It begins…

FreeCodeCamp Section: Getting Started
Time estimate: 15m
Time actual: 26m to 36m (depending on what you count)

I had pressed the big pinkish button, and deleted my existing FreeCodeCamp profile that had been languishing for several months.  I wanted to provide feedback to the community on how long things took for me, and I needed to start over to provide that on the earlier sections.  I was now ready to begin.

The first task, before even starting the “getting started” section, is to create a login, and that is where my clock begins…

The starting place is obviously  The first thing that caught my eye was the big yellow “Sign in” button on the top right of the screen.  Clicking that – or the other even bigger “Start learning to code (it’s free)” button lower down on the page – takes you to the same sign in page.

When I did this on January 5th, 2016, there were six options, and what looks like a legacy email login link that is a bit confusing:

  • Sign in with Github
  • Sign in with Facebook
  • Sign in with Google
  • Sign in with LinkedIn
  • Sign in with Twitter
  • sign up with your email address
  • a weird, “if you originally signed up using your email address, you can sign in here” option.

I had all six types of accounts available to use, but while I used my email account to sign up on my first FreeCodeCamp go-round, I realized that this was eventually pushed aside by the Github account I was asked to create during the “Getting Started” steps.  Because of that, experience, I just clicked on my GitHub account, and was automatically logged in.FreeCodeCampGettingStarted

The first section is called “Getting Started” , and it consisted (as of this writing) of the following five “Waypoints”:


It had taken between 5 and 15 minutes to get this far, what between considering sign in options, writing this blog, etc., so with that, I expected getting through to the end of this section should take about 30 minutes total.

I had been through all this information before, done the GitHub configuration, etc., so this section went much faster for me than it would for someone completely new.  The information was interesting, but the one statement that gave me pause – as it had every time I’d read it – was this:

“…no one has actually completed our entire program, because campers get jobs before they’re able to.”

Was this a blessing or a curse?  I was determined to find out…

I did learn one new thing that I’d missed before – the process of changing your Notification settings for Gitter is required per-room.  In other words, when you click on the wrench and screwdriver icon, select “Notifications”, and change the default from “Notify me for all messages” to “Notify me when somebody mentions me”, you are changing the setting for that room only.  You need to change this setting for each room you join…unless you actually do want to be notified of every message sent in that room.

In my previous FreeCodeCamp experience, I never really asked a question in Gitter.  I did leave some feedback somewhere about a broken Waypoint or two, but I never used Gitter other than to say “Hello!” at the beginning.  A big goal this time around is to try and participate more in the forums – either as a question asker or a question answerer.

All-in-all, it took me about 21 minutes to get through the Getting Started section, not counting the 5 to 15 minutes it took working through the sign up procedure.  Again, this is heavily impacted by writing this blog at the same time, so the 15 minute suggestion is probably accurate for many (though I did find myself getting lost in the Gitter forums, which can soak up a ton of time if you let it.)

At the end of the section, I was dropped at the first HTML Waypoint .  FreeCodeCamp is pretty good about moving you through the content.  Just keep clicking, and you’ll be guided along.  If you leave and come back, just click the Learn link at the top of the page.  Simple as that.


So, in about a half-an-hour I was back up and running in FreeCodeCamp.  Next stop, learning!


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