Software Developer Teaches Homeless Man How to Code and Build an App

One day, Patrick McConlogue announced that he was going to teach a homeless man JavaScript and help him code his own app. Patrick, a 23-year-old software programmer, passed a certain homeless man every day while on his way to work and decided to run the idea by him to see if he was going to be the one.

“The idea is simple,” Patrick wrote on his website. Without disrespecting him, I will offer two options:

1. I will come back tomorrow and give you $100 in cash.

2. I will come back tomorrow and give you three JavaScript books, (beginner-advanced-expert) and a super cheap basic laptop. I will then come an hour early from work each day-when he feels prepared-and teach him to code.”

Sure enough, the ambitious homeless man, named Leo,  decided he wanted to learn how to code,  thinking that the money could be easily spent in a week while the knowledge would be a great asset to him in the future. “He told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more,” Leo said. “It’s not like I don’t have the time to learn to do it.” Leo has been homeless for two years after he lost his job as a life insurance agent and came home only to find out that his rent went up as a consequence of luxury condominiums being built near his apartment. Despite his bad luck, Leo cared to mention that he was not unhappy or desperate when Patrick offered to teach him. Even though he believed “coding was something that went over like, a dessert” most likely thinking it meant “coating”, the man wanted to diversify his abilities so that he could once more be able to sustain himself financially.

homeless-programmer

Photo: Business Insider

Patrick’s idea has been harshly criticized by some people who believed that giving Leo food, clothes or a place to stay would have been better choices. Others found Patrick’s approach truly insulting. Nevertheless he responded that his take on this is similar to that of an old saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Ignoring the critics, the young programmer bought Leo a cheap Samsung Chromebook laptop, three programming books, his own WI-FI hotspot and started teaching him how to code. Every morning Patrick would leave home an hour earlier so he could meet Leo in a park to teach him about the multitude of variables and functions he needed to master in order to become a true software developer. They have been working on an app together that they plan on launching at the end of their eight week journey. Although they want to keep the app a secret for now, they assure us that it’s a wonderful idea and that it involves one of Leo’s major interests – global warming and climate change.

homeless-programmer2

Photo: Patrick McConlogue

Patrick and Leo are halfway through their experiment and are very happy with what they have managed to achieve so far. Despite some criticism, their message has been generally well received and they have accumulated a fairly large fan base that they keep updated via the project’s Facebook page.

Sources: Business Insider,  ABC News


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Feedback (1 Comment)

  • Asok Asus Posted on October 17, 2013

    Give me a break. This whole thing is a boat load of hooey. A long time ago ago in a place far, far away, I taught FORTRAN 101 in college, and only about 2 people in 30 every really “got” the whole programming concept.

    Javascript is infinitely more difficult than FORTRAN and it strains credulity that some random homeless person can be plucked off the street and taught programming, Javascript, HTML, some app API, etc., etc. in 8 weeks when the average (relatively well-prepared) college student 35 years ago could barely complete a dozen, simple, well-defined 25-line FORTRAN programs.