Best Online Courses #5

Data Structures and Performance on Coursera by UC San Diego

Can I just say again how much I like the CS faculty at UC San Diego? I was inspired to take the next course in their specialization solely based on how much I liked them in the previous course, Object Oriented Programming in Java, and found Data Structures and Performance to be just as good. Now don’t get me wrong, these courses aren’t exactly a 100% substitute for a proper semester-based computer science curriculum at a college or university. But I only took these courses as a refresher to the material, and in that aspect they succeeded admirably. This course in particular goes into just enough depth on Big-O notation and asymptotic analysis, and data structures such as arrays, linked lists, trees, tries, and hash maps, that it should be the perfect introduction to the material for anyone who hasn’t learned it before, or the perfect refresher for anyone looking to catch back up. Like the previous course, this was a very good course too but without the rigor and depth that separate and formal courses in data structures and algorithms would offer. But I guess it makes sense to not scare off too many people by pulling out an online course equivalent of Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Laiserson, Rivest, & Stein (a very well-known textbook popularly used for algorithms courses at the college & university level).

Conclusion: Highly recommended for beginning programmers who are ready to move on to the study of computer science concepts and data structures.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (-1 star for the continued collegiate feel to some of the course videos)