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From Construction Worker to Teaching Millions of Developers with John Smilga [Podcast #122]

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From Construction Worker to Teaching Millions of Developers with John Smilga [Podcast #122]

On this week’s episode of the podcast, I interview prolific programming teacher John Smilga. John grew up in the Soviet Union. He worked construction for 5 years before becoming a developer. Today he has taught millions of fellow devs through his many courses on freeCodeCamp.

John spent his childhood in Latvia before the Soviet Union fell. He sought work in the UK as an expat hospitality worker on the tiny island of Guernsey.

But he had his sights set on moving to the US. There he worked as a construction worker and taught himself to code. He also attended online university courses to get a degree.

And he met his wife, a nurse from Ukraine. Together they started a family and live together in Florida.

During this conversation, John talks about his journey into teaching the programming and computer science concepts he’s learned. He talks about his free courses on freeCodeCamp and his paid courses that help him pay the bills.

John’s voice is instantly recognizable by developers. He shares that this is because he has condition where is vocal cords are partially paralyzed, for which he has to receive frequent injections.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Can you guess what bass line I’m playing on my bass during the intro? It’s from a 1982 song produced by Quincy Jones.

Be sure to follow The freeCodeCamp podcast in your favorite podcast app. And share this podcast with a friend. Let’s inspire more folks to learn to code and build careers for themselves in tech.

You can watch the interview on freeCodeCamp’s YouTube channel:

Or you can listen to the podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. You can also listen to the podcast below, right in your browser:

Also, I want to thank the 9,003 kind people who support our charity each month, and who make this podcast possible. You can join them and support our mission at: https://www.freecodecamp.org/donate

Links we talk about during the interview:

John’s personal website: https://johnsmilga.com/

John Smilga on Twitter: https://twitter.com/john_smilga

Guernsey island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernsey

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