Harvard’s Free Computer Science Course Teaches You to Code in 12 Weeks

At the begin­ning of last year, we wrote about CS50, Harvard’s Intro­duc­to­ry Com­put­er Sci­ence course, taught by Pro­fes­sor David Malan. Today, we bring you the updat­ed ver­sion of the class, filmed through­out the past semes­ter at Har­vard. Why revis­it an updat­ed ver­sion of the same class a year lat­er? For one thing, the mate­r­i­al has been updat­ed. And, as you can tell by the rous­ing recep­tion Malan receives from the audi­ence at the start of the first lec­ture (above), Malan is kind of a big deal. From his open­ing boom of “This is CS50,” Malan imme­di­ate­ly comes off as an unusu­al­ly charis­mat­ic pro­fes­sor. He offers what might just be the most engag­ing online class you’ve ever seen.

So what does this charis­mat­ic com­put­er sci­en­tist cov­er over three months? An impres­sive­ly large amount of infor­ma­tion about cod­ing. Malan builds the course from the ground up, and begins by describ­ing how tran­sis­tors are employed to trans­mit infor­ma­tion with­in com­put­ers. From then on, he out­lines a vast amount of com­put­er sci­ence in high­ly acces­si­ble lan­guage. This will almost undoubt­ed­ly be the clear­est pre­sen­ta­tion of top­ics like “com­mand-line argu­ments,” “cryp­tog­ra­phy,” and “dynam­ic mem­o­ry allo­ca­tion” that you’re like­ly to hear.

The class videos are avail­able on iTune­sU, YouTube, and in audio, 1080p HD video, and text tran­script form on a crisp course web­site. The course may also be accessed through edX, Har­vard and MIT’s MOOC plat­form, which allows users to receive a cer­tifi­cate upon com­ple­tion. It’s easy to tell that Malan and his team have gone above and beyond the require­ments of cre­at­ing a help­ful intro­duc­tion to com­put­er sci­ence. They deliv­er an astound­ing­ly easy-to-grasp primer on a daunt­ing top­ic.

For oth­er Comp­Sci class­es taught by David Malan, check out our list of Free Com­put­er Sci­ence cours­es, part of our larg­er list, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Com­put­er Sci­ence: Free Cours­es

Codecademy’s Free Cours­es Democ­ra­tize Com­put­er Pro­gram­ming

Learn to Build iPhone & iPad Apps with Stanford’s Free Course, Cod­ing Togeth­er


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Comments (3)
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  • online training says:

    Online train­ing is giv­en by remote desk­top shar­ing and class­room train­ing is giv­en face to face on the phys­i­cal loca­tion. In online train­ing train­er is locat­ed at one place and the trainee is locat­ed in oth­er place, Where as in class­room train­ing both the train­er and trainee is locat­ed in the same place.

  • Patrick McDonald says:

    Hope to learn

  • Scot says:

    Jan­u­ary 18, 2017
    I am cur­rent­ly a col­lege stu­dent who is
    laid up due to hav­ing had two major surg­eries
    with­in an 8 day peri­od. I plan to restart my
    stud­ies in March but, I keep think­ing to myself
    how am I going to pay off those stu­dent loans.
    I have heard of course work such as yours and
    until recent­ly, cost was always a fac­tor.
    Now that there are sev­er­al free and at least one
    whose tuition is based on your first year of income,
    I am recon­sid­er­ing giv­ing this path a go.

    While I am not the most com­put­er savvy soul
    on the plan­et, I am not half bad. My inter­est in
    tak­ing this course work is mul­ti-fold.

    To begin with, I do like com­put­ers and have
    felt that maybe I could be one of those souls
    who cold come up with an idea or two for an
    app that could help human­i­ty.

    Sec­ond­ly, a long time ago I was posed a ques­tion.
    The ques­tion was this:
    “If you could have a life where all your needs were
    tak­en care of and you did not have to wor­ry about
    mon­ey or the like, what would you do with your time?”

    I feel that tak­ing your course work and get­ting a
    job in said field of endeav­or would be more than
    suf­fi­cient to cov­er my bills even at a part time lev­el
    giv­en what the aver­age entry lev­el job would pay.

    This in turn would not tax my soul too heav­i­ly
    and it would allow me to do the things I am dri­ven
    to do which in a nut­shell is to help human­i­ty.

    I would like to ask you a few ques­tions.

    1‑I have heard this course work can be done
    in 3 months. Is that a real­is­tic assess­ment?

    2‑Given that I would be a com­plete new­bie to cod­ing,
    what would be the aver­age time to com­plete
    the course for such a newb?
    (Although in my favor, I did do a fair job
    of teach­ing myself basic HTML.)

    3‑On aver­age, how many hours a week are need­ed
    to com­plete the course with­in the 3 month peri­od?
    To be more pre­cise, what would be con­sid­ered the
    high end of hours ded­i­cat­ed to the stud­ies per week.
    in order to fin­ish the pro­gram with­in the sug­gest­ed time frame?
    (I ask this ques­tion because if that num­ber is 20 hours
    a week or less, I know I could han­dle that.)

    4‑What types of sup­port is pro­vid­ed for
    the stu­dent to help them suc­ceed?

    5‑Given my recent med­ical inter­ven­tions, I am not real­ly up for com­mut­ing. Can this be done com­plete­ly on line?

    I think that is every­thing I can fig­ure out at this time.
    Please let me know how we can make this work.

    Thank you for your time and con­sid­er­a­tion.


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