How I learned to code in freeCodeCamp and cracked GSoC

As you might have known, Google announced the projects for this year’s Google Summer of Code last week, and I’ve been selected as a Student Developer under Rocket.Chat. In this blog, I will pen my journey of learning how to code from absolute 0 to cracking GSoC, all within a year.

It all began last year when I bought my first laptop in June and decided to learn to code. Before that, I had a basic knowledge of C programming, as it used to be a course in my freshman year in my college. It used to feel so complex and tedious. And honestly, I didn’t even think of programming as an option to pursue in the future.

But things changed when I came across the Python for Everybody Specialization in Coursera. At that time, our college sponsored free courses there to learn something during the summer, and I thought of giving it a go. And it felt effortless this time; I enjoyed the course and cruised my way through the assignments and Capstone project, and fell in love with programming. At that time, freeCodeCamp used to have only six courses, all based on full-stack web development. And now it has extended its curriculum and includes the course which I mentioned just above. I highly recommend doing it first if you are a beginner, as I feel Python and JavaScript are a bit similar. It helped me a lot later on while doing the JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Certification.

The Beginning

So with my newly purchased laptop, the first I did was install Illustrator (as Designing is my next best thing I’m passionate about, which again helps me design websites) and then start the Responsive Web Design Certification. It felt so intriguing that I just couldn’t stop myself from finishing tasks. freeCodeCamp has this fantastic way of motivating people to complete more and more by dividing even the most complex parts into small chunks. And within a week, I’ve earned my first certification by completing all five projects, and it felt awesome! Then I started setting targets to finish each certificate in a week (or even less if possible). I was already bored of my summer vacation, had nothing to do, and lockdown restricted me even further. So I completely immersed myself in completing freeCodeCamp’s certifications. And I was successful in completing a certification not every week but every two weeks. In between, I diverted a bit from the curriculum to use vanilla JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to build some simple projects like Counter, Tic Tac Toe, etc., by referring to tutorials on YouTube.

Important Advice

And it was also the same time I was addicted to some channels where they just talk about programmers (Day in the Life and sometimes even more than that) and scope of programming, but they don’t themselves do it, at least not on YouTube as they advertise their boot camps most of the time :slight_smile: These channels primarily target the beginner devs for views. If you can relate to this, just stop wasting time and start watching channels like freeCodeCamp, Traversy Media, Wes Bos, Net Ninja, Giraffe Academy, etc.

And with the same speed, I completed all the certifications in just Two Months and earned the Legacy Full Stack Certification :star_struck:!!! (June 8 - August 7). I was also motivated by Florin Pop’s challenge of completing it in just one month during that time, but I know it is impossible for a beginner dev like me to finish it in one month, so I had set a target of three months to finish it. I felt so happy as I had no experience in JavaScript but still managed to finish it in such a short period. After that, my college started again (online semester :’)), which kept me busy with academics, but I still found some time again in October during Hacktoberfest as I badly wanted that t-shirt xD It was during that time I started learning Git to make PRs. It felt overwhelming at first, but I gradually learned how to push commits and open Pull Requests. I was already familiar with GitHub as I used to push my projects every day to fill my contributions graph on my profile.

After Hacktoberfest, I barely touched JavaScript as academics kept me busy all the time. And finally, I started contributing to projects in January, when I searched all the organizations which get selected every year for GSoC and thought of focussing on them. The top ones were Mozilla, Rocket.Chat and Zulip. Mozilla uses Bugzilla to keep track of their bugs and fix them. It felt confusing for me, so I switched to Rocket.Chat and Zulip, which are on GitHub. I used all the skills I’ve picked up from here and started learning even more by contributing. After three-four months, I’ve reached the top ten contributors list in Rocket.Chat for this year’s GSoC and became an active contributor in their repos. After that, it was about writing a good proposal (which I’ll leave for another blog post ;)) and luckily, they liked it and selected me for this year’s GSoC.

I’m really excited to begin this new chapter of my life. And to sum up for people like me a year back, all you need is focus and determination to finish whatever you pick up and staying consistent, and you’ll definitely be able to achieve great things!

Thanks to Quincy Larson for helping people like me worldwide learn how to code through freeCodeCamp. I’ll forever be grateful to him!


Hi. Kudos for what you’re doing, but we don’t allow people to use the freeCodeCamp forum for promotional purposes. If you would like to be one of the developer authors for Free Code Camp News, you can find everything you need to know in the Publication Style Guide, or read here about how to contribute to freeCodeCamp’s YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can find everything else about contributing to Free Code Camp in the contributing docs.

Hi Adithya, thank you for sharing your journey so far. This is super inspiring. I’m glad you’ve made use of such a wide range of learning resources, and learned so many different technologies.

I think @JeremyLT may have interpreted your post as promotional since you spoke so highly of Google Summer of Code. Jeremy – thanks for your vigilance. I had been corresponding with Adithya through email, and asked him to share his coding journey here on the forum. I have re-listed his post :slight_smile:


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