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Online Learning: 10 Essential Computer Science Courses

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Computer science encompasses a wide range of technology, and here are just a few fields that you could jump into thanks to online learning.

While we all know that staying at home is best for everyone to help protect from spreading COVID-19, self-isolation doesn’t need to be a negative experience.

This is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your tech skills and utilize the convenience of online learning as we finally get enough time to take care of ourselves.

Doing online learning might be an attractive option for self-isolation to learn some new, useful tech skills.


Computer science is a broad and fundamental part of the greater technology industry. New online programs offer students the ability to learn from anywhere, to get involved in computer science as it is applied to many new technology fields such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Here are 10 great courses to consider if you’re interested in online learning.

Note: This list of courses comes from edX, an online platform that offers high-quality courses from top universities around the world. Best of all? Many of these courses are free to take, and offer certification for a fee.

  1. Algorithms and Data Structures
  2. Agile Software Development
  3. DevOps Testing
  4. Microsoft Azure Virtual Networks
  5. Object-Oriented Programming in Java
  6. How Virtual Reality Works
  7. Building Interactive Prototypes using JavaScript
  8. Building Functional Prototypes Using Node.js
  9. DevOps for Databases
  10. Introduction to C#

Algorithms and Data Structures from Microsoft

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Microsoft also offers a course dedicated to the use of algorithms and data structures, which is valuable in today’s industry.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence make their way into the computer science world, the algorithms that they are dependent on are very much a focus.

Learn about data structures, sorting, algorithm analysis and “going under the hood” of functional algorithms in addition to a developer tool kit.

This is a good choice for those who are involved in parsing the work that vanguard developers have done with neural networks and machine learning systems.

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Agile Software Development from ETHZurich

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Agile software development has become a major force in how software is created and released to markets.

This computer science course goes over the agile manifesto and key methodologies, as well as the traditional role of a software professional. It provides practical tools for agile development, and talks about the pros and cons of various agile methods.

This is a good choice for those who want to learn about the context of the full software development life cycle.

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DevOps Testing from Microsoft

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Moving on in Microsoft’s Professional Program offerings, students in this DevOps course will learn about test-driven development as well as unit testing, API tests, performance testing and more.

Microsoft tools such as Visual Studio and Microsoft Test Manager will be useful in hands-on elements of testing and design, and students will get a good grounding to pursue further knowledge of DevOps and how it applies to software testing processes.

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Microsoft Azure Virtual Networks

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Finally, in this MS Azure-focused course, students can learn about the use and design of virtual networks through a brand name vendor system that is dominant in enterprise.

Use the power of the cloud to set up systems, and explore Azure DNS, Load Balancer, Azure Traffic Manager, Application Gateway and other resources. Instructors Cynthia Staley, Tony Jamieson and Corey Hynes take students through connecting local workstations to Azure Cloud, and much more, for a thorough look at what virtualization has brought the business world over just a few years.

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Object-Oriented Programming in Java from Microsoft

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This Java course is part of Microsoft’s Professional Program and goes over many elements of using Java as an object-oriented language in practice.

Coursework will cover single and two-dimensional arrays, Java list implementations, best practices and the use of abstract classes, in addition to other elements of using Java in diverse professional development goals.

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How Virtual Reality Works from UC San Diego

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Increasingly, virtual reality is all around us. In this course, which dovetails with the Virtual Reality Professional Certificate program, students will learn about VR applications and the use of languages like JavaScript.

Coursework will include evaluation of how to create successful VR applications and some of the challenges inherent in creating virtual reality software.

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Building Interactive Prototypes using JavaScript from Microsoft

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This Microsoft course goes into programming fundamentals and JavaScript front-end web development work. It complements the similar course on Node.js with a back-end focus.

Learn about Azure deployment and database querying with SQLite in this self-paced course offering.

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Building Functional Prototypes Using Node.js from Microsoft

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This is another part of the Microsoft Professional Program that focuses on Node.js for network administration and development. Learn about front-end and back-end web app development, database procedures and the use of SQL for data retrieval.

HTTP and web routing, Azure deployment and other aspects of this professional toolkit are also treated in this course which prepares the student for deeper diving into the world of networking and database development.

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DevOps for Databases from Microsoft

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This course is dedicated to exploring the use of DevOps in database design and incorporating databases into DevOps software development.

Syllabus items include a look at version control systems, continuous integration and unit testing as well as release management for databases.

Learn about branching and merging database code, crossing database deficiencies, dark launching, error handling and more.

Items like continuous integration show how this course is concretely useful to developers and other career professionals involved in DevOps in the database world.

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Introduction to C# from Microsoft

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As one of the most popular object-oriented programming languages of the past 30 years, C# is an indispensable part of the traditional C suite of languages. It is seen as a mainstay of programming, along with languages like Java and Python.

This course provides students with a good basis on C# syntax, language fundamentals and the ability to evaluate and explore a C# codebase.

Although some experts suggest there are better programming languages for machine learning and artificial intelligence work, C# is still very much a part of enterprise computing.

That makes this course instructive both as a starting point for object-oriented learning, and as a resource for deeper involvement in these key technology fields.

Take the Course

Any of these computer science course offerings are a great way to wade into technology with a firm foundation in some of the most interesting new technologies in the current IT landscape.

Take a look and figure out what’s most likely to help you advance in a tech-related career.


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Justin Stoltzfus
Justin Stoltzfus

Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…