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Monday, February 8, 2016

Learn Javascript Free Course Online with Free Code Camp (Part 1)


Announcement: Last update 6th March 2016


Read I spent $110,000 on grad school, only to realize that the free online resources were actually better - Robb.



Listen to Mr Quincy Larson's podcast on FreeCodeCamp.

If you just browse through the important, systematic road map guide, you will see actually see how comprehensive or intensive it is! Freecodecamp puts the course at 2080 hours to complete. Realistically, I'ld think it is likely longer. 


Learn HTML, CSS, Javascript and some of its frameworks with the free online course : Free Code Camp - Become a software engineer: Front End, Back Data Visualisation, Back End, Full Stack Web Developer.

FreeCodeCamp.com (FCC) - Javascript and MORE - is my current number one recommendation for learning to code and become a front-end web and back-end developer for relevant jobs preparation, freelancing or coding for non-profits.

In my previous post Choose and learn a new programming language: Python, I indicated a preference for knowing and mapping in advance where and how the learning path will go. Don't think I know of a resource as good as FCC for python, but if you can survive on just free and organised ebook, videos and active support group - then Web2py is my definite recommendation for learning Python and all the way to web development  - Why use Web2py?.

If you must go for RoR, for learning web development for free Using Ruby on Rails, it's The Odin Project or (free for now, Udemy course - Ruby on Rails Tutorial for Complete Beginners) Comparison between the two: FCC over TOP or here . Long story short - unfortunately, it seems the founder has focused his energy on VikingCodeSchool rather than updating TOP.

All things considered, go for FCC for the long run!



So why Javascript/Freecodecamp?


For some obvious reasons.

One, it's popularity is undeniable as shown in below graph. That means the community support too.




Two, this post is inspired by the a really excellent resource found online. Sometimes, or more often than not, our learning can depend heavily on whether good resources or courses are available to us at the right time.

Just like Atom.io editor is a really good choice for code editing, or web2py web framework for learning python web frameworks, I find FreeCodeCamp.com (FCC) to be outstanding and refreshing as a learning platform to become a developer (for non-profit / look for a developer job). Best of all, all is free. Just the time and effort to learn and code.

There are quite a number of advantages for going with FreeCodeCamp, to name some:-

  1. Work towards non-profit or practical projects
  2. Extensive and Intensive: Complete and comprehensive path from novice to Front End Development Certification, Data Visualisation Certification, Back End Development Certification, Full Stack Development Certification
  3. Can be flexible and jump around
  4. Good, visual Step-by-Step tutorial guides (at least in the beginning)
  5. Interactive Coding Tutorial (at least in the beginning)
  6. Beginner friendly and ease of site navigation
  7. Can be a fun learning experience at least in the early stage e.g. cat references and fun range of positive hoorays.
  8. Big, strong community with  >223k campers,  >10 millions completed challenges,  >39k chatroom members and multiple chatrooms! And Twitch TV broadcast
  9. Pair programming concept
  10. Free and open source
  11. Friendly to both sexes
  12. Report of success stories, people getting job while learning
  13. On-going development / addition of materials
  14. NOT just simple javascript but covers more e.g. HTML, CSS, MongoDB, NodeJS etc.
  15. Systematic path to being a developer and even covers Coding Interview Preparation!
  16. Accountability of how many tasks covered and complex subject broken down into simpler steps may help overcome procrastination and break quitter habit

For this quality of comprehensiveness to intermediate or advanced developer course, I think one will be hard pressed to find a better one, and for FREE. Sure there are other resources, in terms of learning javascript or even looking for a developer job, but this may well be the best one to stay focus on.

Remember, to study one subject or language well, we normally have to scout for good resources, may have to spend money on it, take the time and effort to go through it, and then when problems arise, we have to search and look for solutions, one may still have to market or prepare oneself for interview to look for a job.

So far, the interactive coding experience, well-planned curriculum in a step by step progressive and systematic learning approach makes it a really pleasant and yet disciplined way to reach the goal of being a developer. FCC, it seemed, has remove much of our external obstacles to learn programming. Payment? No need because it is free. Disoriented? A full curriculum map to show you where you are. Lost in between? No worries, steps are available to help guide the completion of each learning topic. Stuck even after googling? Strong and active community to help you learn.




Because of the flexible nature of working on the codes as and when it suits an individual, as opposed to the way a physical bootcamps require the candidate to be on-site which means that he/she is preferably young and able to take long physical toil and mental stress, this got my vote too. This works for a busy, working adult does not mean it won't for someone serious enough to treat it like a full-time course.

My gratitude to FCC. It is perhaps what I am looking for these many years.  Yes, one may learn from Udemy or Udacity or other learning platforms, but the advantages outlined simply outweigh the competition in my opinion. Now a free, practical, flexible, professional, certifiable and complete course is available to anyone with internet access. And it may very well better those paid or costly courses offline or online out there!

To top it off, you may like the learning experience as much as I liked it. The affirmative, constructive cheer-ons upon every correct code submission, and the use of cute, loveable  kitty cat references to make it fun in the early stage.

