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Ask HN: What's the most useful online course you have watched?
99 points by dexxter on Mar 15, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 45 comments
Fellow Hackers, I am bored and want to learn something new.

Have you watched any interesting/useful online courses recently on Coursera/Udemy/edX/OpenUniversity/others?

It can be free/paid and I am open to any discipline.

Joel Spolsky did a really good one-hour primer on Excel. If you squirm at the thought of spreadsheet anything, this video is for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nbkaYsR94c

Just wanted to come back and say thanks for posting this.

I don't think I've ever learnt so many great tips about a program I use quite frequently in this short of a video.

I took a course on Excel in high school and was just as shocked as you. It's an excellent, highly informative video. Pass it on!

There's a really excellent course on starting a startup, from Sam Altman (President of YCombinator).


It was delivered as a live lecture at Stanford, with presentations by Sam Altman himself, as well as Dustin Moskovitz, Paul Graham, Adora Cheung, Peter Thiel, Alex Schultz, Kevin Hale, Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway, Parker Conrad, Brian Chesky, Alfred Lin, Patrick and John Collison, Ben Silbermann, Aaron Levie, Reid Hoffman, Keith Rabois, Ben Horowitz, Emmett Shear, Hosain Rahman, Kirsty Nathoo, Carolynn Levy, and Tyler Bosmeny.

My favorite presenter is Reid Hoffman, but all the lectures are awesome. If you're a startup founder, you owe it to yourself to watch them all...

Second this. You can also get this as a podcast, which is just as easy to learn from.

I really enjoyed the free "CS193P" course from Stanford with Paul Hegarty. It is not 100% up-to-date but still a good start, covering Xcode/iOS8/Swift:


I recommend this course whenever I have the opportunity.

I started iOS programming about a year ago and it really helped me with grasping how to use Auto Layout in XCode, once you learn that the API is easy to pickup if you have some experience in mobile development.

Swift is a pleasure to use.

Gilbert Strang's linear algebra


Walter Lewin's Classical Mechanics


for the content and the delivery

CS50 https://cs50.harvard.edu/

David Malan in the best lecturer I've ever seen.

Introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. This course teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. Topics include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. Languages include C, PHP, and JavaScript plus SQL, CSS, and HTML. Problem sets inspired by real-world domains of biology, cryptography, finance, forensics, and gaming. Designed for concentrators and non-concentrators alike, with or without prior programming experience


This was my introduction to CS/programming and is the counterexample to any claim that C makes for a terrible first language. It just needs a phenomenal lecturer.

The computing environment gets you going with Linux which avoids IDE handholding and the recitations and other helpful videos and the forums all make for a great learning experience, even for people are complete programming neophytes.

Following it up with something like Coursera's Hardware/Software Interface would be a great way of cementing the concepts.

This is the best javascript video i've ever seen. if you wait they do deals all the time, no need to pay $200 it will go on sale usually around $15-$20


Just came across this link from the course authors twitter

Javascript: Understanding the Weird Parts - the first 3.5 hours free on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Bv_5Zv5c-Ts

Also has the entire course at 87% off


I can second this - even though I have been programming in JS for > 5y, I feel like I have a much better understanding of what is going on 'under the hood' now. I actually bought his other course on AngularJS when I was looking to learn it, and enjoyed it/found it useful enough to immediately buy the vanilla JS course as well. Great stuff!

I highly recommend Kyle Simpson's Advanced JavaScript (available at Frontend Masters and Pluralsight). It's also very good. Actually, just watch everything he makes for Frontend Masters!

I enjoyed Andrew Ng's Machine Learning course on Coursera. Why don't you give it a shot.

Yes, came here to say this. While I never completed the course (started OMSCS @ Ga Tech shortly after), it did cement my desire to focus on machine learning in my graduate studies. Highly recommended!

Although I didn't finish it I thought it was very interesting as well as accessible for someone without a CS background.

CSE341: Programming Languages by Dan Grossman


Coursera, learning how to learn.

+1 for "Learning How to Learn". Helpful for improving study habits.

+1, It is useful for everybody (older than 14y?). I think you should follow it before university.

Dang, with all these +1's, it looks like I need to pick this back up...




These are paid, and not exactly a course but the Destroy All Software screencasts are great, and cover a lot of topics like shell scripting, VIM / EMACS, testing, refactoring etc.


They're by Gary Bernhardt of Wat fame, which is also worth a watch for its presentation style and amusing content:


Those are soo good. He has a talent for talking while typing and his style of presentation keeps you intrigued and content so densely packed it'll keep you rewinding saying, 'wait, wat was that?'

Do you have any more feedback on this? What did you find most useful from the course?

I found this course to embody a lot of the "business insights" that you can learn at an MBA. At the end of the course I felt that it added a lot to my knowledge, and I could instantly stuff I picked up in my current position.

udemy has some really questionable business practices

go on

This may give some insight: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10638795

Coursera/UPenn's Aerial Robotics course (https://www.coursera.org/learn/robotics-flight) and more broadly the robotics sequence.

I'm taking now for a diversion (just started) and expect to learn a bit about quadrotor mechanics, sensors & control systems.

This guy is an amazing C#/.Net trainer as well as object oriented programming concepts. Great for people coming from a Javascript background. http://www.learnvisualstudio.net/

I did Creative Problem Solving through Coursera and had a great time participating in the class projects.

There are some great tools which you can use in your everyday life to think innovative solutions to problems. The exercises were incredible fun as well.


Another course which I highly recommend is Learning How To Learn https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn

Anything else from Brady Haran is pretty fun and educational. Not exactly in the spirit of pedantry and sit-down-and-take-notes, but really fun and engaging (like all good teachers should be, I say)






Introduction to Operations Management Professor Christian Terwiesch brilliantly and understandably explains the math behind "operations".... which explains Lean, Agile, DevOps and everything from running a restaurant to a doctor's office.


Algorithms by Robert Segdewick and Cloud Computing Concepts on Coursera. First is an essential, second is a really good intro into distributed systems.

Getting started with GO with Andrew Gerrand. Not only did it teach me the basics of GO but showing his keystrokes demystified vim as well :)


Robert Sapolsky`s lectures on human behavioral biology.

Fascinating, funny and gives insights into many different topics like cultural differences and nationalism.


Artificial Intelligence for Robotics Programming a Robotic Car

Sebastian Thrun (former leader of Google and Stanford's autonomous driving teams that won the DARPA challenge) teaches a class focusing on the basic methods in Artificial Intelligence to support autonomous vehicles, including: probabilistic inference, planning and search, localization, tracking and control, all with a focus on robotics. Programming examples and assignments apply these methods to building self-driving car like experiments.

Free course!


CS 61c lectures from UC Berkeley. Computer architecture. Ideal if you are good with data structures / algorithms but the machine still feels like magic. It is empowering to understand what the machine is really doing.

Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl is a good starter course on Rails.


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