Tag Archives: Computer Science

So, what’s a nerd to do over the summer?

I’ll admit it, I’m returning to my old nerd ways. You know, that kid who was always done her work first, or never missed a homework assignment? That was me.

This past year out of school has left me a little bit lost. Sure, I loved when friends would complain about their exams and I didn’t have to worry about studying. But, deep down, I kind of missed going to school and taking notes and the smell of a new batch of school supplies.

Nothing better than some perfectly sharpened pencils, right? Right?!

I’ve always wanted to learn how to code properly. I know basic HTML from when I fiddled around with coding petpages for my neopets account as an 11 year old. Don’t even judge, I won so many beauty contest trophies for my neopets on that site.

That’s right.

Imagine my excitement when I discovered coursera.org. They have free online courses from excellent American universities! What? This has to be a joke, right?

It’s not, and they’ve got a pretty wide selection of courses. No languages, though. My French grammar will have to wait a little while longer.

So far, I’ve finished the first three weeks of the Computer Science 101 course. Every little video I watch I just sit there with a face like “O_O.” All of these things I didn’t know! Codecadamy.com didn’t work for me, since I had a really hard time following along with the written explanations. In contrast, the videos on Coursera are actually recorded little mini-lectures (at least in the case of Computer Science, I think some other courses have 70 or 80 minute lecture videos), with a small video in the corner of the professor speaking. The majority of the screen is a lecture document (notes, really) that the professor teaches which, and you can easily hit a button at the bottom to pause the video and switch to the lecture notes so you can review anything that was skipped over, or try out some code in the case of computer science.

It’s mostly basic coding (not in any particular language, exactly, just getting used to the idea of syntax and variables and whatnot) and technical explanations of hardware, networks, software, etc. There were a lot of  “OOOH, so that’s how it works!” moments.

A self portrait.

If you’re curious, go have a look. You can still get in on the CS 101 course, although on a lot of your exercises will lose marks for being late (which really doesn’t matter if you’re just doing it for fun). It’s really less than an hour of video a week, and a 10 minute exercise for each one.

And then maybe this will start your career and you can eventually code something awesome (like an app!) and rule the world! Or you can just find solace in the fact that you know the jist of what is happening when your computer saves something to your hard drive. Either one.

Saving the world one Instagrammed photo of a squirrel at a time.

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