Eduardo Vedes's Blog

Eduardo Vedes's Blog

Introducing #iamfreeCodeCamp – A Movement to Raise Awareness for the Open Source Community

Introducing #iamfreeCodeCamp – A Movement to Raise Awareness for the Open Source Community

When the end of the year arrives I have this good habit of putting the past year in perspective and in 2020 it wasn't different.

I usually take some days off, disconect a bit from the world - avoid tv, social networks, etc. - and try to stay most of the time with my family and with myself, alone.

I use to think about what went well, what went not so well and how to improve it.

I also create a small list of things that I wanted to do and didn't make the time for it and a list of things I want to do to give a bit of me (a small contribution) to the community and to the world in general.

Finally, I compile everything into a final list adding what I want to do next year and set some priorities to all the tasks in the list.

This becomes kind of my road map of personal development. I might not be able to accomplish it entirely - and that's okay - but at least I have a map.

In 2020 these days were particularly more intense because of pandemics. I've gave much more attention to a topic in particular and asked myself everyday:

"What can I do to help other people".

"As freeCodeCampers, what can we do to help other people?"

How can we help other people?

Times like these make us stop and think about what's happening around us, how can we increase the support, the help, the love, the kindness we give others.

Usually I donate food, clothes and sometimes books to my local community. To the online community - world wide - I've started to donate part of my time since early 2017.

I've given some mentorship and advices here and there to people who were changing careers into software engineering.

I've invested some time in sharing my knowledge - and improving it 😊 - by writing some articles on freeCodeCamp News (you can check it out here ).

I've donated some money to freeCodeCamp in 2018.

I've organized local community meetups - with João Henrique, Jorge Encarnação and Tiago Fernandes (in the Algarve, South of Portugal) and gave a hand to Pedro Cruz and Luis Forra impelling the beginning of the meetups in Lisbon.

Before I found freeCodeCamp I've passed some hard times. And hard times happened to a lot of you that are reading this article right now, somewhere along your life path.

You can read my story . That's not much of a story but it's my own, and I felt it was meaningful to share it with the world.

By the way, I want to send a big thank you to everyone that somehow resonated with it and took the time to write me and share a bit of their lives with me. Really thank you for exposing this "bits" of you with courage and vulnerability.

freeCodeCamp was such a game changer for me. I've started it in early 2017 and when September arrived I was starting my first job as a frontend developer in a mid-sized company in Amsterdam.

But then I thought:

Having all this in mind and acknowleding on how it changed my life since the moment I've comitted to it, I've quickly concluded that I didn't pay back so much as I wanted to.

I mean, I'm one of those, like you, who have already contributed to freeCodeCamp. I've had the pleasure to be a Top Contributor in 2018, to hug Quincy Larson, to say thanks one million times. But...

"What more can I do to help freeCodeCamp grow"?

After some days with this question ruminating in my mind, I've found three important vectors that I definitely wanted to expand and invest on the current year (2021).

1. Donate and help growing donations to freeCodeCamp 2. Provide mentorship to freeCodeCamp students 3. Meet freeCodeCamp "alumni" and get them to know one another

Please grab a cup of coffee ☕️ and let me explain these three points in more detail.

1. Donate and Help Growing Donations to freeCodeCamp

According to this article - "Developers Spend 1.3 Billion Minutes Using freeCodeCamp in 2020, and Other Year-end Facts"* - written by Quincy Larson on the 18th December, freeCodeCamp entire operating budget in 2020 was $498,521.00 USD.

This is a humble budget for a nonprofit like freeCodeCamp - in his own words - which was able to provide 1.3Billion minutes of instruction to people around the world.

Last year, around 6560 people donated (USD $5) to the nonprofit.

More, the community is growing and with the pandemics there are tons of people loosing their jobs and turning to the online technologies to the rescue, in pursuit of a new life paradigm that allows them to feed their families.

2021 is going to definitely attract lots of people to freeCodeCamp so we need to prepare and reinforce the project sustainability.

This is an important reason for donating. According to the same article I've mentioned above, each dollar donated provides nearly 50 hours of study to someone around the world.

Having this in mind I've decided to donate $50 USD per month (2500 hours of study).

If you have the possibility, please accept the challenge and join me on this quest to donate $5, $50, or whatever you feel is right for you at the moment.

NOTE: you can check this article where Quincy explains "How to Donate to freeCodeCamp - Ways To Give and Support the Mission".

If you are donating and want to motivate other people to donate please go to iamfreecodecamp.org and create a tweet about it.

2. Provide mentorship to freeCodeCamp students

At this point in time freeCodeCamp - according to the article * above - sits on four main community pillars:

  1. curriculum (3000 hours, 10 certifications)

  2. publication (which by 2019 represented 10% of all Medium traffic and that nowadays carefully curates and publishes 20 articles per week. Thanks folks there at the Editorial Team, your work is precious and impressive!).

