David Malan didn't write a single line of code until he was in college.

And even when he did enroll in Harvard's intro to computer science - CS50 - he took the course as pass/fail, because he was worried he wouldn't be able to handle the material.

Fast forward 20 years - David now has a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and now teaches that very course. And what a course it has become.

CS50 is now the most popular course at Harvard. And thanks to the work of David and his colleagues, hundreds of thousands of people have taken the course online for free.

We recently posted the lectures for the course on freeCodeCamp's YouTube channel - including the CS50 game development course - all free and commercial-free.


I interviewed both David and Colton Ogden about these courses and the history behind them.

They share tips for how to effectively learn computer science, and some advice for teachers and for community leaders as well.

Colton shares one of his favorite game development hacks, and David tell us the story behind the CS50 catchphrase: "this is CS50"

It's clear to me that David Malan and Colton Ogden care deeply about their students and the field of computer science as a whole.

This week, during one of your commutes or workout sessions, make time to listen to this interview. It's 2 hours of solid interview - no intro, outro, or ad breaks - so we're able to go into rich detail.

You can listen in your favorite podcast player app - just search for "freecodecamp" and you should find it.

If you have an Amazon Echo, you can just say "Alexa - play the freeCodeCamp podcast."

Or you can listen to it right here in your browser.

Show Notes:

Follow CS50 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cs50

Subscribe to the CS50 podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cs50-podcast/id1459708246

Test out CS50's Integrated Development Environment: https://ide.cs50.io/

And CS50's Sandbox: https://sandbox.cs50.io/

The article Colton mentions about Resident Evil 2 on N64 (PDF): https://twvideo01.ubm-us.net/o1/vault/GD_Mag_Archives/GDM_September_2000.pdf

The Steve Ballmer CS50 guest lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lhlKF6MECs

And Steve Ballmer's sales pitch of CS50 itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El2mr5aS8y0

Fun fact: Brian Kernighan, whom David mentions as the CS50 teacher who preceded him, is also the co-creator of the C programming language. He's even has his own card in freeCodeCamp Programmer Playing Cards: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/introducing-programmer-playing-cards-d3eeeffe9a11/