2021 has been a big year for the global freeCodeCamp community. In this article, I will share some of the milestones we hit this year.

But first, let's look at some metrics to drive home the scale at which the freeCodeCamp community is now operating.

freeCodeCamp 2021 Statistics

In 2021, freeCodeCamp's entire operating budget was only $754,030.

With that humble budget, our nonprofit was able to deliver more than 2.1 BILLION minutes of instruction - the equivalent of 4,000 years of learning by people around the world.

A table showing growth of freeCodeCamp.org community over the past 7 years (exact data in table below)

Here are the exact numbers in their un-rounded glory:

+-------+------------------+-----------------+---------------+
| Year  | freeCodeCamp.org | YouTube Channel | Yearly Total  |
+-------+------------------+-----------------+---------------+
| 2015  |       37,367,085 |         246,639 |    37,613,724 |
| 2016  |      189,054,404 |       1,449,703 |   190,504,107 |
| 2017  |      307,802,640 |       8,331,843 |   316,134,483 |
| 2018  |      401,473,441 |      92,197,551 |   493,670,992 |
| 2019  |      347,393,464 |     474,000,000 |   821,393,464 |
| 2020  |      508,054,160 |     764,332,218 | 1,272,386,378 |
| 2021  |      907,059,417 |   1,217,082,060 | 2,124,141,477 |
+-------+------------------+-----------------+---------------+
| Total |    2,698,204,611 |   2,557,640,014 | 5,255,844,625 |
+-------+------------------+-----------------+---------------+

Every aspect of the freeCodeCamp community grew this year – the forum, curriculum, publication, and YouTube channel. We have averaged 60% year-on-year growth in usage since 2016.

We first launched freeCodeCamp.org 7 years ago, and have now delivered more than 5 billion minutes of instruction.

The closet office in my San Francisco Bay Area area apartment where I coded the first lines of the freeCodeCamp open source codebase back in October 2014. Update: I now have an entire room to work in. With a window.

At our current level of operational efficiency, every dollar you donate to freeCodeCamp provides nearly 50 hours of learning for people around the world.

For some perspective, I've met individual developers who work at tech companies and earn more than $750K per year just from doing their jobs. And we're running an entire global nonprofit with that.

(By the way, thanks to the 7,398 kind people who support freeCodeCamp with monthly donation of $5. If you aren't donating yet, here are some ways you can join these awesome supporters.)

Statistics on freeCodeCamp Campers Getting Developer Jobs

2021 has been a long year, but a hopeful one. Many countries have managed to emerge from the global pandemic. And many people in the freeCodeCamp community have invested their free time in learning new skills and ultimately building new careers for themselves.

The number of freeCodeCamp alumni working in software developer jobs has grown dramatically.

As of December 2021, we have over 217,000 people who self-report themselves as alumni (listing at least one certification on their LinkedIn profile).

LinkedIn's breakdown of where freeCodeCamp alumni live and which companies they work for. Note that both Upwork and Fiverr are freelancing platforms, indicating these alumni probably run their own development consultancy. Large accounting firms are also well-represented here, along with major tech companies.

Many of these people were already working as developers when they started using freeCodeCamp. But at least 40,000 of them have gotten their first tech job after earning a freeCodeCamp certification.

On that note, if you're reading this and haven't added your freeCodeCamp certifications to your LinkedIn profile, we added a button below your certification you can click to do so.

You can click the "Add this certification to my LinkedIn profile" button below your certifications.

The 4 Pillars of the Global freeCodeCamp Community

Starting in 2016, 4 main pillars of the freeCodeCamp community emerged. There are many aspects of the freeCodeCamp community, but these are the major ones. And all 4 of them grew significantly in usage in 2021.

Pillar #1: freeCodeCamp Core Curriculum usage grew by 44% in 2021

The 10 verified certifications you can earn if you can power through our lengthy, no-nonsense curriculum.

freeCodeCamp has a 3,000-hour, 10 certification-long software engineering curriculum. And we are actively working to expand it.

This year we published a Relational Database Certification that you can do right inside your computer's code editor. This will teach you key Linux, Git, SQL, and Postgres concepts and command line inputs. And we will soon make this available in-browser on freeCodeCamp.org. For now, you can install the entire certification and all its projects using Docker.

