A while back, I had written this:
In case you have not realised it yet, computer programming skills are as necessary for success today as reading and writing have been for the past few centuries.
In fact, “You’re a second-class citizen if you don’t know how to read and write today, and in twenty or thirty years the same will be true for people who don’t have basic computer programming skills. Those who don’t understand–at the very least–the concepts of order-of-execution, variables, data structures and recursion will be as socially and economically disadvantaged as the illiterate are now.
I have been taking CS 101: BUILDING A SEARCH ENGINE from Udacity for a few weeks now. I must be honest and say that the course represents one of the very best learning experiences I have ever had. The course instructor, Professor David Evans, is naturally gifted at teaching complex ideas in simple terms.
If you have ever wanted to learn how to program, you have the most golden opportunity to do it now. Have you ever been frustrated when you hired a “techie” who played around with you? This is your opportunity to make sure it does not happen again. Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Learning to code is never a wrong move. Especially in today’s world.
Just to show you how accessible a good ICT education is today, following the CS101 class, Udacity are introducing the following (among others):
CS253 – WEB APPLICATION ENGINEERING
Description: Web applications have the power to provide useful services to millions of people worldwide. In this class, you will learn how to build your own blog application starting from the basics of how the web works and how to set up a web application and process user input, to how to use databases, manage user accounts, interact with other web services, and make your application scale to support large numbers of users.
CS262 – PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES
Yes, you read right. In about 14 weeks you can go to a complete and utter beginner to someone who can create their own simple web browser. How cool is that?
Personally, I think this is a godsend for us in the “developing world”. In my opinion, our tertiary education systems are not at an acceptable level of quality, especially for computer science and similar disciplines. Udacity and others like it represent a great, great opportunity for us.
Nicolas Pottier of Nyaruka puts it best:
Suddenly, the very best education is available to everyone. Suddenly it doesn’t matter if you live in America or Rwanda, the opportunity is yours. And that’s why I think the greatest effect of Udacity will be felt not in America, not in Europe, but in developing countries like Rwanda. Because the improvement in quality over what is offered here is astronomical.
I fully expect that everybody who finishes the eight week Udacity course will be better prepared than those who finish four year university programs in Rwanda. And that’s not unique to Rwanda. Every developing country suddenly got a world class computer science school donated to them. [Read More]
Are you as excited as I am?