Really, even Udacity job guarantee in one aspect will set you back by hundreds of dollars, but four certifications you get for free, provided of course you put in the time and effort to finish the assigned projects. To be fair, no job guarantee at FCC, but think about it, if one follow and complete the many projects, it's hard to deny one's capability and development skill as a coder, right? That I value to be more than just talk without substance. And not to forget its coding interview preparation alone takes 80 hours long. Altogether, the whole FCC syllabus or complete course path can take more than 2000 hours, so you get the idea the kind of skill level.

That's something about Free Code Camp learning experience that helps to learn the concepts that others may not offer, I'd think it is  the breaking down, easy explanation and interactive coding experience to illustrate the concepts being taught.

By the way, note that FCC community is huge! more than 99 thousands chat members  and more than 500 chatrooms. And there are local Facebook FCC groups across the world. Quite a large gathering for a project that started less than 500 days ago, don't you think? For example, here are eight of the many chatrooms available and a collection of more than 530 pages of challenges or information.

Perhaps the best part of it is the accountability or display tracking of one's progress of how many accomplished tasks. It is like a game or to-do list or daily journal to remind one of what to do next. Other than self-discipline, I think this is a really good way of keeping oneself on track instead of quitting easily or quickly.

I also like and appreciate the fact that one can view a camper's public page display of his or her points or number of completed challenges  (if he/she did not choose to hide) below his profile name) + brownies thanks received from others, then one can tell how advance his skills. I guess this is a big plus for potential employers - both job or freelance. At least there is a unit of measurement to tell a first glance how proficient a person is at Javascript or Web development. To transparency, equality and accountability!

What is different and special about Free Code Camp is a combination of positive aspects. The quality of the materials (after more than 100 challenges, I'm satisfied.). The active and large community. The challenges completed counter to help motivate oneself one step at a time. Comprehensive curriculum. Initial interactive coding experience allows students to focus on learning itself. Free to learn and complete with 4 attainable certifications, more than 2000 hours of learning. Supports and encourages non-profit and ladies to code causes. Works for both busy adults and full-timers. During and after certifications resources - interview preparation, linkedin profile and ready github projects for others to view.



While I took other paid online courses before, what is impressive is that FCC does it better than them, and for free! This outstanding learning platform makes me wonder about people spending so much money on stuffs that has little or no value or return, or worse than complete waste of time and effort, or so much debt before even getting a job and earning anything! This is not about telling you to quit school out of sheer impulse because there are obviously benefits to the education system but more of taking a realistic take on your future life. Read I spent $110,000 on grad school, only to realize that the free online resources were actually better.


There is no need to hunt and figure where and what books, courses, technologies and frameworks to learn from, other than data visualisation learning modules that are not ready yet or for projects assignments. But the map is a clear layout of what is to be done and learn to complete the objective to being a developer. The Front end and back end development two certifications learning materials are complete as far as I know. Even without data visualisation and full stack developer, one is still in pretty good standing, I would think. I read of people being hired before completing the whole curriculum. (No one has completed the whole course yet to the best of my knowledge). Therefore, FCC is still my top recommendation for learning to code and be a developer, rather than confuse or distract with the many options available out there. Not many, if any, will provide a path as comprehensive and cost-effective as FCC, I believe.

Perhaps there are really good, free coding courses that may be on par with FCC, but none so far I know of yet, imho. Don't overlook or slight FCC because it's free. Go through and seriously take the time to learn, I believe you too can be a skilled and professional web developer!

*Data Visualisation Module still in progress construction as of 11 Feb 2016 but certification should be attainable upon completion of whatever is ready to work through e.g projects. According to here, React, Sass and D3 challenges will be released in Spring 2016. This is one of the good stuffs about FCC,  on-going development/ addition of materials. These two posts and Twitch FCC may give you an idea how active Freecodecamp is going - Summits Ahead and Tinkering Toward Simplicity.

Conclusion


It's been more than two weeks since joining with FCC, and I am pretty satisfied and appreciative of it. Even paid or professional courses may not compare to its quality and extensiveness of deliverance for web development and code learning for certification, assignments and non-profits projects experience. And for the price of: Free!

To re-iterate the point, this may or should well be the free and quality online course what some like me had been searching for all these years. To date, is there any such free online coding course that is this good that I know or came across? I do not think so. It is this good!!

Even if you are not into IT jobs or field, it can be a good playground for logic training and earning certifications or experience for increasing your market value as a developer.

Definitely recommended: FreeCodeCamp.com (FCC)

Just head over to FreeCodeCamp, sign up and see for yourself :)

Testimonials or success stories? Go here.

This may be by far my best discovered gem of a learning platform for learning to code or become a web developer or even getting a programming job starting from scratch! Just look at the curriculum, and take some lessons to test it out free.

Have fun learning and be kind!

Thank you FCC - its founder Mr. Quincy Larson and other contributors!

Good luck!

References / resources



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