Fortunately, 74HC devices are supposed to meet certain specifications
Hence my suggestion to read the DS. I once became very unstuck when a bucket load of chips turned up with NC where there was supposed to be an inverted output! Once bitten....
FYI Ruffsta, many chips are supplied without (or unreadable) part numbers, but they will usually have the manufacturers name/logo (logos are another learning curve) (hint, dampen with a whetted finger tip and angle to light)
I would suggest (to anyone who hasn't yet) getting hold of some data sheets of components you are familiar with (LEDs, Transistors, even Resistors) because it does take a while before you "get your eye in". They are filled with information that is of little interest to the average punter unless you want to push the envelope. You will find details of the package, soldering criteria, operating and storage minima & maxima, more graphs than you can shake a stick at, exemplar circuits, test circuits. But you will also find pin-outs, application notes, sometimes circuit layout advice (more so for high frequency, crystals/resonators etc.), de-coupling advice, table of operating voltages, source/sink current, operating and quiescent current etc. PRINT THEM OUT, write all over them, they are your best friend, a well fondled data sheet should have coffee rings and dog ears. If you go though my filing cabinets and pull job folders, you will find data sheets by the score! You have to learn to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Some slightly off topic advice that will pay dividends...
Breadboards : Treat them with love and care, a damaged board will cause you grief and have you chasing your tail.
Soldering Irons : Forget them! Get a soldering station! I just picked one up from ebay for a few quid for my son. Ensure that it is temperature controlled
(not just variable voltage) 40-60W with a selection of tips, but I personally hardly ever use anything other than a fine pencil tip.
You could of course make one using an Arduino, but seriously, for the money....
Again, treat with love! A tinned tip is a happy tip. Keep your sponge damp, use good quality solder and use the lowest temperature that allows you to solder confidently. Cleanliness is next to shinieness!
Sarcastic Hint: If you were supposed to carry the solder to the joint on the tip of the iron, they would be equipped with little ladles! If your iron has a little ladle, it's past time to change the tip
One last tip: Break your project down and joy it! If daisy chaining 20 chips, first prove that you can drive one, that it does everything you want, then two, again, test it! Then twenty, you will find success will be matter of fact, not a rarity and the same goes for your code, break it down in to simple, testable blocks. And don't just copy, understand! edit, fiddle, play.
Oh, and have fun!