Free Code Camp's Summit December 2015

Free Code Camp’s December Summit

Here is a summary for those who don’t have time to watch the full 90 minutes:

–New Curriculum–

-Nothing will change up to and including the Front End Development Certificate.

-The old Full Stack Certification will now be the Backend certification. This will include the current backend stuff (including Back End Projects) and will also include 5JSON/API development Back End Projects. Advanced Algorithms will be included here.

-React.js will replace Angular/js and will be in the Data Visualization Certification as will SASS and D3.js. This certification will include React/SASS projects and D3 projects.

-Full Stack Development Certification comes AFTER completion of the three other certification AND four non-profit projects. Two of those will be new projects and two will be maintaining/extending legacy code.

-Interview Preparation includes interview prep, whiteboard prep, and interviewing other campers, live.

-Some changes centered around the new curriculum will be live in a few days.


-@SaintPeter is creating ~60 new Javascript Challenges.

-Also creating new ‘checkpoints’ that will act like mini-Algorithms during the Challenges. They will be ‘blank page’ challenges that are intended to ease campers in the transition from Challenges to Algorithms.

-There is a ‘challenge-o-matic’ challenge tool that anyone will be able to use to create challenges and contribute to FCC.


-‘Hikes’ are short videos that cover basic computer science concepts. They will be expanded to any topic that is relevant to programming including math, engineering, etc. The hope is that campers will contribute videos on additional topics that they feel are relevant.

-One goal of FCC is to make the entire curriculum available offline. @QuincyLarson discussed the idea of having Raspberry Pis loaded up with FCC and distributed.

–Community Analysis–

-There is a FCC Data Science Chat on Gitter where some cool analysis about FCC is being posted.

-FCC Labs has some cool apps that you can use to look at some of the data visualization that has been built so far.

–New FCC Wiki–

-Wiki was moved to a new repo due to spam. Campers who want to contribute can make a pull request on The Repo.

-The new wiki itself is available on the Beta Site.


-There are small tasks that campers can contribute to. Issues marked as ‘help-wanted’ in the Main FCC Repo/Issues are minor issues like typos that anyone can fix. Just do a pull request and make the fixes. Instructions for how to contribute are in the Main FCC Repo

-Why React.js over Angular.js? It’s simpler to learn and to teach, and ‘more fun’ to write in. Another reason is that FCC feels that there is a ‘critical mass’ behind React.js, based on lots of big names moving their codebases into React.js. Wordpress, for example, is changing and represents 25% of the internet. Wide adoption of React.js translates to more employment opportunities. Angular.js is much more popular right now, but @QuincyLarson thinks that React.js will overtake Angular.js. Angular 2 will be coming out soon, and is a complete overhaul from Angular 1; the only thing the same is the name. @SaintPeter added that the new Wiki Site is written in React.js and very responsive.

-Is FCC sufficient to make me a web developer? @SaintPeter : No. FCC provides a framework and linear path to guide your learning but won’t provide everything to everyone. Don’t feel like you’re cheating on FCC if you go to other resources to supplement your learning.@QuincyLarson: FCC is pulling ahead of its peers in terms of being exhaustive and we would like FCC to be as comprehensive as possible in the future. That said, of course you should supplement your learning with other sites. One of FCC’s primary focuses are the projects (I assume Front End Projects and Back End Projects?) So use other materials if you need to, but come back to FCC to use that knowledge to work through the projects.

-Since SASS is being added, is there a chance to add an HTML preprocesser like Jade? @BerkeleyTrue - Maybe, but it doesn’t seem like it would add much to the curriculum.

-How many campers have gotten jobs as a direct result of working with FCC? @BerkeleyTrue - It’s at least a dozen. @QuincyLarson - We can’t keep hard numbers because we don’t do matchmaking, so we rely on people to tell us when they’ve gotten jobs, but it’s at least a hundred. Alot of people get jobs before they finish our curriculum.

-In light of the new curriculum, what happens to people who already have a Full Stack Developer Certification? @QuincyLarson - There’s no fair way to deal with the 25 people who have the certification now. He will contact them directly to apologize, but the current Full Stack Developer Certification will be converted to the Back End Developer Certification, after they complete the five new API challenges. Hoping that this is the last time the length of the curriculum changes.

-Will FCC touch on Node modules like Gulp, Bower, Yeoman, etc? @SaintPeter - By the time you’re ready to use them, you should know enough to teach yourself. Introducing them early in the program is too overwhelming. /u/quicnylarson - I’d like to see Hike topics on these.

-How do you see Reddit being used by campers? @QuincyLarson - Reddit is a place for our community to share ideas and ask questions. The FCC community is spread over many different platforms (e.g. Gitter chat, Facebook, meetups, etc). Reddit is a great way for people to share stories, ask questions, etc., to the ENTIRE community at once.

As an aside, @QuincyLarson pulled up A stackoverflow page and discussed the trend of more and more software developers being self taught and/or coming from non CS fields.

-Last month, you said that about 200 people had finished the Front End Developer Certificate. Has this changed and at what rate are people earning this certificate? @BerkeleyTrue - 311. @QuincyLarson - The pace has picked up. If you have completed that certificate, internet high-five. 913 people have pledged donations to nonprofit organizations.

As an aside, /u/quicnylarson discussed future plans to expand the number of nonprofit organizations that campers can pledge to for their nonprofit pledge. No specific numbers, just that it will be expanding in the future.

-How can people hire FCC graduates? @QuincyLarson - Employers can use the Free Code Camp Job Board to post positions. FCC wants only high quality jobs from high quality employers, so they are currently charging $1000 to post a job on the job board. FCC is still trying to figure out how to market to employers and help them understand what they will get when they hire an FCC graduate. Only about 5% of people in the U.S. learn to code compared to 100% in China. Already, software developer is the most common job in some U.S. states. Providing coding education to everyone for free is a big and ambitious goal. The job board (and its cost) is just another manifestation of that.

-If I’m an established developer, can I start work on nonprofit projects immediately? @QuincyLarson - No. Everyone who works on our nonprofit projects has to earn the Full Stack Development Certification first. Completing the program isn’t just about demonstrating ability, it’s also about demonstrating commitment to the program. It’s important that people who work on the nonprofits are dedicated and have put in the time and effort to get to that point; FCC doesn’t want people quitting half way through a project. @QuincyLarson pointed out that FCC is intentionally difficult and is probably among the most difficult coding resources around. Even people who have experience coding can take hours to complete a Front End Project or Back End Project. This is by design. @SaintPeter - As a reminder, all of the Challenges are optional (for everyone). If you have a coding background, you only have to complete the Algorithms, Front End Projects, and Back End Projects in order to get the certificates.

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