  3. forum (people spent 124,091,921 minutes there in 2020)

  4. community youtube channel (in 2020 there were more than 120 full-length courses there, each with an average length of 5 hours)

So... from my past experience on changing careers and learning how to code, I've found a missing ingredient here.

One of the things that boosted me a lot and made me thrive were my mentors. I found a comfort zone there. They gave me support and direction. They've prescribed me the right books at the right time. They heard me carefully, they fulfilled all my curiosity about almost everything - salaries, interviews, the life of a software engineer - and above all they've always gave me honest and curated feedback.

A mentor is someone you can always have, not just when you're giving the first steps into learning something. Later they become your friends, colleagues, or will ask feedback also.

My current and most active mentor is Andre Jonas - @andrezzoid . You can give him a shout-out and follow him as he's actively writing about remote work and how to on-board people into teams, among other stuff (this is very important as one thing is to know how to code, other is having the soft skills and the right mentality to work and contribute in a team environment).

With all of these I want to say that the 4 pillars listed above are excelent, but we need to find a way to provide free mentorship in a more connected sense.

So, my 2nd challenge for 2021, and I'll be more than happy if you join me, will be to use Twitter to make myself available to mentor people.

I can spend 1-2 hours per week and provide mentorship to 4 people per month.

Please accept the challenge and join me on this mentoring adventure ❤️. If you're willing to mentor someone please go to iamfreecodecamp.org and make a tweet making yourself available. It won't take 5 minutes till you get a lot of people asking you to be their mentor, I swear 🤞.

3. Meet freeCodeCamp "alumni" and get to know one another

Last but not least there's this curiosity I have about meeting other people like me/us that out of the blue done freeCodeCamp and rebooted to Software Engineering.

In 2018, I've met a lot of awesome people in the freeCodeCamp Top Contributor party, in Dublin. And I really mean awesome. We've spent two days talking about our stories and sharing experiences. There was a really good vibe in there.

From aerospace engineers to lawyers or music teachers. There's a diverse ecosystem of people changing careers and bringing a wide set of tools and expertise to put on the table.

Basically, if you accept the challenge and join me, we can tweet to make us available to meet other alumni and start to get to know one another in scheduled 1:1 meetings (1 hour) along the week.

I believe that besides curiosity and the desire to meet other alumni there's a hidden value on it. Together we can better help freeCodeCamp and the students.

We can come up with new ideas, new projects, new challenges. We can also help students fit here and there when there are entry level / junior opportunities in "our" companies.

I think in the end we would create a strong network which only can result in benefits for everyone.

4. I am ready 💪 ! Challenge Accepted!

Great! I'm so excited about your decision to join me on this quest!!!

Here are the details on how to start the challenges.

Note: You can also jump to iamfreecodecamp.org and go from there.

Basically we'll wave the website as a central information place and the iamfreeCodeCamp Twitter account to share all the effort and good vibes from everyone!

Challenge 1 (Donate):

Propose yourself to donate an amount of money in a monthly basis to freeCodeCamp during 2021.

You'll find an useful tweet button on iamfreecodecamp.org

Challenge 2 (Mentor students):

Propose yourself to spend one hour per week providing a 1:1 to a student. Make yourself available on twitter and invite people to apply sending you a short e-mail message telling you their story and why they are looking for a mentor. Pick the one you feel that needs more.

Have in mind the existence or not of local communities on the student region so that we can cover world areas where it's really hard to get to know other people / mentors.

You'll find an useful tweet button on iamfreecodecamp.org

Challenge 3 (meet other alumni):

Propose yourself to spend one hour per week or per month (choose your optimal frequency) meeting other alumni in a 1:1 meeting. This will be fun, I can assure you. It will certainly give you an energy boost.

You'll find an useful tweet button on iamfreecodecamp.org

5. Last but not least

Tweet a lot about your challenges.

Use the handler iamfreeCodeCamp and the tag #iamfreeCodeCamp along with the handler freeCodeCamp, and the tag #freeCodeCamp

You can also mention ossia and/or eduardovedes if you feel we can help you somehow.

Thank you for carefully reading this article to the end. I want to say a big thank you to Quincy Larson and André Jonas who directly or indirectly helped me to iterate and to create the proper time & space for the idea to ripen. Also a big shout-out to the Editorial Team who's helping freeCodeCamp News to grow so healthy, so rigorous, so well curated. Lots of hugs folks! ♥️️

If you've got a short question or message, please tweet to eduardovedes and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If it's a longer thing, or you don't want it to be public, please e-mail me - . I read all the emails and it's always a pleasure to provide all the help I can.

Never forget about the importance of being freeCodeCamp!

See you soon because #iamfreeCodeCamp. We ARE freeCodeCamp!

Eduardo Vedes,

 
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