Interview with Envy Labs developer Carlos Souza

Envy Labs developer Carlos Souza talks about Code School and playing in a band

work and play
Image by :


Get the newsletter

Join the 85,000 open source advocates who receive our giveaway alerts and article roundups.

All Things Open eBook

Download the free All Things Open interview series eBook

I first heard of Carlos "Caike" Souza about a year ago while interviewing another developer for my bi-weekly podcast. My guest and I were discussing the things and people who inspired him and helped pave the way for his career. Carlos came up several times during that conversation.

Carlos Souza is a developer for Envy Labs, the company behind Rails for Zombies, Code School, and

I recently got an opportunity to speak with him, and it didn't take long for me to understand why he is referred by others as a source of inspiration. For me, talking with Carlos was the equivalent of riding the tallest roller coaster for the first time! He is genuinely dedicated to his career and projects, and his passion shows through when he talks about his experiences and future plans. His positive attitude and enthusiasm for everything, from coding best practices to his Small Acts Manifesto to music, is infectious. Check out his blog!

Read more in my interview with Carlos Souza here.

What does your day look like at Envy Labs?

I'm a developer, and I do a little bit of everything from working on new Code School courses to working on Envy Labs client projects.

I've been developing web applications for many years and almost exclusively using the Rails framework for the past 4 years. We use Rails for most of our client work at Envy Labs and also to build some of our products, like Code School. At the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, I will be talking about some of the changes in the recently released version 4 of Rails and some tricks and tips we've been using here at Envy Labs that help our Rails developers be more efficient.

When did you get involved with open source?

I got involved with open source back in my first year in college, around 2003, when I was just getting started with programming. Most of the books and references I'd come across were related to open source technologies, like programming languages, frameworks, and operating systems. Reading about the philosophy behind open source just made sense.

I remember reading articles about Ubuntu written by you, Og! I'm always looking for ways to contribute back to the community by sharing code, writing articles, giving presentations, and running user groups. I'm grateful to be a part of this amazing community.

I saw on your Facebook page that you play bass in a rock band. Is it safe to assume that music plays an important role in your career/life?

Music plays a huge role in my life, and it's as big of a passion of mine as programming. Seeing someone listening to a song I've written is just like seeing someone using an app I've made. I've always played in bands, but I need to update my Facebook page because I actually left Heroes Will Fall a couple months ago. With all of the traveling I've been doing for work, I haven't been able to commit to the band as much as I'd like to. Playing live is a lot of work, so I've decided to leave the band. I still like to play music at home when I get a chance.

Envy Labs created Code School. Can you tell us what it is and how it came about?

Code School is an online learning platform. We've created it with the goal of allowing people to learn new technologies without going through the trouble of setting up a local environment. All of you have to do is visit a web page, watch videos, and go through code challenges straight from your browser window.

We currently offer courses on Ruby, Rails, front-end and backend JavaScript, design and front-end development, and iOS. We create everything ourselves, from content to video production. One new course at least is launched every month.

How do the courses Code School offer differ from something like Coursera? What are the advantages of using Code School?

All Code School courses have an interactive portion which allows students to code from their browser, no setup required. We want people to get a taste of what's like to work with the language or framework we are teaching.

We have over 460,000 registered users and we have a lot of team accounts from different companies that use Code School to train their staff. We've worked together with companies like GitHub and Google to develop courses for some of their technologies. From the Envy Labs side, we've also worked with companies, the most recent one being CISCO, to develop their own custom learning platforms.

What can we expect from Code School in the near future?

You can expect Code School to always be looking for the most effective way to teach new technologies and complex topics.


Read more from the All Things Open speaker interview series.


About the author

Og Maciel - Og Maciel has been involved with Free and Open Source projects since early 1997 when he installed GNU/Linux for the very first time! He has been deeply involved specifically with translating software to his native Brazilian Portuguese language and has spearheaded many community projects along the way. When he's not getting elbows deep into new projects, he can be found working on his podcast or reading about history.