Guide to choose Online Courses & Course provider [2018]

Online courses are, without a doubt, provides a great opportunity to learn anything, anywhere & anytime. There are plenty of course providers like Udemy, edX, Coursera, Udacity, Linux Foundation, FutureLearn, Skillshare, etc… As the number of these provider grow, so is confusion on which one to choose, here is a simple guide on how to choose online courses.

It is not feasible for everyone to join a top university like Harvard, MIT, IIT’s, Stanford etc. in terms of both economically & physically. Online courses make it possible. Quality courses to everyone at fraction of the actual cost with certification.

How to choose a course provider ?

Most of the online course providers can be categorized into three different types.

  1. By Universities or organizations on platforms like NPTEL, edX, Coursera, Udacity & FutureLearn by Harvard, MIT, Stanford University, Michigan university, IIT’s, IIM’s and organizations like Facebook, Google & Microsoft.
  2. By training companies or individual trainers on platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Plural insight, Masterclass etc…
  3. By training companies like intellipaat, simplilearn, edureka, TreeHousee tc..

Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn:

Whereas courses on edX, Coursera, FutureLearn are developed by various universities like Harvard, Stanford and Big corporate giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

These courses are delivered by university professors, who usually teaches in-depth basics to build a solid foundation towards research & development and less of job oriented. Course contains recorded video tutorials to watch & learn at your speed.

Though most of the course material is free to access, you are asked to pay some fee to gain access to exercises, practice quizzes & for certifications; Paid Students are given access to discussion forum to discussion with other students.

Across the globe many companies started recognizing these certifications. You can add these certifications in your LinkedIn  profile as well.

Few universities are accepting these courses are part of their regular college courses for credits as well. Ex: American Public university gives credits to students who takes the below coursera or Udacity courses.

university accepts MOOC courses for credits

<h2Udemy, Skillshare, Plural insight, Masterclass:

Trainers on these websites are individuals who mastered a skill or an art, providing lessons on how they mastered it & how you can apply the same tips, techniques.

Udemy is one of the oldest of these, providing lot of quality courses at really low-cost. Cost that is less than a meal, no matter which part of the world you are from these courses are affordable !!

These courses are more of getting you ready for the job. Making you from beginners to Advanced what you need to know, understand & teach & start working, nothing more.

These providers will have forums where learners can post a doubts/queries to trainers and to discuss among themselves. You will not have immediate access to trainer.

Courses contains pre-recorded video lectures/tutorials to learn at your own pace & convenient time.

intellipaat, simplilearn, edureka:

These are privately owned organizations/companies, who choose few trainers and offer courses. They offer both LIVE classes & self-paced courses.

Courses are little expensive compared to other course providers but few of them organizations provide Job guarantee, virtual lab access, 24×7 support, lot of mock interview practice sessions etc..

Most of the courses offered by these organisations are completely job oriented programs, which helps you get a job quicker, perform better at your current job.

Live Vs Recorded (Self-Paced ) Courses:

Great advantage with most of the online courses (Self-paced) is opportunity to learn anywhere & any time. The main disadvantage is lack of immediate access to instructor/trainer to get your doubts clarified. This can be surmounted by joining LIVE training courses, where instructor teaches courses live, you can immediately ask a doubt.

With self-paced courses there is always a chance of procrastination to learn but this is not possible with LIVE courses.  LIVE courses pushes you to take courses on time every session as per the planned scheduled time, helps you stick to your learning goals.

How do you choose a course ?

Assuming you have chosen one of the course provider with the information above. Now lets look into how to identify a suitable course for you.

Course Contents/Syllabus

The first thing you need to look at is what are the topics covered in that particular course. Course description & table of contents give you complete idea of what is going to be covered.

Ratings & Reviews

Ratings are something we always looks for while purchasing something online, online courses are no exception. But how reliable are these ratings ??

I request you to choose online courses with more numbers enrollment and ratings. Also read couple of reviews of previous students. This give you a lot of information.

Quality (Money back Guarantee )/Trial periods

Next thing you need to check is if the course provider offers any trial period or money back guarantee !! This is extremely important because if the course doesn’t add any value to you, you can ask for refund !!

  • Udemy offers 30-day money back guarantee ! No matter the reason
  • Coursera offers 7-day free trial
  • SkillShare offers 30-day free trial
  • TreeHouse offers 14-day trail period.

Some other course providers offer partial payment back. You can check it while enrolling !!

Cost: Free Vs Paid courses

With so many FREE courses available, why should someone join a PAID course?

Free courses are usually mainly targeted for beginners, who would like to know what is this topic is all about. With free courses,  students would not have access to quizzes, assignments, discussion forums or any other technical support.

Free Courses do not help intermediate or Advanced learners who knows basics of the topic & looking to go next level. You might find few new concepts, they are not really worth your time.

So if you are a beginner go for FREE courses else go for PAID courses.

Certification Vs No certification

On your resume, certification conveys a little more information than your knowledge.

Certification not only indicates about new skills you learned, it also tells your commitment I  completing a course in-time i.e. sticking to the course deadlines to complete assignments for the entire course duration & getting enough marks to get a grade or certification.

Mere joining a course and going through course material is not enough to master a skill or to crack an interview. I always recommend you to go for certification. Most of these are really low-cost.

Things to Remember:

Finally, please keep these two points in mind before you commit to a course.

Time Vs Money :

It is not money that you would lose, you will lose time if the course is not opt for you. If you are in Intermediate or Advanced stage learner, joining FREE courses might result in losing your valuable time. Time wise be-wise.

Do NOT join same course across multiple platforms. It would only waste your time.

You need a Mentor :

Every champion or every great leader had a mentor at some point of time in their life. Mentor-ship speeds up your learning, helps you in making fewer mistakes, keeps you stay focused & on your track. Learning on your own is also a good way, but that takes a lot of time.

Video tutorial on Tips to choose online courses

if we miss any points please feel free to drop a comment below.

Hope this guide helps you !

Best Compilers/Interpreters to Practise Programming Online

There are numerous programming languages available these days for developers and every language comes with some amazing features and supported tools to suit various programming needs. Many of these programming languages are either compiler based or interpreter based, so programmers would require a Compiler or an Interpreter software to execute and test the codes.

Most programmers use an offline compiler program to support their programming needs, but there also many online compilers and interpreters available which coders can utilize. An online compiler helps a programmer write and test his codes online without the need to install any software on his/her system. Online compilers and interpreters are also better since they are mostly cloud based and help improve the productivity of a programmer.

Below we are mentioning some of the most popular online compilers and interpreters available where a programmer can learn and practise programming.

  1. CodePad

Codepad is an online tool for coders to compile their code and collaborate with teams. The tool provides the coders a specific URL for their code which they can share with others. It is a simple online tool where a programmer can code and execute it. This easy to use tool also works on mobile devices perfectly. The languages which this tool supports are C, C++, D, PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl and many more.

Codepad can be accessed online at www.codepad.org

  1. Ideone

Ideone is an online IDE and debugging tool with support for more than 50 languages. This is not just a pastebin like codepad, but it is a full featured debugging tool. The tool also provides the functionality of making code private or public. Public codes are viewable publicly on the recent codes section. The users can sign up for an account and save their codes in an organised manner.

Users can access this debugging tool at www.ideone.com

  1. JDoodle

This is another simple online editor and compiler which supports numerous programming languages. JDoodle has support for all standard online libraries, so that programmers can conveniently utilize the tool to edit, execute and share codes online. There are also features to do peer programming. Account holders can watch other programmers coding and make corrections to their programs.

The website link for JDoodle is www.jdoodle.com

  1. W3Schools

The most famous online tutorials website for web programmers also comes with online compilers for various scripting languages. This is probably one of the best websites to learn programming online and also practise codes side by side on the compiler functionality provided. The website contains tutorials and tools for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, AngularJS, PHP, ASP, SQL, NodeJS and various other web technologies.

The official website is www.w3schools.com

  1. Hacker Earth

This online compiler supports nearly 36 programming languages and needs to be logged in to gain acquaintance to online compiling by programmers. HackerEarth can record all your changes as a video as well. The website also hosts various programming competitions for its users. HackerEarth is a big community of programmers and the website also supports companies to hire the best technical talent online. Henceforth, the users also get opportunities to prove their talent and get hired in good technical companies through this website.

Programmers can access the tool here code.hackerearth.com

  1. Coding Ground

This is another good online tool which allows coding and executing programs in multiple languages. The parent company TutorialsPoint also has a huge knowledge base of tutorials which the coders can utilize to practise and learn programming online. Coding Ground provides multiple useful options which include creating a new file, saving a file, organizing files my creating projects, etc.

The online tool is available at www.tutorialspoint.com/codingground.htm

  1. Codechef

Codechef is a competition based programming website. Being one of the best options for running programs online, it also accentuates your skills as you are constantly in talks with other competitors and experts. More of a learn and do facility, codechef caters practice and competition at different levels of skills.

This tool can be accessed at www.codechef.com/ide

  1. Rex Tester:

RexTester helps programmers to execute their codes online. Initially started as a regular expression tester tool for dotnet, rextester now supports more than 40 languages. This is an easy to use tool with a simple UI. Users can also share their codes on the “Code Wall” section and ask for live cooperation from other coders.

The tool is available online at www.rextester.com

  1. JS Fiddle

JSFiddle is an online coding and collaboration tool for HTML and JavaScript programmers. Coders can write and test their HTML, CSS and JavaScript or CoffeScript codes online on JSFiddle code editor and also share their codes with others. This is probably one of the best tools for Web Programmers with four different sections for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Result respectively.

