CS50 is Harvard’s introduction to computer science course. Extremely popular for CS majors and non-CS majors alike, it brings students into the world of computer science in an approachable, but very immersive way.
That popularity on the Harvard campus is not unique to the real world. In fact, CS50 is one of the most popular online classes available through edX.org as well.
And with good reason, not only is the class excellent all around in terms of content but what also sets it apart from other courses is that the video production value for this course is on another level I have yet to see anywhere else. Multiple cameras to facilitate different angles, excellent audio, excellent transcription, a huge community of online students eager to communicate with others across the globe, and it’s all free. Plus that Harvard name, that sweet, sweet Harvard name. It’s hard for other courses to compete.
So, great. You’ve been meaning to learn more about CS anyway. Get your feet wet, and learn some programming. Where do you sign up?
This is an excellent course to teach you the foundations of computer science, problem-solving, and from my experience dives deeper into these competencies than what a lot of other programming courses online get into.
However, be forewarned, the classes are long, the subject matter is difficult, and the instructor – David J. Malan – goes through the lectures with breakneck speed. This can be an asset since it can help energize this 2 hours per lecture-long course, but remember that there are an additional 15-30 minutes of problem set explanation videos from TA’s and a handful of command line homework exercises per week as well.
Those TA videos are much more practical and technical as they dive deeper into the command line executing side of this course. But it’s all necessary. You want to learn the history and background behind why something a computing function, but you also want to get that hands on experience trying it out for yourself and solving problem sets that deal with that lectures concept.
Particularly, if you work full-time and come home after a long day of work. Sitting down in front of a computer to watch a lecture, then TA videos, and try to do homework, all of this can really suck up your evenings and before you know it, it’s late and you should head to bed.
But it’s been promising, at least for me, after watching a couple of lectures I’ve found value in learning more about CS and I’ve been able to understand and apply a few new concepts in my job as a Tech Analyst.
I’ve embarked on this journey to finish 12 lectures, and I joined a study group on Facebook where we virtually hold each other accountable, and help each other out with questions we may have. I’m hoping to find a real-world study group as well, but I will keep the blog posted as I continue to through this journey to gain a computer science/coding education for free online.