So, it’s been a while since I blogged, but I recently started a new experiment that I want to document. I’ve started working through the curriculum at freeCodeCamp. I’ll explain a little more about what freeCodeCamp is, and talk about my experience so far, but first I’d like to give a little background.
My Early Coding Experience
I’m not new to programming. I got my first taste as a MUD programmer back in the 90s. A MUD is an online multi-user text-based game. I started out as a player and eventually began coding for the game. I was a MUD programmer for a few years and learned a lot about programmer. During that time, I went from being a basic programmer to training new programmers and eventually running the Quality department.
I loved programming. Since that experience, I have always wanted to do it professionally, but somehow that is something that has never come together. I went back to school in 2007 to study Computational Mathematics, with the attention of pursuing a software development career. I earned an Associate of Science degree and then transferred to RIT. I was on the Dean’s List at RIT and expected big things. Sadly, I maxed out my student loans due to an early in life mistake of attending a stupidly expensive for-profit technical school. I know that sounds like a bit of a sob story, but it is what it is.
I couldn’t afford to continue school, so in 2010 I dropped out and have since then just been working full time and dreading my insane student loan debt. Since 2010, I have been working in customer service and technical support. The job I have now is fine–it’s actually a pretty good job–but it’s not the job I want.
Time for a Change
I’ve never stopped wanting to code for a living. People talk about having jobs where every day feels like a vacation, that’s coding for me. I love it. I can get completely lost in it. The last couple of years, I have been wanting to work professionally as a programmer more and more.
Since going back to traditional school is not an option, I’ve been looking at other courses of actions.
I recently heard about coding bootcamps. These are intensive 6 – 12 week programs that are designed to take people from zero to career-ready. When I started to research them, I found out that there are a lot of them and some are very expensive. As I mentioned before, I work in customer service. I don’t have a lot of extra income.
I was considering a Coursera specialization or a Udacity nanodegree, as those are among the more affordable online coding education options. Then I found out about freeCodeCamp, which is free. I like free; it’s my favorite word.
Getting Started at freeCodeCamp
According to my freeCodeCamp profile, I started their program on March 12th, 2017. I am currently on a 10-day streak. So, how’s it going? Pretty good, so far.
The projects are done using CodePen, an online web editor. I did read somewhere that freeCodeCamp is working on a full integrated developing environment (IDE) that will run within the site itself. At that point, all coding will be done on their site.
My Experience So Far
As I mentioned earlier, I am currently on a 10-day streak. I am working through the Front End Specialization program. According to their statistics page, just over 4,000 people have earned this specialization.
I don’t yet know if freeCodeCamp will help me with my career goals, but I know it can’t hurt. I plan to complete all of the certifications, something which has only been done by just under 200 people. The final certification involves creating a real-world project, so I definitely am hopeful that will help me with those career goals.
I like where I work right now, so I hope when I am done I can get a job with my company.