You Should | Try freeCodeCamp

Do you remember Neopets? Actually-it’s still going. I wasn’t expecting that. Anyway, back when Neopets was a big thing-we’re talking twelve fifteen years ago- I played it religiously. After school, but before everyone else was home, I was on there.

You Should Try freeCodeCamp

Other than the cutting edge graphics (they were then!) what thrilled me the most? The fact you could design your Neopet pet’s page. You could play about in the HTML. It even gave a quick guide to HTML, it’s still up actually here. There was some thrill about being able to enter in words and numbers in one page- then seeing the reaction upon refreshing the target.

Gif of Neopets

Mum, like with all my ventures (there were many), supported me. She even lent me HTML guide. It was a bit advanced but I thought it was a treasure trove of magic. A tech magazine Mum had a subscription used to have a kids section. Occasionally I’d try it out.


I can’t remember why I stopped. I unfortunately lost interest in thing quickly when I was that age. Something I’m trying to train myself out of- I’m getting there I think!

Zip back to the present day. My job requires me to able to understand things like Java, and a selection of other front end languages. I can get along with samples and a bit of looking up of things- but it’s high time I learn it properly.

Belov’d, having joined the company earlier than me, came to the same realisation. He suggested a wonderful place to learn: freeCodeCamp. It blew off the cobwebs of HTML, gradually introduced CSS, then simple JavaScript. If it’s something you’re considering, especially as this is the start of New Year! So far I’ve done two of the challenges it put forward.

The challenges are set up very similar to how you maybe approached to design something for someone. A list of specific requirements including elements that need to be present. Setting out a list of criteria, mixing “User Stories” like:

I can click on a link that will take me to an external website with further information on the topic

Along with an example of what you’re being asked to create coupled with Read-Search-Ask method of looking for answers. Read-Search-Ask is the method that freeCodeCamp champions. Encouraging you to read and seek out the answers before asking outright for assistance- after all that is kind of how it would happen if you were doing this professionally. You do it all on a natty little site called Codepen.

The first challenge is creating a Tribute page, challenge 112. I finished up with this little page to Henri Cartier-Bresson. The ‘pen’ with the code on is here, it’s not really that impressive- it’s not uncomparable to the things I wrote for Neopets! But seriously there has been some development, but I’m pretty happy with it.

Right after, challenge 113, was building a Portfolio page. Although it’s not completely polished I do rather like it. You can see the visual here and the code here. Currently it’s just a bit of bulking, kitty ipsum is amazing, with placeholder images from my Instagram. It’s a start. I’m pretty happy that I managed to get a minimal scroll effect with the links, learning about anchor points and the like. Proud that I worked out how to make the Awesome Font work out as well. In general I’m pretty damn pleased with it especially as I did it all in one day!

If you’re thinking of doing anything like this, as part of a New Year’s resolution or anything, I’d really recommend it. Not only do you build up your knowledge of this but also your confidence with technology in a straightforward way. You even get a recognised developer certificates once you’ve completed it.

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