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CS50's Introduction to Computer Science

edX · Harvard University · 6 HN comments

HN Academy has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention edX's "CS50's Introduction to Computer Science" from Harvard University.
Course Description

An introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming.

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This course is offered by Harvard University on the edX platform.
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1. CS50 [difficulty level: medium, has certificate: Yes]

2. Algorithms [difficulty level: hard, has certificate: No]

3. Nand2Tetris [difficulty level: ok, has certificate: Yes]

Harvard's CS50 Intro to Computer Science. Available on various platforms like edX and YouTube.

Direct link to "Computational Thinking - CS50's Computer Science for Business Professionals 2017" -

This is very good stuff. I'd also recommend CS50x, [1] the Intro to Computer Science from Harvard for those who need an intro before diving deeper, as it gives a solid grounding in most of these topics.


Harvard’s CS50 [1] is where I started in my self learning journey. I found it very difficult but it’s given me a really good base to build upon.

CS50 hits the sweet spot of excellent online material, large online community and fun.


I'm surprised you didn't list CS50. That's one of the best intro to programming / CS courses around.

You can enroll for free at:

I never went to University and didn't take a lot of CS courses but since I create web development video courses I wanted to be able to reference other courses to folks who asked so I took CS50 a few years ago to vet it. It was a great intro course and I even learned a little bit of C in the process. David Malan (the head instructor) is also top notch.

CS50 is good, but I personally don't like it. I prefer MIT/Princeton/UCB intro courses comparatively. CS50 starts off with C for 3-4 weeks IIRC. Then moves on to python/sql/webdev. Not only is this fast paced, but it also covers a lot of breadth in a short time. For a self learner who has a full time job without proper support structure like peers and office hours which you get in the on campus version, it is difficult (not impossible) to go with the pace of the course. I do agree Malan is a great instructor.

In contrast, I like the MIT/Princeton/UCB courses since they use an easier language to start with and also introduce C in the later courses for systems programming.

I found CS50’s schedule very difficult to keep up with while working full-time. I fell behind at points but I didn’t find much if any penalty in taking a little longer to finish the class. I was motivated and putting the time in to absorb the material to the point where I was satisfied.
edx still has last years version online (I think until like mid-January), so if anybody wants to start between now and then, use: for the latest Fall 2019 edition.

You can still switch to edx as soon as it's live there.

CS50 should really stick with C and go as deep as possible. But it's good to learn multiple languages in the same course -- even then I prefer they put a functional language like Scala instead of Python. I mean once you know C it's really easy to pick up Python by yourself.

I'd say 50% C and 50% Functional, and remove the web part, really superficial and boring. And then go as deep as possible. Can even intertwine the C/Functional part, e.g. write an interpreter for a subset of the functional language in C as the last large project.

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