Free Code Camp is learning with a purpose to help non-profits and an opportunity to become a coder

Here’s another site I just learned about that is all FREE! Love that! Their goal is to teach you how to code to help non-profits and to help you learn enough to change careers and find a job as a software engineer. You can join other Free Code Campers on Facebook and learn locally by looking at this link. FCC is even listed on LinkedIn as an educational institution. Check them out and start learning along with other sites like CodeAcademy.

Free Code Camp


What’s the difference between a coder, programmer, hacker, and a science major?

credit to vanderbilt dot edu.
credit to vanderbilt dot edu.

Technology changes quickly and versions of computer programs and languages are just as quick to be modified and created. Not only has technology changed but the people who are doing it are no longer typical math and science majors. Because of the web and the endless about of information and sharing, there are more and more self-taught programmers, coders, hackers and developers emerging – so what’s the difference in the names?

The terms that are used loosely in the non-tech world can and are used interchangeably (coder, programmer, hacker – although often thought of negatively – nerd, techie, etc) – these names don’t mean the same thing to some in the tech world. For that reason I did a little research and found a post with definitions which I’ll place here as I like the simplicity – thanks to Scott Hanselman’s blog.


These words might all mean the same thing to you. Perhaps you hear geek, nerd, and dweeb, but we all know these have very important differences. Knowing the differences also can give you a sense of how deep you want to go on your coding adventure.

  • Coders – Can pretty much figure out it. It’ll work, but it won’t be pretty.

  • Hackers – usually low level folks, skillful, with detailed understanding of some area deeply, often scarily deeply.

  • Programmer – Write code and understand algorithms. Often work alone and well.

  • Developer – Are the best generalists, can use lots of different systems and languages and get them to talk to each other. Are true and broad professionals, work with people, and communicate well.

  • Computer Scientist – Need to be able to prove how computers work, at a theoretical level. Are usually math people also.

With my social work and communication’s background I may be more of a developer, wanna be hacker/coder, but I have a little bit of programmer, computer scientist in me. That said, I’ll reserve the true definition of where I’m going, when I get there.

I’m going to Harvard to study CS50 – Computer Science

Well, actually NOT. CS50 is a popular intro course at Harvard, yes, “The Harvard” that has branched out to Miami and now can be taken online for free as an audit course, thanks to LauchCode. You can see the video of how the course is being taught at Miami and you can sign up at this link (cs50 Harvard) and take it yourself from your own computer.

Here’s a sample from the instructor here: 

Uh yeah, I’m getting side-tracked but then again, you gotta admit, this is a pretty cool opportunity. Go sign up and let me know how you like it!

Giving credit where credit is due

I was looking for a picture to go on my blog header when I came across this image. a-day-in-the-life

I thought this looks cool, so I tried to find what it was connected to and who to credit and found this cool site. It also had an interesting infographic so I’m placing it here:

a-day-in-the-life-3 so, I’m hoping since I did a link to the post, they’ll let me use their graphic, if not I’ll get a nice notice in my inbox. Thanks to Back&Blog for the images. – m

Who’s Ruby? How to start learning Rails with little or no experience.

ruby_and_rails It’s been a while since I’ve updated this site, of course we all get side tracked with life, especially if you’re working another job that’s outside of what you’re trying to learn on the side. After watching a video on a school in New York called Flatirons School – I was inspired to learn more about the school and how they think they can teach anyone to learn to code in 12 weeks, have a 99% employment rate as a coder upon graduation, with no degree and no previous experience in computers and programming. You can watch the video here:

‘Fast track coding academies to good paying jobs.’

One of the things that I find repeated said online with wanna be coders is, “where do I start?” That’s been an ongoing issue for myself as well, even when I find a site that says, ‘this is how to do it.’ I come up with roadblocks in the program downloaded or the training is taught to Mac users (I use a PC, Win 7, 64 bit), or there are other issues where the instructor is not detailed enough and I get caught in a rabbit trail trying to figure out how to do what the tutorial is saying to do.

All that and there are so many choices, the one positive thing I can say is that there is a consensus that learning to code for a beginner with little or no experience, is to look at Rails. Even in the arena of Ruby and Rails followers, there is disagreement on learning Rails first without knowing Ruby first – and then you need to know why you want to learn to code in the first place.


Nothing is secure in this world and I’ve always wanted to work from home or remotely and have a flexible schedule. I enjoy my job right now and it offers me benefits and a regular paycheck. Plus, I have a responsibility to a ministry and staff that I can say makes a difference to thousand of people around the world and indirectly to reach millions for Christ. If I put it that way, I would say, “I’m somebody.” But in reality, I also know that I can always be replaced and I’m not taking it for granted that I will have a job tomorrow. With that said and with my interest in computers since I got my first Commodore 64 back in the 80s and had my first “home computer” hooked up to my old black and white TV set, I’ve always been interested in what’s behind the screen, not the hardware, but what makes it tick. My motivation is to be able to create, design, and have the opportunity that I don’t have right now, if I lost my job or relocated or needed time for family, or illness, I could still work if I needed to from my computer.

Others may be motivated to learn to code because they want to get their idea out and not to have to be subject to a coder taking their ideas and waiting for them to get it right. Money is always an issue when hiring a coder and then being subject to working with someone to make your vision a reality. Whatever your motivation, get started, do research and follow a plan.


So, if you’ve been looking around doing research you’ve found the same online schools that I’ve found. Aren’t you glad you don’t need to spend 4 years in college to do this? Yes for me as I don’t have the time and money to go to college. When I was in college only the nerdy, mathematicians and science majors where looking at studying computer science and programming. Now, with the internet everyone can learn to code and learn enough to start businesses, and find jobs.

STARTING Where Flatiron Students Begin

There are a ton of schools and videos that you could start with so I went to the website for the Flatiron School and looked up where they start their students before they start their coursework. Applying to the Flatiron school is not an option for me at this time as they only do their 12 week programs in-person and in New York city. So, I’m doing the next best thing, I read that their students are required to go through 150 hours of online training from three online sites to get a good foundation. Since it’s so challenging to know where to start, this is where I am going to begin and try, try, try, not to get side tracked when I can’t figure out a piece of what I’m going through. This is where my blog will be going, on the journey to learn how to learn Ruby on Rails. Here’s a link to the prework for the Flatiron school.