Podcast: From homeschooler to self-taught full stack developer

Podcast: From homeschooler to self-taught full stack developer

In this week's episode of the freeCodeCamp podcast, Abbey chats with Madison Kanna, a full-stack developer who works remotely for Mediavine. Madison describes how homeschooling affected her future learning style, how she tackles imposter syndrome and failure, and how she helps others teach themselves to code.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/from-homeschooler-to-fullstack-developer/

I only got to listen to the first 10 minutes of this before my meetings this morning, but it is a great interview so far. I talked with Madison last week (she’s an author here on freeCodeCamp News) and she is incredibly thoughtful in everything she does.

Her advice is straightforward and actionable: don’t focus on what to learn - focus on how you’re learning it.


Ok - I finished listening to the interview, and have some more thoughts.

First of all, Madison is one of the most upbeat guests we’ve had on the podcast. It’s clear that she takes pride in her work as a developer and as a teacher.

Whenever she starts talks about her childhood - being homeschooled all the way through, with almost no structure at all - I get a bit envious. She spent months at a time deep diving into topics she was curious about like dinosaurs, or just digging really deep into a video game.

If someone can grow up with that little structure and still turn out as capable as she is, it really does call into question the necessity of a lot of my experience as a kid in late 20th century American schools. Madison is just an anecdote and may not be representative of homeschoolers in general, but it does give me something to think about.

Madison has some excellent book suggestions here, as well. I picked up Cal Newport’s Deep Work for me and @beaucarnes to read.

One of the most important things Madison talks about is her willingness to work for free - essentially as an unpaid intern - early in her developer career.

People will quickly point out that few people are in a position to just work for free. And to them I would point out - around 1/3 of Americans go to college, and during this time they are not only forgoing full-time work but also spending a lot of money on tuition, fees, and cost of living. Sure - in 2019, much of that is debt-financed. But I know many people who were able to room with your parents or a friend in an inexpensive city, and do an unpaid internship while living off savings or working a part-time job.

Not everyone can afford to go to college, and similarly, not everyone can afford to do an unpaid internship. But I would encourage people to step back and really evaluate all the numbers before they dismiss the idea of unpaid internships (or of college, for that matter).

This unpaid internship seems to have been critical for Madison’s development of skills as a developer, and ultimately for her developer career.

Overall, I really enjoyed this podcast and I encourage everyone to give it a listen.

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I completed my responsive web designed project but I didn’t recieve certificate

Be sure to check freecodecamp.org/settings - you can claim your certifications there.

I downloaded the podcast yesterday and looking forward to listen it!

I’ve read Deep Work months ago and I must say it’s a wonderful book. I didn’t appreciate why being distracted in this age is problematic, until recently and the researches shown in the book are quite insightful. His suggestions for the problem while sound interesting, are not easy to apply right away. It will take a while before I see any results.

Thanks to that, I’m now seriously considering reducing the time I spend on social media and delete accounts that aren’t useful at all. I’ll continue using Twitter, because it’s still relevant in my situation.

In any case, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of benefits, or at least give you food for thoughts.

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