Stanford’s CS101 — in a web dev’s view

Dani Vijay
Mar 2, 2018 · 2 min read

Reading Quora instead of Facebook was my recent habit switch and it pays off I think. It was quite coincidental that Stanford’s Computer Science 101 caught my attention (forgot the question, by the way!).

Somewhat old, but seems highly relevant. After all- I’m thinking of revising knowledge on the basics and yeah, Perfect timing!

Topics covered (copy-paste from ‘about’ page):

  • The nature of computers and code, what they can and cannot do
  • How computer hardware works: chips, cpu, memory, disk
  • Necessary jargon: bits, bytes, megabytes, gigabytes
  • How software works: what is a program, what is “running”
  • How digital images work
  • Computer code: loops and logic
  • Big ideas: abstraction, logic, bugs
  • How structured data works
  • How the internet works: IP address, routing, Ethernet, WiFi
  • Computer security: viruses, trojans, and passwords, oh my!
  • Analog vs. digital
  • Digital media, images, sounds, video, compression

They are pretty basic, that’s exactly what I need!

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It looks like Nick Parlante is crazy enough to handle the challenge.

And here I am- starting all over again…

The Conclusion

It’s all about a deep dive into the basics. Something we already know fully or partially. That is why Stanford’s 7 week Computer Science Intro stands out. It is a proper blend of programming, hardware, networking and all. It is all about how the hell that magic machine works.

An interesting thing is, we greeted directly by coding session! Yeah, the first lesson itself is code writing. Intro is pretty much minimal. According to Nick Parlante– the tutor, the hands on experience plays a crucial part. I would say he is successful in this experiment.

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This is what its all about

The following are my views on the course.

The Good

  • Promises to teach the basics, and it is exactly what it delivers.
  • Quality of content- After all, it is a Stanford Product.

The Bad

  • The content is pretty much basic — Most useful for beginner-intermediate level candidates.
  • The video quality in lectures is somewhat mediocre. Why Nick, why?

Finally, is it worth our time? Yes, it is. A good foundation is important to build heavy structures. Hop in without expectations. This is not a game changes, but it has got it’s own place in the crowd.

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