We have also made significant progress on the new Data Science Curriculum Expansion, which will add 11 new certifications to freeCodeCamp's core curriculum.

In the coming months, we will start pushing these to production one-by-one as they are ready. You can read about this curriculum expansion and view the planning documents to see what we'll cover here.

We also built a fully-interactive Rust course that we will publish within the next few weeks.

Finally, if you haven't tried it yet, we added Campfire Mode to freeCodeCamp, so you can hear soothing acoustic guitar as you type. You can turn this on in the freeCodeCamp settings.

Pillar #2: freeCodeCamp Publication usage grew 34% in 2021

Some of the tutorials we have published today on freeCodeCamp's publication

The community has now published more than 8,000 tutorials on topics ranging from cloud computing to coding your own guitar effect pedals. We are selective, and carefully edit all of these tutorials.

The next time you Google a programming or IT topic, see if you can find a freeCodeCamp tutorial among the results. It should be able to help you understand the topic so you can keep moving forward.

Pillar #3: The freeCodeCamp Forum usage grew 44% in 2021

The freeCodeCamp Forum continues to be one of the most polite places to talk about technology on the web. You can ask programming questions to the community or get constructive feedback on your projects.

And the reason it's such a polite, productive place is the kind people who hang out there and help people. Here are the most helpful people of the past year. (Full browsable leaderboard)

A screenshot of the freeCodeCamp forum leaderboard for the past year. People often give a heart to other people who help them solve their programming questions. Kind of like Stack Overflow or Quora. The main distinction is that with the freeCodeCamp forum, we seek to be friendly and inclusive above all else.

Pillar #4: The freeCodeCamp Community YouTube Channel

A screenshot of the freeCodeCamp community YouTube channel

Last but not least, we have the freeCodeCamp community YouTube channel. We post free full-length courses on math, computer science, and programming.

In 2021, we posted more than 140 full-length courses from software engineers and university professors. Here are a few popular courses we published in the past 12 months – each with more than a million views on YouTube:

Come to think of it, these three courses have something in common. Can you spot it?

I made a silly meme. Python. So hot right now. Python. (Image from 2001 comedy Zoolander.)

Sustainability – How is our nonprofit doing?

This is the part where I say, "If you don't donate to our nonprofit, freeCodeCamp will cease to exist, our servers will sputter to a halt, and Quincy will have to sell one of his kidneys to cover next month's AWS bill."

Except that isn't true. Not at all. The reality is our nonprofit has been careful about how we allocate our scarce donor funds. And we are operating well within our means.

We try to be as open as possible about how we run our nonprofit. For example, we have a platinum transparency rating from GuideStar.org.

And if you're curious, here's our most recent 990. This is, essentially, an annual report that nonprofits file with the US government.

We have a 10 year project road map thanks to our careful planning. We don't have any investors or corporate interests to answer to. We answer only to you – our community.

And I hope we are doing a good job of giving you what you all want: excellent free learning resources on math, computer science, and programming. Because we are going to be doing more of that. With your help (and your donations) we can do a lot more.

Remember those numbers from earlier? For every dollar donated we turn around and provide nearly 50 hours of learning to people around the world.

If you want to support an extremely donation-efficient nonprofit, here are several ways you can do that – whichever works easiest for you.

If you have a Patreon account, you can support us there.

Or you can support us through GitHub.

Or you can support us directly through freeCodeCamp's donate page.

You can also make one time donations if you prefer. Again, whichever way works best for you.

If you don't have the resources to donate, no problem. freeCodeCamp will always be free. You can support us later if you want to, once you're getting paid to apply your newly-earned developer skills.

Your donations will help us expand our budget and the scale of our mission: to help people learn to code for free by creating videos, articles, and interactive coding lessons - all freely available to the public.

Happy holidays to you and your family. Thank you for taking the time to read this quick recap of our community in 2021.

2022 is going to be a big year for the community. And I'm excited to have you here with us. Happy coding.

Me with the kids: Jocelyn and Quentin. They'll learn to code when they feel ready :)