Table of Contents
Harvard CS50 Course review
The best computer science course I’ve ever taken is by far CS50 from Harvard University, which you can take for free on EDX (don’t worry about paying for the certificate). It’s also possibly my favorite course of all time.
If you’ve never heard of CS50, it’s more than just a course. It has been referred to as “a cultural touchstone, a lifestyle, and a spectacle” by this website. Professor David J. Malan also has a cult-like following. A full subreddit has been created specifically for this course. And it is easy to understand why after taking this course.
I was in the same situation as you—I don’t have a degree in computer science, but I wanted to study the basics of the subject. That’s why I made the decision to participate in the course and write this essay to share my experiences. To assist you in determining whether CS50 is the best course for you, I’ll give an overview and review of it.
What Is CS50?
For those with little to no experience, it is an introductory college-level course on the principles of computer science and programming. 2/3 of the students in CS50 had never taken CS before.
This does not mean that CS50 is simple; on the contrary, although it is exceedingly difficult, it is also very rewarding. I’ll tell you more about that. In this course, you learn how to “think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently.” The subjects covered in this course include resource management, security, software engineering, and web programming.
According to the course website, problem sets are “inspired by the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences.” You will apply all you have learned (which is a lot, by the way!) for the course’s final project.
Why go with CS50?
There are a number of factors that could make CS50 a wise decision for you. To name a few:
- Harvard University offers a highly regarded course in that subject. This indicates that you will receive access to a top-notch course and learn from knowledgeable professors.
- It covers many different subjects, such as the principles of computer science, algorithms, data structures, and programming languages including C, Python, and SQL. This implies that you’ll receive a comprehensive introduction to the subject.
- Because the course is self-paced, you can do it at your own pace and fit it into your schedule. The lectures are accessible on a number of websites, including EdX and the free Code Camp YouTube channel. This was significant to me because I didn’t have a lot of free time.
- It is unpaid! The course materials and lectures will be available to you.
Is this a beginner-level course?
Yes. The majority of students who enroll in CS50 have never taken a computer science course before—roughly two-thirds of them. So, you’ll be in excellent company if you’re new to the field and hoping to pick up the fundamentals.
Having said that, don’t anticipate the course to be simple. The problem sets and labs can be difficult, despite the fact that the lectures are made to be interesting and approachable. Students should plan to dedicate about 12 hours each week to the course on average.
Does the course result in a certificate for me?
You have the option of paying for an edX-validated certificate or receiving a free CS50 certificate.
What happens if you don’t complete the course by December 31?
Any submissions may be carried over to the following year. I completed this, and the procedure was simple. The course materials have been updated, but the course substance remains mostly unchanged.
What makes CS50 so great, then?
I firmly believe that CS50 should serve as a benchmark for the whole education sector and be more than just a course. Instructors Doug Lloyd and Brian Yu, along with professor David J. Malan, present the course in an enthusiastic and energizing manner that makes it difficult not to become enthused about the subject. The manner of CS50 is really energizing, given that I am used to instructors who appear to be completely bored themselves.
The talks are a unique experience. In comparison to the dull PowerPoint presentations, I’m used to from my own undergraduate days, the team has invested an absurd amount of effort into developing innovative ways to convey the subjects.
Malan and CS50 undoubtedly benefit from Harvard University’s enormous money, which made it possible for them to develop their lavish presentations in the first place, but still, this course is a first-rate educational opportunity unlike any other.
Favorite Course Features:
David gives excellent lectures! Most lectures are highly interesting and educational, even in video format. Speaking of the video, it has excellent quality. In order for us to fully see the code, the camera pans as necessary. I also found the course notes to be helpful, even though I took my own notes.
The problems from the homework assignments were quite enjoyable and challenging. It was convenient to have the choice of “less comfortable” and “more comfortable” problems. Feedback on assignment correctness is given quickly, at least for early assignments. Later assignments are more about whether you turn in the work or not.
The final project’s independence was also something I adored. Additionally, it was enjoyable for me to transform my concepts into a useful tool. Also hilarious was the informal Harry Potter motif.
Go ahead and enroll in this course. Go ahead and accept the fight, because you will emerge from it much wiser. Watch the first lecture at the very least; it’s free, so what have you got to lose? You will learn so much about how computers operate in just the first week. You are not required to finish the lecture if you are not satiated and eager to learn more about the fascinating subject of computer science.
However, I believe you’ll want to complete it. I have never endorsed anything more, and I will always be grateful to this course for making me want to study everything there is to know about the amazing profession of computer science!