A is for Algorithms

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After some poking around for a more structured learn-to-code program than Code Academy, I found MIT’s 6.00x course on edx.org which is part of the XSeries: Foundations of Computer Science.  Wow, that class kicked my butt!  But I learned a ton!  …including: 

  • functions
  • recursion
  • objects
  • debugging
  • assertions & exceptions
  • memory
  • binary search
  • classes
  • object oriented programming
  • trees

While the class covered a lot, we really just touched the surface of each topic – but it was enough to really spark my interest.  I wasn’t just reading instructions and repeating, but instead learning new vocabulary, new concepts, understanding how and why each existed, practicing them and then using them together.  The next class in the series unfortunately started right before the final exam for this class and there was no way I could do both at the same time, so I’ve decided to just audit it (take the class w/o credit).  While I do that, I’ve also decided to go through each of the chapters from the class I’ve just completed and write a post about each topic because I’m afraid of forgetting what I learned!  Plus, it’ll be cool to take my time and experiment a little.

Just in case you’re wondering I did get an A in the class!  My actual grade was 88%, I would have thought it was a B+ but MIT calls it an A.  If you have no experience in computer science and are looking for a structured exploratory program, I highly recommend this class – though it does take time and genuine effort.  The syllabus estimated about 12 hours a week – I definitely spent that, if not more.  Twelve hours doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re already working 8 hour days be prepared to give up a chunk of your evenings for a couple months!  

Next post: Introduction to Computation and Core Elements of Programs

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