React and Redux, and may use GraphQL and other tools in the future. We are not planning on suing Facebook any time soon (I imagine that would be quite an expensive feat for a small donor-supported nonprofit) so this clause doesn't seem to have any immediate impact for us.

My advice is if you're really worried about it, talk with an IP lawyer.

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Hello Quincy!! :) First of all my question is unrelated to programming. You do so many things ranging from doing development, learning new technologies to handing such a big organization and your family too. What is your typical day like? What is the secret of your time managerial skills :D How do you spend your free time(if there is some :P)?

I work about 80 hours a week, but I work it at my own pace, according to my own schedule. The key is to try and make as many things asynchronous as possible. To the extent possible, I avoid getting on the phone or adding anything to my calendar.

Here's my calendar for this week:

https://www.evernote.com/l/Ar93JxkKoVxNlanIgDTJpNP6H2icPXJLjWQB/image.png

I stacked all my synchronous stuff on the same day so all the other days I can work uninterrupted.

I talk to dozens - sometimes hundreds - of people every day. But it's almost always through email or instant message. This way I can batch process everything.

This has the other benefit of being able to take a break at any point to play with my kids!

I've written more about living asynchronously here: https://medium.freecodecamp.com/live-asynchronously-c8e7172fe7ea

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What are your thoughts on developers calling themselves "Full stack developer"? Is it a real thing according to you?

Yes. Software development is becoming more generalist. Most people on development teams are expected to have wider exposure. These are often called "T-shaped" developers - deep in one specific field (say, cross browser compatibility), but with a broad complementary skillset. You can call these developers "full stack developers" or more commonly just "developers."

Increasingly, employers may expect developers to be familiar with concepts like UX design and DevOps as well.

The body of knowledge you're expected to have as a developer keeps growing. Luckily, the resources to learn these things get better and better all the time, and the tools themselves get easier to learn.

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Hi Quincy, thanks for everything you do. You rock! I have just one question for you -

What do you see as the future of tech education, say 5-10 years from now?

Thanks for your kind words, Hrishi!

I'm going to answer this specifically for continuing education for adults, which is where I've spent my career as an educator, and is whom freeCodeCamp is focused on helping.

Right now a lot of technology resources that used to be completely free are moving over to corporate training. This is a much more lucrative field than trying to help individual learners gain practical skills they can use to get a better job.

All of the original massive open online course programs seem to be moving in this direction.

I think that's great. Employers should invest in professional development for their employees, and these platforms are way better than what employers used to use for this purpose.

But there are also hundreds of millions of adults out there who would benefit tremendously to learn to code, and their employers aren't going to foot the bill for that.

So I see the rise of inexpensive (and in freeCodeCamp.org's case, completely free) resources that focus on helping busy people learn to code in a self-paced way.

These resources will continue to get more convenient and accessible.

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