Full Stack Cert Completed! I did it and you can too

Full Stack Cert Completed!

A little background: I graduated with a Computer Science degree in 2009. Coursework focused mainly on Java. There was 1 internet programming class, HTML, a little CSS, and very little JS. I knew generally what these things were but really I knew nothing about web dev.

Since graduating I’ve spent 10 years working on the hardware side of things. Sys Admin, networking, VMware etc. with a bit of SQL thrown in. I’m now 43 and looking to switch careers.

Starting Sept 2019 and finishing April 2020, Freecodecamp was a massive time commitment. I did it while employed full-time and balancing a family. As I completed my first couple projects, I thought they were embarrassingly bad. I wondered if web dev/design was really my thing?

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Looking back on all the projects I can see a clear advancement of things getting better. Things started to fall into place. Once I started on the 3rd section: Front End Libraries, I did a lot of research and decided I was going all in on React. Finishing the IS & QA projects, I’ve come a long way from those first bad websites. I even built React front ends for them (which wasn’t required).

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and the final project:
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If you are going through the course now, getting through it likely comes down to just this: investing the time. Not everything you need to know is included in the lessons/projects. READ, READ, and READ more. Frustration and feeling over worked may come with it, push through it and keep going, and the end will come into sight. YOU CAN DO IT!


I am on my way to the first cert. And it is inspiring to know this and boost up to read more. Congrats!

Well done mate @rbrewer_76. Your final projects are really nice. I’m almost finishing the last certification but I haven’t done any more than what the exercises asked for, like the way you implemented the front-end from scratch. Am feeling ashamed here hahahaha Congratulations again!

I actually wanted some advice on this, and seeing as you’ve completed it hopefully you can help.

I’ve just finished the first module’s theory and am starting with my first every projects. I have the desire to try and perfect these and make them look really good, but don’t want to spend forever and a day overreaching. Should I rather focus on the foundations of coding the site, and worry about appearance later down the line?


Thank you for sharing your valuable experience. :+1: :+1: :+1:

Now I am studying computer science and almost all subjects are the same as what you mentioned, I am interested in developing the web and almost I live the same situation, that you lived while learning. I have a question, did you rely on other sources while studying at Free Code Camp?

And if you explain more about your learning experience at Free Code Camp and what challenges did you encounter, how did you overcome them?

Best Regards,


I struggled with this at first too. As i went on and learned more i wanted to revisit and redo the first projects and make them better. It also became obvious the amount of work that was ahead to get to the finish line. I left the older projects alone and it also gave me a project list that i could look back on and see how much i was advancing.

The first projects are pretty basic. Don’t worry about it, soak in those basics and move on. I made a point that with each project i would expand and learn something new. Learn the basics, then learn flexbox and get REALLY good at it, then learn grid.

When you get to the 2nd section where you start learning javascript, the stuff you learn in section 1 will be put on hold. The javascript projects do not build websites. So however long that takes you to do, you will build no websites.

When you get to section 3, Front End design - this is where things really get the opportunity to expand. Not only will you have to remember what you learned back in section 1 but learn new tech that is not deeply presented by FCC. Lots of outside research and deciding what you want to learn. I spent a lot of time in this section trying to perfect my front ends (which is what i’m most interested in learning). But at some point you have to say enough, I’ve gotten what i set out to learn in this project, and it is time to continue on. For the next project, take what you learned and add something new to it. They will get better and better!


other sources: Definitely!
I actually read through all of w3schools HTML and CSS pages before i started FCC, and they are a great resource you can use throughout all of FCC.

I also spent an hour several evenings a week reading reddit javascript and react forums.

The first 2 sections of FCC are presented really well. They present most of what you need to know. w3schools is a great resource for the HTML/CSS part. Javascript is much different from Java. Things may feel familiar to you coming from java, but you will need to branch out and learn outside of FCC.

When you hit section 3: Front-End you will need to go to outside learning, alot. They present a few topics but those topics are very shallow. Decide what tech you are interested in, learn it, and build your projects with it.

I decided i wanted to learn React. What FCC presents for React is very small and honestly very hard to follow. But the same goes for whatever you want to learn: Bootstrap, Angular, Vue, whatever. FCC is only going to touch on it. You are going to have to go learn it. So with React, i read the documentation several times, read forums, read tutorials, watched tutorials, looked at pens - all trying to figure out how it all fit together. I felt like i hit a BIG wall here. None of it made a lot of sense and i could not see the bigger picture. So what was left to do? Go build that first React site and It took awhile. Each project i added to it learning new aspects of React and getting stronger at my CSS.

Here is the reality of FCC - it starts strong. They do a GREAT job at presenting the material and cover a lot of topics. Projects are well defined. As you get into further sections the quality drops. I don’t feel that the later sections convey what they need to. They are short, and dont really present what you need to work with. The projects become more and more confusing with their specifications and their tests don’t work.

Now, that doesn’t mean all is bad. The best part of it still is the structure. It gives you good projects to work on, but you will have to do a lot of outside research, and if you do so and can finish it, you WILL learn a lot.

Section 6 is very frustrating. This is the part of the course that i said, ‘you know? i could just stop here.’ Directions are bad, they provide you with bad project templates to use. Sometimes the things just don’t work. The quality of these sections drops so much compared to what you get in the first sections. You will need to use google to search these forums for the fixes on these projects and tutorials. Having done it, id say don’t worry about it too much, just do what it takes to get through the class portions and get to the projects. You will largely be using outside documentation to get through those projects. READ, READ, READ. By the time you get done with section 6, you will have learned a lot about backend work.

Be consistent, don’t set a time table. Just work through it and you will eventually get to the end!

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I felt about this in the second section, and then I started looking for broader sources to help me explain, and when searching always it appears that Free Code Camp is the best, and at that time I hesitate to leave it and follow another source.

After knowing this point, what is the thing to push you to continue the Free Code Camp?

Congratulations. I also started last year around the same time but i never went through the tutorials here on FCC. I would read mostly documentations and come here to do the projects and ask questions on the forum. I have completed three certificates so far but not having a prior IT/CS/SE background meant i had to progress slowly. I totally agree with you that most of the tutorials here just introduce you to the basics then you have to look for more content elsewhere if you need to have firm grasp.
I too completed all the Framework certification projects using React but i notice you can’t go far if you rely entirely on FCC tutorial without reading the documentation.

There is no reason to leave. You just need to use outside sources to augment your learning here. A lot. Like i said, the structure they provide you with is good. You don’t have to wonder what your next project is going to be. If you do them you will learn. FCC is just not going to give you everything you need to work with. You will need to do your own research.

Why did i push through with FCC? I want a career change, and on top of everyday life, I needed the structure. Instead of trying to figure out what kind of project i was going to do, and if it would be worth doing, etc, the whole path was laid out. I only had to do it. Even with the difficulties of the later sections, it IS a good course.

I understand from your words that you relied on FCC to define a path that directs you to your goal.

All Great truths! :muscle:

Thank you for letting us know the time frame it took you to get to your achieved full stack certification. It gives a perspective in how long we need to take the time to learn the skills in Full Stack.

@rbrewer_76 Well done!

I’ve just setup my profile and finished the HTML lessons. I’ve always been - let’s say - comfortable with computers, but coding is something almost entirely new to me and I find your post inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. did Ricky get his new mouse? :joy: