When a Coursera course is way better than the one offered by your university…
A university student's rant...

I study Electrical and Computer Engineering and during the first semester of the second year I selected an optional course: Web Programming. It was believed among students that the course would be really easy, and it was. All the student had to do was build a very simple website using HTML, CSS and a few line of JS. A website containing three or four pages all of which had to be validated using a markup validation service.

Yeah, sure, I passed the course just like everyone else who bothered enough to spend an hour or two working on the project. Oh, I almost forgot! We had an one-hour workshop on Dreamweaver!
So, by that point, everybody was a front-end developer, right?!

That happened over three years ago, and because of that course web-development didn’t impress me…

Thankfully, the last few months I’ve became interested in Web Development, and I’ve been reading some articles, spending time on smashing magazine, making some progress on FreeCodeCamp and taking relevant courses on Coursera!
In fact, a few days ago I completed the Coursera course “HTML, CSS and Javascript for Web Developers”.
Oh boy, the things I didn’t know that I didn’t know…

<sarcasm>Did you know there was a term called “responsive design” and that there are frameworks like bootstrap?</sarcasm>
Well, I d i d n ’ t k n o w ! ! ! (even though I had taken the university’s course).

I understand that bootstrap was introduced in 2011 and I took the university course in late 2012, but by that time, bootstrap was quite popular and also there were other frameworks available before bootstrap that could have been included in the course! (even today, there is no reference in responsive design in the university’s course).
In just five weeks the coursera course managed to teach me more, in a more organized and meaningful way than my university’s course in a whole semester!

When I started the coursera course I shared it with a friend of mine. His response: “yeah, sure, but web development is pretty easy… I didn’t spend much time to complete that project three years ago!”

That course three years ago gave birth to misconceptions in students' minds that web development is easy! Yeah, sure, it can be easy to built a simple, non responsive, non interactive website! But that's not how the world works nowadays , right?!

A few months ago, in the early days of August, I attended Flock, the Fedora community conference. During a break I spent some time speaking with a Red Hat employee about student internships. He told me, and I paraphrase: “We know that students don’t have a solid background and that they haven’t learned in the university what we need them to!”

Currently I’m planning to apply for a front-end developer internship position here in Greece.
Yesterday I wrote my CV, added university courses relevant to that position and listed coursera courses under independent coursework… While writing those I made these thoughts…

What if that course 3 years ago was as good as the coursera course… all the things I’d know by now…

  • 2
    I too had a course of web programming that wasn't very deep. But that was justified, and I agree with that, by the fact that the professor tried to show us the different possible options that there are out there. We saw the basics of html, css, javascript, jquery, mongodb, node.js, websockets, while building an hangman game and a chat.
  • 3
    Legit rant ! Thanks for sharing.
  • 0
    +1 cause..My case pretty much resembles you.. :)
  • 2
    Congrats on your first rant! And thank you for making it a good one, not one of those "I'm new here, give me ++"-rants. Thank you!
  • 1
    Thanks for sharing and giving the webdev community some credit 😄
  • 3
    I love reading this kind of story because I've learned that college is only meant to give basics. The deep stuff is learned in your free time/ on the job/ in real world exercises.
    Awesome post!
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