Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, June 29, 2022

MOOCs Teach IT Lessons Before Summer Ends 

As full-time students' thoughts return to classrooms and lesson plans, IT professionals will find a slew of new online educational offerings designed to augment and expand their skills.

An array of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from traditional educational institutions such as Harvard, vendors like Microsoft, and researcher Johns Hopkins University offer free and paid scheduled web-based classes. By the time summer ends, IT experts can garner new expertise, often with a certificate, in areas such as analytics; mobile app development; big data, and security, Whether they participate for personal or career reasons, these instructor-led, online classes complement professionals' existing knowledge and help prepare for a bigger role within their organizations (or elsewhere).

There is, after all, a continued shortage of application software developers, data analytics, and security experts, according to multiple reports. Those IT staff that respond by proactively learning new skills while on the job bring additional value to themselves and their organizations and, since most classes are free, incur no cost beyond the investment of time.

And, as IT professionals play a more integral role in business, it's vital they learn more about how their organizations operate. MOOCs give technical experts insight into vertical markets, such as healthcare and law, or horizontal applications like finance and human resources. Knowledge of the vocabulary, challenges, and trends within these sectors provide an invaluable understanding of how technology can help their colleagues.

With so many classes to choose from, it's wise to review each potential course's schedule; teachers' credentials and past-student ratings; weekly workload; requirements, such as programming knowledge or software used in the course, and read any available reviews. Compare similar classes: Scheduling alone could make one program better than another. Once committed, view attendance as mandatory in order to get the most out of the program, students recommend.

Who knows: By the time your children are enrolling in the 2015-16 school year, you could already have a new certificate to hang on your office wall.

Here is a partial list of upcoming MOOCs. Check out other available options at sites such as Coursera, ex, Open2Study, and FutureLearn, among others.

Introduction to Mobile Application Development Using AndroidHKUSTx

android"Come with us on a gentle journey through the mobile application development landscape, using Android as the platform. Along the way we will learn to use Android Studio, the integrated development environment (IDE) for Android apps. This course is intended for students who have some prior programming experience. The course will introduce you to the basics of the Android platform, Android application components: Activities and their lifecycle, UI design, Multimedia, 2D graphics and networking support in Android."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Introductory; basics of Java programming
  • Software used: Android Studio, Android SDK
  • Starts: July 28
  • Time required: 3-5 hours per week
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: Included in course price

 

Processing Big Data with Hadoop in Azure HDInsightMicrosoft

"In this five-week course, you’ll learn how to use technologies like Hive, Pig, Sqoop, and Oozie with Hadoop in HDInsight; and how to orchestrate big data processing from Windows PowerShell."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Software used: Familiarity with Microsoft technologies like Windows and Excel, Visual Studio and Azure, is preferred but not necessary
  • Starts: July 28
  • Time required: 3-5 hours per week
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: $90

 

Cryptography - Stanford University

cryptography"Students will learn how to reason about the security of cryptographic constructions and how to apply this knowledge to real-world applications. The course begins with a detailed discussion of how two parties who have a shared secret key can communicate securely when a powerful adversary eavesdrops and tampers with traffic. We will examine many deployed protocols and analyze mistakes in existing systems. The second half of the course discusses public-key techniques that let two or more parties generate a shared secret key. We will cover the relevant number theory and discuss public-key encryption and basic key-exchange."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Introductory; basic knowledge of programming and discrete probability theory
  • Software used: N/A
  • Starts: August 3
  • Time required: 5-7 hours per week
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: Free

 

Diagnosing the Financial Health of a Business - Macquarie Graduate School of Management

"This course shows how financial reports provide a wealth of information into the performance of a business, and how they can be used specifically to identify early warning signs of potential future problems.We will see that a profitable business may not necessarily be performing well or taking the right steps to build for its future. Just as a doctor conducts a diagnosis of a patient and recommends a course of treatment, we will use simple and yet powerful tools to analyse a business and identify where and how things can be improved."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Introductory
  • Software used: N/A
  • Starts: August 3
  • Time required: 2-4 hours per week
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: Free

 

