I'm Quincy Larson, the teacher who founded freeCodeCamp.org. Ask Me Anything July 25, 2019

First of all, stick with it! Learning to code is a motivation challenge - not a technical one. If you can stay jazzed about coding every day, you can get there. It’s just a matter of time and of practice.

There are lots of devs out there worth following, including the devs who post here on Hacker Noon. If you need a more comprehensive list of people to follow, check out the people I follow: twitter.com/ossia

Can you advice me - how to increace a number of students, aka get more exposure? I think I can handle at least 30 people at the same time, but right now I usually have no more than 8-12 people working simultaneusly.

I encourage you to focus on building your online reputation through continuing to make good technical blog posts. This will not only help people discovery you, but it will also help reinforce the fact that you know what you’re talking about when your prospects look you up to decide whether to become your students.

It is a big challenge to get people to support your nonprofit. I now understand why so many nonprofits spend such a huge chunk of their budget on fundraising.

We have been very fortunate to have built something people spend a lot of time with and get a lot of value out of. If freeCodeCamp can help you change careers and get a significant salary increase in the process, you are much more likely to become a supporter.

For nonprofits whose missions have a less direct, less immediate impact on stakeholders - think environmental NGOs or medical research NGOs - it can be even harder to raise money.

I suspect running an NGO is much harder than running a traditional multinational for-profit company for these reasons. But there are a lot of nonprofits who’ve found innovative ways to make it work.

One nonprofit that has really come out of nowhere these past few years and raised a lot of money for other nonprofits is Games Done Quick. The people who run this NGO are really sharp, and I think a lot of nonprofits could learn from how they engage with their donors and their community.

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We are overhauling freeCodeCamp’s curriculum to be entirely project-oriented learning:

And we’re completely redesigning freeCodeCamp’s coding environment. I call it “Command Line Chic”:

GraphQL. We are using it more and more in freeCodeCamp’s codebase, and I think it will fundamentally change how many APIs are built going forward.

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The same challenge that most projects face when they are not hard engineering problems (think rocket science): getting people to use it. :smile:

Some of my early blog posts about learning to code helped raise awareness of freeCodeCamp.org. Without that initial critical mass of people hanging out and helping expand the curriculum, freeCodeCamp would be a shadow of what it is today.

We built some early momentum, and then worked as hard as we could to sustain that momentum.

Who inspires you when you run out of your own motivation?

Aside from Jonas Salk and a lot of the other greats from history. I created my freeCodeCamp Tribute page for Dr. Norman Borlaug, who saved more than a billion people from starving over the past few decades through his research into crop yields. The guy is a legend.


Everyone is working with the same 24 hours per day. A lot of it comes down to priorities.

For me, I only spend time doing two things: working on freeCodeCamp.org or hanging out with my family.

I don’t have much in the way of hobbies, and I rarely have time to hang out with friends.

If I had more time, I would love to just play games or go hiking with my friends. But for me, family and work come first.

These are just my personal priorities though. You can prioritize whatever you want. How you allocate your time is up to you. Don’t let other people impose their values on you for how you spend your time. Time is the most precious thing you have.

How do you plan to teach/educate your kids? Did you ever consider homeschooling? Do you plan to introduce them to programming at a young age?

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How do you plan to teach/educate your kids? Did you ever consider homeschooling? Do you plan to introduce them to programming at a young age?

I think about this a lot. My kids are young (3 and 1). My wife grew up in China and we met in Tianjin during graduate school. Her family is all still back in China. So our top prioity has been to make sure our kids learn Chinese (Mandarin, and also Cantonese since that’s what her family speaks). We want them to be able to walk both cultures.

We just moved back from China, where we’d been for the first half of 2019 so my daughter could attend a Chinese Kindergarten (the only non-Chinese at a school of 600 children). But we found a good Chinese Montessori program here in Dallas so we were able to move back.

As far as programming is concerned, both of them are learning how to use tablets. They mainly just play learning games and watch Netflix.

I’m not going to let them stop there, though. Once they’re a bit older, I’m going to make sure they learn to type properly and understand that tablets are for consuming, where as laptops are for creating.

The gamified coding curricula out there keep getting better and better. So I will probably start them on some of those.

This will be in tandem with going to public school. There’s a good, well-funded school district here in Dallas. For the price of 12 years of private school, we can buy a house in the district and they can get a comparable education.

I learned a lot from going to public school. There were short-comings. But if I had just gone to a private school, I would have been insulated from reality. I don’t want my kids to grow up in a bubble.

Homeschooling is a good alternative if you have a lot of kids, and a parent at home who can teach. But socialization and building up EQ is important, and you kind of get that built in to the public school experience.


Thank you everyone for your thoughtful questions. It’s been a blast!

And thanks to @David, @linh, and the whole Hacker Noon team for building this community and helping create all these resources for developers.

This is still early days in the grand scope of the internet, and of software development.

Don’t ever feel like you missed the boat. Most of the important events lie in the future, and you can still be part of them - or will them into existence yourself.