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Free Code Camp, Inc.
The freeCodeCamp logo
Official freeCodeCamp logo
MottoLearn to code and help nonprofits.
FormationOctober 2014; 4 years ago (2014-10)
San Francisco, California
FounderQuincy Larson
Legal status501(c)(3) nonprofit
PurposeEducation and nonprofit work

freeCodeCamp (also referred to as “Free Code Camp”) is a non-profit organization[3] that consists of an interactive learning web platform, an online community forum, chat rooms, online publications and local organizations that intend to make learning web development accessible to anyone. Beginning with tutorials that introduce students to HTML, CSS and JavaScript, students progress to project assignments that they must complete either alone or in pairs. Upon completion of all project tasks, students are partnered with other nonprofits to build web applications, giving the students practical development experience.[4]


freeCodeCamp was launched in October 2014 and incorporated as Free Code Camp, Inc. The founder, Quincy Larson, is a software developer who took up programming after graduate school and created freeCodeCamp as a way to streamline a student's progress from beginner to being job-ready. In a 2015 podcast interview, he summarized his motivation for creating freeCodeCamp as follows: “freeCodeCamp is my effort to correct the extremely inefficient and circuitous way I learned to code. I’m committing my career and the rest of my life towards making this process as efficient and painless as possible. […] All those things that made learning to code a nightmare to me are things that we are trying to fix with freeCodeCamp.”[5]

The original curriculum focused on MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js and was estimated to take 800 hours to complete.[6] Many of the lessons were links to free material on other platforms, such as Codecademy, Stanford, or Code School. The course was broken up into “Waypoints” (quick, interactive tutorials), “Bonfires” (algorithm challenges), “Ziplines” (front-end projects), and “Basejumps” (full-stack projects). Completing the front-end and full-stack projects awarded the student with respective certificates.

The curriculum was updated in January 2016 to rely less on outside material, remove the unconventional section names, and switch focus from AngularJS to React.js as the front-end library of choice. There were a number of additions to the coursework, including D3.js and Sass, which brought the total time estimate to 2,080 hours and two more certificates, data visualization and back-end.

Quincy Larson[edit]

After returning from a trip to China, Larson was inspired to launch freeCodeCamp by seeing a young boy's interest towards coding. And he decided to give people the opportunity to learn programming. After six years living in San Francisco, Larson now lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[7]


The self-paced curriculum[8] involves 1,400 hours of interactive coding challenges and web development projects, plus 800 hours of contributing to open-source [9] projects for nonprofits and is constantly expanded by more challenges and projects.[4] This translates into about one year of full-time coding. The curriculum is divided into Responsive Web Design, JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures, Front End Libraries, data visualization, APIs and Microservices, and Information Security and Quality Assurance. Participants receive a certificate after completing each section.[10]

The curriculum emphasizes pair programming, intended to foster a culture of collaboration and shared learning, which can overcome a student's doubts about the adequacy of their skills (popularly referred to as “impostor syndrome”).[11]

The languages and technologies currently taught by freeCodeCamp include HTML5, CSS 3, JavaScript, jQuery, Bootstrap, Sass, React.js, Node.js, Express.js, MongoDB, and Git.[12]

Nonprofit work[edit]

As students of freeCodeCamp finish all certificates of the curriculum, they get the opportunity, and are encouraged, to work with nonprofit organizations.[13] Examples have been Indonesia-based nonprofit Kopernik[14] and People Saving Animals.[14]

In 2016, freeCodeCamp announced their "Open Source for Good" initiative, which extends and open sources their nonprofit work to all nonprofits and organizations to use.[15] Within ten months of launching, the initiative has created seven open-source tools.[16] Mail for Good is one of the projects, which helps organizations send bulk email messages at a low cost,[17] which serves as a cheaper alternative to services such as MailChimp.


freeCodeCamp's platform is used by about 350,000 unique visitors per month,[18][19] with students from over 160 countries.[20] According to Alexa, freeCodeCamp is ranked around 2,150 globally and around 1,290 in the United States in terms of monthly traffic.[21]

freeCodeCamp has international, community-run groups where students can interact in person.[22] Some groups have been featured in local news, citing freeCodeCamp as an introduction to programming in order to fill the estimated vacancy in programming-related jobs in the next decade.[7][23]


  1. ^ Quincy Larson's response in Reddit r/IAmA on hiring at freeCodeCamp, retrieved 2018-12-13
  2. ^ freeCodeCamp's main repository of contributors with additional volunteers in chat rooms and forums, retrieved 2019-07-25.
  3. ^ "Statistics about freecodecamp".
  4. ^ a b Garfield, Robynn. "Students learn to code for free while donating skills to nonprofits". KSL-TV. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  5. ^ "Software Engineering Daily: Free Code Camp with Quincy Larson". Software Engineering Daily. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Our 1,600 Hour JavaScript Coding Curriculum". freeCodeCamp's Medium publication. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b "OKC resident's coding camp gives students experience through helping nonprofits". 2017-07-31. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  8. ^ Bradford, Laurence. "11 Websites To Learn To Code For Free In 2017". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  9. ^ Free Code Camp [1], retrieved 2019-17-05.
  10. ^ Free Code Camp Curriculum [2], retrieved 2019-17-05.
  11. ^ Finley, Klint (June 18, 2015). "You Can Do Real-World Work at This Free Coding Boot Camp". Wired. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  12. ^ freeCodeCamp's map of challenges, retrieved 2017-01-13.
  13. ^ "7 (More) Places to Learn to Code for Free". 2015-06-24. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  14. ^ a b "Employers Are Crowdsourcing Coding: Here’s Why". Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  15. ^ Johnson, Michael D. (2016-09-23). "Open Source for Good". freeCodeCamp. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  16. ^ "Introducing the Open Source for Good Directory: Help Nonprofits with Code". freeCodeCamp. 2017-07-21. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  17. ^ "Nonprofit Launches Open-Source Take on Email Marketing: Associations Now". Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  18. ^ Tweet by Quincy Larson, founder of freeCodeCamp, showing website analytics for the end of December 2016, retrieved 2017-01-10.
  19. ^ Larson, Quincy. "How to get published in the freeCodeCamp Medium publication", retrieved 2017-01-12
  20. ^ Coldewey, Devin. "Free Code Camp survey reveals demographics of self-taught coders". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  21. ^ " Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  22. ^ "Free Code Camp now has Local Groups – freeCodeCamp". freeCodeCamp. 2015-05-09. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  23. ^ "LISTEN: Code Camp Teaches Programming, Helps Non-Profits". Retrieved 2017-10-12.

External links[edit]