This tool is available online at www.jsfiddle.net

  1. GCC Explorer

GCC is a web based tool specially launched for C++ programmers. It is a very useful tool for debugging and researching. This tool provides features wherein a programmer can explore the output of the code. The supported languages are C++, D, Rust and Go. Programmers can also share their codes through a URL which the tool generates for every code. There is a share option the right hand side and the tool also has options to change the view.

The website to access and utilize GCC Explorer is https://godbolt.org/

  1. DJGPP Public Access Cross-Compiler

The DJGPP Compiler, being managed by Delorie software is an easy to use, convenient tool to compile and run code online. If a programmer wants to compile a DOS program and he does not have access to a DOS machine, he can use this tool.

The web link for the tool is http://www.delorie.com/djgpp/compile/

  1. ShiftEdit

An online compiler for languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, HTML, and Java, this is basically a compiler for web site development programs. This is a paid tool which also includes features for GitHub Integration, BitBucket Integration and deploying AWS servers or Linode. The pricing structure starts from $6 per month, which includes real time collaboration facility.

The official website is www.ShiftEdit.net

  1. Source Lair

SourceLair is a cloud based IDE tool which lets the programmer code and test scripts online. The tool is very simple with an attractive UI. SourceLair is a paid tool, but they provide a free trial so the users can test the tool before trying paid account. Account holders of sourceLair can also group up their works and organize them in folders. SourceLair also has a mobile app and a chrome store app which the programmers can utilize.

The users can utilize the tool by logging on to the www.sourcelair.com/home website.

Conclusion

In today’s world, everyone wants to learn the basics of programming, but setting up a programming environment offline (in a computer system) can be difficult for beginners. The advantage of using online compilers is that the user doesn’t need to have own PC or laptop to learn, all one needs is just a web browser with an internet connection. Users can save their programs online & can access from anywhere. The users can select any online compiler or interpreter to suit his or her programming needs. The tools mentioned above work online and help their users practice and learn programming online conveniently.

10 tips that can help your study better

To assist students looking forward to making the most of their learning time and achieving brilliant grades at school in the coming session, we composed a list of 10 tips that can help your study better.

  1. Make Study Goals: The most essential foundation to studying effectively starts with setting study goals. You won’t know where you are headed if don’t have any destination to reach. Set your goals. Set realistic goals. That are doable and yet challenging. Assess if you need to buck up to achieve them. If you are content with the goals, proceed to the next tip.
  2. Prepare Study Plan: Heard of, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’. Unless you thrive on cramming the day before the exam, create an organised study plan to utilize your time effectively. You have goals to look forward to, so design a study schedule such that all subjects receive equal attention. Calculate the time you have in hand after school (or tuitions, if any) and divide it neatly into a plan accommodating study and practice time.
  3. Adopt Novel Technologies: The handwritten study technique holds immense importance for every student but one must explore other options of learning such as online tools and study apps. These novel technologies are user-centric and infuse fluidity in monotonous study regime. It would be better though, if you abstain from hogging social sites.
  4. Take breaks: Bear in mind, to maintain an adequate concentration level, you must take small breaks in between your study hours. Take a walk, hit the gym, call a friend or gulp some refreshing fluids. Taking breaks increases concentration and improves productivity. Remember to get back to studying once your break is over.
  5. Learn lessons like stories: Stories have the power of entertaining and teaching even the smallest details effortlessly. Apply this to studies by knitting main facts into a story. Make it ridiculous or compose acronyms to remember boring formulae.
  6. Positive attitude: Your learning process is as good as your attitude towards studies. If you’ve accepted that you can’t pull it off, committing to studies or attempting to learn is like fooling yourself. Instead, focus on your strengths and keep a positive attitude towards your goals. When students think positively, their brains display enhanced activity, thereby reducing their nervousness and exposing them to fresh ideas.
  7. Team study: If you keep company with mates who can motivate you to study well, then team study is a great idea. Not only will they encourage you, but help solve doubts or problems in case you get stuck. Also, our minds works better when faced with a competition and your team mates can be your best competitors. We are talking about a healthy competition here, not otherwise.
  8. Testing times: Even had a nightmare of forgetting all your hard learned concepts the moment you see the question paper. Nothing but timely revisions can take away the fear of going blank at the sight of examination hall. Beat the stress of remembering formulae, dates, names, and facts by testing yourself through quizzes. The more you revise and take regular tests, the better are your chances of faring well.
  9. Strike a Healthy Balance: Struggling to get enough sleep or losing out on nutrition! To study better, one has to strike a perfect balance between physical and mental strength. Next time your mom reminds you of eating on time, take her seriously. Eating right and apt will boost your mental vigour besides preparing you to endure exam stress and follow your study plan more effectively.
  10. Study location: Your study location must be quiet and away from distractions. You can try sitting at different places and see which one works for you.

 

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All the best !