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Ask HN: Good MOOCs to fill in self-education?
5 points by fizzbatter on June 21, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

I am a self taught developer with a shocking lack of education. I'd rather not go into the why (for fear of sounding like a sob story), but suffice it to say i'm far older than my resume would lead you to believe. Despite all of that, i am very fortunate that a position fell into my lap in a startup, and i moved my way into an engineer position, to which i'm doing alright. I've been there many years, but now, i'm looking to move on to a new job.

With that said, i feel like a CS fraud. My knowledge of computer science is woefully small, and competency i do feel i have is purely in building apps and (thankfully) writing clean code. However, i fear that clean code won't get me through an interview process. Memory management, bit shifting, algorithm design and computational cost, these are the things i'm terrible at and would love to feel competent at. So, i am attempting to fix that.

I've picked up a book about interview questions as recommended by a friend (Cracking the Code Interview, for those interested), and now i want to get a more focused understanding of computer science.

Are there any CS MOOC courses that you would recommend? I am hoping to find not only a good course, but one that will also teach me the fundamentals i'm missing. In a perfect world, it would skip much of the tedious setup that a lot of classes go through, but i suspect i may just have to bite that bullet.

I've heard good things about CS50x (on edx), but i fear it focuses to much on real world applications - something i have a fair handle on already. I need CS understanding, for interviews.

As an aside, feel free to recommend any MOOCs you think might help. I seek knowledge to fill my shortcomings.

Thanks to any replies!

Algorithms/data structures classes are a good start.

I hear that the Coursera algorithms classes by Prof Sedgwick (Princeton) and Prof Roughgarden (Stanford) are very good. I think the Princeton ones might not be available after the Coursera switchover so would recommend downloading the course content if you can. There were some threads on HN in the last week about it.

Also MIT OpenCourseware has Intro to Algorithms which I hear is good too.

I viewed classes from all three mentioned above and found Prof Sedwick's classes to be very structured and to my style/liking. Prof. Roughgarden is "free flowing" and may require fast thinking to follow him. Prof Demaine's classes gets very mathematical and I found myself sometimes lost in Greek symbols. But Prof. Demaine is very thorough in building the theory.

[1] Prof Sedwick: https://www.coursera.org/course/algs4partI

As @carise said, the content may be gone after June 30th and if you want to download, you can do so using coursera-dl tool


[2] Prof Roughgarden: https://www.coursera.org/learn/algorithm-design-analysis

[3] Prof Erik Demaine (MIT OpenCourseware): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUl4u3cNGP61Oq3tWYp6V...

There are videos of MIT's Prof Erik Demaine's Intro to Algo's from various semesters. I think any one should do.

Of the big three (Udacity, Coursera, EdX), my favorite for tech courses is Udacity. The others can be great, but the level of detail and clarity of instruction on Udacity is startling. I wonder how much better an experience undergraduate computer science must be for some people.

Here is my own selfstudy process...it works for me...

You can take whatever university degree. Read list of mandatory subjects. Take sylabus and list of recommended literature for every subject. From list of resources take one or two and read them. Almost every course has some fundamentals and introduction to X, to get all students on the same starting line. What you will not understand just ask someone more experienced or google it. Experienced colleague* he wil tell you some hidden notes or let you know this is not so important for your future career if dont wanna be xyz. Take just one and intensive course for month.

We are not fulltime students so we dont have such amount of time dedicated for study.

*you need to have trustworthy colleague who will support you. I know some highy skilled professionals but communication and learning from them is very difficult.

Another interesting resource for you to compare MOOC is class-central (not affiliated in any way).

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