Just finished the Full Stack Certification, Thank you freeCodeCamp!
Started on the 21st of August 2019, It took me 321 days which is equivalent to 10 month and 16 days to run through the whole freeCodeCamp curriculum, It was a great journey, well worth it, it’s kinda longer than it should’ve been, but I had some obstacles i.e. examinations along the way and I followed a strategy of intermittent learning, where I would do challenges for a couple of days then stop and follow a tutorial/build a project on the same topic for another couple of days, so I was actually learning a lot outside FCC, now a couple of you people on track or coming recently to FCC might be wondering: “How exactly did freeCodeCamp help you?”, and my answer is, FCC has been of immense value to me, not for the content or the challenges, absolutely not, these things can be found online and there is plenty of higher quality resources taught by top instructors out there both for free and paid, and there is even far more prestigious paid certificates out there for you to take, so that’s definitely not what makes FCC unique, what makes it really unique is that it puts you on a track, it draws a path for you to follow to become a Full Stack Developer; now what many newcomers don’t realize - and I used to not realize - is that becoming a developer is a goal with many pathways leading to it, the ecosystem is so vibrant, full of existing technologies, frameworks, libraries, languages, etc… It is this same, exact reason what makes the field very interesting, this constant, rapid evolution + the gigantic amount of options available, creates room for opinion, there is fanatics out there who would ignite a fight over which framework is BEST, which language is BEST, which IDE is best, etc. whilst these “intricacies” would make difference for a veteran, it absolutely holds zero significance for a newcomer, who will start getting the notion that this is a life-death decision of no coming back and thus spends more time worrying about these “extras” than actually coding; and this is the main reason people quit mid-journey, they follow one language until they read somewhere by someone that “PHP is a dinosaur, mate. Ruby on Rails is the future”, and the little, confused fella follows along, stops learning PHP and “tries” to pursue Ruby, and that’s not all of it, even when he pursues Ruby he will get stampeded by fanatics fighting over Rails vs Sinatra or whatever.
The main takeaway from the previous abomination of a paragraph is: It doesn’t matter what you start with, start with ANYTHING, yes, ANYTHING. It isn’t the end of the world, it really isn’t; almost 99.99% of the programming you learn is adaptive; Learning a new language, a new framework or a new library is breeze for any experienced developer out there, just give him a a day or two and he learns a new language and perhaps use it better than a newbie who has been practicing it for several months, why? because a language or a framework is just a TOOL, what really matters is how you use that tool; How you think. How you approach a problem. This is what matters, after that, you are free to use whatever tool that gets the job done. That’s what matters.
With that said, for me, the merit of freeCodeCamp is just that, forcing you on a track, providing you with a lucrative certificate - and believe me it is a great feeling to see your effort embodied into a tangible thing you can look at - to look up to, providing you with ways to measure your progress e.g. streaks and the activity calendar, providing you with a great forum for the necessary socializing with fellow members - I will come to that on my next point - and providing you with a GREAT medium that provides amazing, very high-quality resources and publications within its “News” section, which isn’t helping freeCodeCamp users only, but the whole internet community, let alone the continuous improvements and work on the main curriculum itself and we all saw that recently with the introduction of FOUR new certifications on data analysis and machine learning and we have seen as well the direction freeCodeCamp is taking, as in adopting project-based learning and so on.
Now coming to my last point right before I end this post; an advice to everyone working on the track and looking for advice, get yourself a peer, a friend that follows you along the journey, he doesn’t necessarily have to do it himself - although it is much recommended, but get someone whom you trust and tell him to keep an eye on you, to remind you, keep you motivated and to keep you going, this person’s role is of immense significance, because regardless of how motivated you are, you will have lots of down times, and that person won’t be there to prevent these down times, because that’s impossible - we are not robots, but he is there to make them end as soon as possible, he will re-ignite your motivation, remind you of the goals you’ve set - and believe me it’s very easy to start denying one’s goals especially when facing exhaustion, difficulty or stress. Remember, the more obstacles you face in your way, the more you know that you did something extraordinary, that there is much less people who made it to where you are, it should be an incentive for you to keep going instead of letting it put you down, all you have to do is to struggle, just keep going!!
You might think I am exaggerating, I mean, come on, it’s just a coding course, right? Wrong. It isn’t about the course itself, but it is about your mentality, how you hold yourself together under pressure, even if it’s pretty much negligible, it is still a pressure and a challenge nonetheless, you have to know that this mentality will persist with you throughout your entire life, whether you are trying to finish a book, trying to get into a strict diet or even advocating for the rights of the poor, there really is no substitute for hardwork.
Now, I might not be a perfect, consistent practitioner of what I am preaching, but it’s always important to get your facts right so that when you fail, you won’t be clueless, you won’t blame your failure on luck or coincidence, I know it is blatant, but hey, what’s new? That’s how life is, you should know that the only one you should blame is you, and you should know what to do to fix it since it is you who hold all the answers.
Finally, I would like to declare my tremendous gratitude towards the efforts of: Quincy Larson, the founder of freeCodeCamp, without him we wouldn’t have had such amazing platform, so “Thank you, Quincy.”, and to the entire team behind freeCodeCamp, without them FCC wouldn’t have sustained or grown as it did. Thank you all. I know that is not enough, although an obligation, and surely once I do get the chance I will be donating to freeCodeCamp to keep it running for generations to come, you guys rock and I want you to know that the value of freeCodeCamp doesn’t lie in its intrinsic worth, but rather in its extrinsic effect on people, you have set a role model to young developers, you showed them what it means to give back to the community in a world where coding bootcamps charge tens of thousands of dollars, I mean, you could’ve decided to set a fee, big or small, and no one would’ve blamed you for it, but instead, you’ve provided the platform free of charge, knowing that freeCodeCamp’s budget is $373,000 as disclosed by Quincy Larson in this blogpost, you’ve treated the community with unmatched levels of transparency, and you even utilized your 1.5M subscriber YouTube channel to create a medium where the less famous content creators get acknowledged for their efforts whilst providing a central resource for high quality content for everyone else. I think that’s it for this post/rant; Thank you again and wish you all the best.
TLDR; Thank you Quincy, Thank you freeCodeCamp.