There exists dozens of websites and online communities aiming at helping people get a foot in the door into the web development world. The first thing I asked myself was: “What makes FCC distinctive, and why should I follow this curriculum instead of any other?”
I started by inquiring about its history, since the genesis of a project or a community usually reveal its heart and purpose. And I quickly found out that there was one man behind FCC’s birth and stunning growth: Quincy Larson.
No surprise, I wanted to know more about him, what led him to start FCC, and what was his vision and agenda. It turns out that it’s pretty easy to learn about him since he’s incredibly prolific and present across many media channels:
- Twitter: 30k followers on his personal handle and 40k+ on his FCC handle (so a total of 70k+ followers)
- Medium: 96k followers on his personal channel and 197k on FCC’s channel, which makes him one of the most read tech writers ever on Medium
- Quora: His answers have been viewed 20 million times (500k just this month), and he’s been the most read writer on Quora in 2016 and 2017 (which is huge, since many very famous people are writing on Quora)
- Github: He’s got only repo which he’s maintaining (FCC’s), and it has 247k stars and 10k+ forks, which makes him the maintainer of one of the most popular projects on Github
- Press: He’s been featured in many of the most prestigious media outlets (New York Times, Business Insider, BBC, Forbes, you name it again)
As I learnt more about him, I became more and more impressed by the man. Here are some inspiring facts from his life:
- He’s pledged to keep FCC forever free, and he even put the “Free” in Free Code Camp’s name to force him to never be able to change his mind.
- Even though he’s getting more and more famous in the tech world and could make a lot (a lot!) of money using his influence as well as his writing and coding skills for a company, he’s currently living very modestly on his savings, and is content with it.
- Whenever he describes himself (for instance on LinkedIn), he uses the job title “Teacher at Free Code Camp” instead of more pompous titles that tech entrepreneurs are fond of (CEO, leader, founder, etc.).
- He’s encouraging every camper (that’s how we call FCC’s students) who graduates to apply their new-found skills to develop and ship a software product (website, mobile app, or anything else) for a high-impact charity that doesn’t have the money to pay for high-quality software. If you want to know more about this initiative, you can check this inspiring article.
And on a personal level, when I joined FCC’s community, I also joined their 43k+ members Gitter channel (Slack’s Open-Source equivalent). And what I found most surprising was that Quincy himself took the time to send me a personal message to welcome me and to get to know more about my desire to learn web development:
He then regularly checked on me to see how I was doing and wanted to make sure that I stayed motivated.
So here was a guy, leading the largest open-source community in the world without getting any financial benefit from it, taking the time to follow-up on a random French guy who joins his community… That’s humbling!
During my research about him, I got hooked by everything he wrote, and so I started taking hours to read his articles on Medium and his answers on Quora about web development and the evolution of the tech world. Everything he says is usually backed up by serious sources, and he seems to have a lot of wisdom about the current state of the web industry and where it’s heading.
I thus decided, without him knowing it, to make him my “mentor”. Here’s a few steps I took to get to be more influenced by him:
- He regularly recommends great books about the tech industry. As soon as he mentions a new book, I add it to my “to-read list”. Here are a few books that he recommends and that helped me get a deeper and broader understanding of the tech industry (you should check them out too):
- In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
- The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
- The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t
- The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
- When I joined FCC, I didn’t have a Twitter account, but I quickly realized that it was the social media of choice for most developers. I thus created an account (@smlpth) but I didn’t know whom to follow to start with. I checked who Quincy (@ossia) was following, and I found out that most of them were thought-leaders in the web development community. So I simply started by following them, and I can say that this was a great way for me to get up to speed as to what was going on in the web development world.
- Quincy sends a weekly newsletter to FCC’s Medium Channel‘s subscribers, containing “3 links worth our time”. I don’t have much time these days to keep up with articles, and I usually find out that Quincy’s recommandations are always helpful.
I intended to write a post about FCC but I realize that 1000 words into it, I’ve only written about Quincy! Well, I guess this was a tribute I had to pay.
If you haven’t heard about him, I encourage you to follow him on Twitter and Medium. If you are into web development, his voice is definitelly one to hear.
@Quincy: If you come to read these words, know that I’m truly thankful to have crossed your way. Your influence in my young software developer career has been and continues to be felt everyday. You inspire me to be a better developer and a better human. Thank you for the great example you’re providing to the web development community. Please continue to stay humble about your success. I’m sure that the best for you and FCC is yet to come.
Next week, I’m going to write about my experience starting to learn web development with Free Code Camp. As usual, thanks for having read thus far and stay tuned ;-).