Mobile Robotics - Swinburne University of Technology

"Discover the world of mobile robots - how they move, how they interact with the world, and how to build them! From the surface of Mars to your living room floor, mobile robots can be found in some surprising places. Together we’ll explore how and why. We’ll look at how robots move, how they sense the world around them and how they make decisions. Then we’ll put all this together and apply what we’ve learned to build our own mobile robot."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Introductory
  • Software used: N/A
  • Starts: August 3
  • Time required: 2-4 hours per week
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: Free

 

The Data Scientist's ToolboxJohns Hopkins University

"In this course you will get an introduction to the main tools and ideas in the data scientist's toolbox. The course gives an overview of the data, questions, and tools that data analysts and data scientists work with. There are two components to this course. The first is a conceptual introduction to the ideas behind turning data into actionable knowledge. The second is a practical introduction to the tools that will be used in the program like version control, markdown, git, GitHub, R, and RStudio."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Introductory; prior programming expertise is helpful
  • Software used: git, GitHub, R, and RStudio
  • Starts: August 3
  • Time required: 1-4 hours per week
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Certificate available: No
  • Certificate cost: N/A

 

Architecting Microsoft Azure SolutionsMicrosoft

"In this course, you’ll apply what you already know about implementing solutions on Microsoft Azure to learn solution design skills. At the completion of this course, you will be able to identify tradeoffs and make decisions for designing public and hybrid cloud solutions."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Advanced
  • Software used: Azure
  • Starts: August 4
  • Time required: 3-4 hours per week
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: $90

 

Introduction to Computer Graphics - UC San Diego

graphics"[This course] teaches the foundations of computer graphics. Students will make images of 3D scenes in real-time, and with offline raytracing. This course runs for 6 weeks and consists of four segments."

  • Fee: None
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Software used: Solid C++ programming background; Java is ok, you will pick up C++; access to relatively current computer using Windows, Mac, or Linux; solid high school math skills
  • Starts: August 17
  • Time required: 12 hours per week
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: $50

 

A System View of Communications: From Signals to Packets (Part 1)HKUSTx

"This course is divided into three parts. In Part 1, we examine the point-to-point link, which communicates information from a single transmitter to a single receiver. Part 2 examines how multiple transmitters can share the same physical channel. Part 3 discusses how information can be transmitted reliably from one station to another over a network that connects multiple stations. Online interactive exercises are included to help build your intuition."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Introductory; basic knowledge of programming and univariate calculus
  • Software used: N/A
  • Starts: August 25
  • Time required: 5 hours per week
  • Length: 7 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: $40

 

Text Mining and AnalyticsDelftX

"The knowledge base of the world is rapidly expanding, and much of this information is being put online as textual data. Understanding how to parse and analyze this growing amount of data is essential for any organization that would like to extract valuable insights and gain competitive advantage. This course will demonstrate how text mining can answer business related questions, with a focus on technological innovation."

  • Fee: $295
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Software used: Python; iPython notebooks
  • Starts: September 2
  • Time required: 4-6 hours per week
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Certificate available: Professional Ed course
  • Certificate cost: Included

 

Paradigms of Computer Programming: FundamentalsLouvainX

"Louv1.1x and Louv1.2x together give an introduction to all major programming concepts, techniques, and paradigms in a unified framework. We cover the three main programming paradigms: functional, object-oriented, and declarative dataflow. The two courses are targeted toward people with a basic knowledge of programming. It will be most useful to beginning programming students, but the unconventional approach should be insightful even to seasoned professionals.

"Louv1.1x covers fundamental concepts. You’ll learn functional programming, its techniques and its data structures. You’ll use simple formal semantics for all concepts, and see those concepts illustrated with practical code that runs on the accompanying open-source platform, the Mozart Programming System. Louv1.2x covers data abstraction, state, and concurrency. You’ll learn the four ways to do data abstraction and discuss the trade-offs between objects and abstract data types. You’ll be exposed to deterministic dataflow, the most useful paradigm for concurrent programming, and learn how it avoids race conditions."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Advanced
  • Software used: N/A
  • Starts: September 2
  • Time required: 4 hours per week
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: $50

 

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World – University of Groningen

"Leaders must be able to act in a complex world and under uncertainty. This course is a first step to develop yourself into one of the future’s key decision makers or to enhance your decision-making skills."

  • Fee: Free
  • Skill level: Advanced
  • Software used: N/A
  • Starts: September 21
  • Time required: 6 hours per week
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Certificate available: Yes
  • Certificate cost: Approximately $50
About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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