Back To My FreeCodeCamp Education

Image gotten from Pixabay

I really can’t remember when exactly I found out about Quincy Larson’s FreeCodeCamp. But records visible on my FreeCodeCamp profile page show I typed my first line of code on the platform on the 19th of January, 2016. But in retrospect I think that must have been the day I discovered the free online JavaScriptesque coding bootcamp. I dont imagine myself coming across such a gem and then saying “Hey maybe I’ll just start tomorrow”. Those were the new days!

Anyway, I started, liked it, then got tired and overwhelmed. But the ‘tired’ and ‘overwhelmed’ part was basically my own fault and lack of discipline to see the program through. I felt I didn’t really need Javascript(Silly me!) and I started drifting towards Python. Or maybe PHP, yeah I did that for a while, probably still doing PHP. So I was immediately becoming ‘productive’ with PHP at the expense of the Python I so longed to be good at. In case you don’t know, PHP has that effect on people. I didn’t even need to ‘learn’ the language, I was already spinning up basic websites and picking up some cool PHP CMSes like CouchCMS, making me more reluctant to actually go into the nitty gritty of the web’s most popular language.

Yesterday I realized I regret dropping out of FreeCodeCamp.

Karen Lamb says “In a year, you’ll wish you started today”. Funny that quote is the header image on my Twitter profile, yet today I look back at one year and six months ago and wish I never stopped. Yeah I started, but starting isn’t enough. You have to continue, and keep continuing, and keep on continuing some more.

Anyway I finally decided to become serious with Guido’s abstraction, and Its been going great. But deep down, I feel I’m not doing enough, and I need professional guidance at the very least. And so I reached out. A couple of days ago I was lounging on Medium when I came across this article : Use Django or end up building a django. It resonated with me so much that I knew I just had to talk to whoever this person was about my problems. Well, fortunately someone started sending messages with pigeons which ultimately led to the invention of email. Therefore I shot a mail across and waited. And I got a reply from Alireza Savand who wrote the post above, and has founded a bunch of startups and is most importantly, A Python guy!

It’s very easy to be mean or at best indifferent towards people you don’t know, and will most likely never come across, especially when they just shoot you an email out of the blue requesting for some part of your time. Time you don’t even have. But he replied so courteously and showed such deep interest and care that I was simply thrilled and became elated about my quest almost immediately.

After a few messages back and forth(Did I mention he was quick to reply?) he advised me on what to do based on my chosen software field. Which is basically the web. So I am to pick up where I left off from FreeCodeCamp because it is obvious, I can’t escape JavaScript if I am really serious about the web, and the FreeCodeCamp curriculum would harden my core programming skills which would be easily transferred as I forge on. But suddenly I don’t feel like I have to do it, now I actually want to do it. And after running around so many tutorials, books and videos I certainly have become better and faster at learning stuff, which is an advantage I have. According to Richard Muller in this Quora answer I also have an unfair advantage which is Motivation. And I intend to use all my advantages.

However, more water cannot be added to an already full cup, therefore, I am approaching FreeCodeCamp like a beginner and doing everything I have been asked irrespective of how trivial it might look. I am to continue like this till I get the frontend certificate, then I get more instructions. I am hyped, I am happy. Most importantly I am very, very grateful to Alireza for taking out the time and patience to talk and listen to a complete stranger. Some of you might be reading this and be like “Its not a big deal!” Well to me it is and I just wanna say Thank you Alireza.

If you’re a beginner and considering programming, I’ll suggest you go the FreeCodeCamp route for now. Not just cos they have an amazing teaching method with relevant content, or because they have an awesome community, or even because Quincy, the founder is awesome, but because the program has structure. The self-taught journey is hard, not just because you’re learning alone but because you’re being blown around by the learning material ‘wind’ and end up not actually doing or completing any program. FreeCodeCamp tries to mitigate that, and they are succeeding!

Thank you for reading this far