Web Applications for Everybody

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Below are the top discussions from Reddit that mention this online Coursera specialization from University of Michigan.

Offered by University of Michigan. Build dynamic database-backed web sites.. Use PHP, MySQL, jQuery, and Handlebars to build web and ... Enroll for free.

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Taught by
Charles Russell Severance
Clinical Professor
and 13 more instructors

Offered by
University of Michigan

This specialization includes these 4 courses.

Reddit Posts and Comments

0 posts • 14 mentions • top 6 shown below

r/learnprogramming • post
272 points • serimachi
Programming advice for CS majors

This week, a classmate approached my friend and I to ask for advice in becoming a better programmer. We're all CS students, but my classmate, despite being a genius, claimed not to feel confident in his programming ability. I was flattered and wrote him this lengthy email. I figured others might like to read it, and would be open to any feedback or additional advice.

Hi! Let's just launch right in.

What's more important is deciding what you want to do. Python is a great general-purpose language, and you can do anything in it. However, more specialized languages exist out there--you're already familiar with Matlab, which is designed for scientists doing matrix shenanigans. (As evidenced by its 1-indexing, wtf.) If your desire is to program for the web, you can hack together a PHP script in a day. If your desire is to do nuts-and-bolts system programming--interacting with the hardware itself--then C and C++ are your game (which may be useful to learn anyway, as you need them for class.) C# (or something) is what they use in game dev. Java is your only realistic choice for Android apps; likewise for C# (I think?) and Swift for iOS. But Python is still amazing, and I recommend it unless you're really set on specializing.

[Codeacademy] has another course that might be more your style. But make sure you install Python on your home computer at some point; don't just do it through the web.

I'm pretty sure the way I started with Python was a textbook I bought in 11th grade. This was silly, and I retained nothing and built nothing (maybe a if-branching and while-loop text adventure game). What really got me started was Python the Hard Way, which you can zip through in approximately no time. (I see now that the author has published an expanded book version--that's not necessary to buy, the link I sent you is the perfect base for anything you want to do.

After that, like I said, it's a matter of specializing.

  • You've expressed an interest in web programming. This is the traditional route, and the way most people get started. However, there's one big drawback to this--programming for the web is not as simple as learning one language. To some extent, you will have to learn HTML, CSS, and SQL. If you want your site to do anything flashy, you'll have to learn Javascript. You'll have a lot of disparate knowledge-gathering to do, and for me, when I was first learning, it wasn't easy to tell what knowledge was extraneous. Your best bet is to:
    • Run through HTML (do not bother with the tables section--table-based layouts are not good practice, I get so annoyed by this!) / CSS / SQL on Codeacademy. Codeacademy will just barely give you enough knowledge to do anything; it is not a thorough course. However, you could spend a year mastering front-end web design or SQL. You'll want to come back at some point to get a better grounding in this stuff, but this is enough to get started.
    • Run through this Flask tutorial.

That's really all you need to build your blog. (I say that's "really all", but in reality I just gave you at least 40 hours of work. Like I said, web dev has some real disparate knowledge requirements.) Ideally, edit what you built in the tutorial (or build the whole thing from scratch for the sheer practice of writing it, and reference what you built in the tutorial.) It won't be a pretty blog. After that, you'll probably want to go back and solidify your knowledge in HTML and especially CSS. Then comes Javascript (and its infinite number of useful libraries), which is a real programming language like Python, which again you could spend years studying and never really "know". And then there's Bootstrap, a thing which hastens CSS development. And so much more--you could not possibly learn it all. It depends how deep you wanna get into web dev.

But, learning web dev will make you useful at hackathons. A lot of jobs out there aren't much more than very simple web dev (or "CRUD: apps). Before long, you'll be able to throw together a blog in just a few hours. It's a really useful thing to learn.

You might consider ignoring everything I just said, and going through a full fledged online course. These exist en masse. This course teaches PHP and SQL--you could conceivably learn HTML and CSS and then hop right into this. There's this. I tried this, but it didn't stick. My first experience with web development, at twelve years old, was actually this. (But I'm not a childhood whiz kid or something; I forgot all of this and had to learn it again a couple years ago. And the website I built at twelve was just HTML/CSS with no backend; I just wanted a place to post my stories and articles.) Finding a university course lectured online might be more your style. I know, though, that I would get bored and never finish it. (When I do do courses, I tend to watch them at 1.5x speed, but I do pause to take very good notes and complete the exercises. I think most people fly through them without really absorbing the material like they would in an actual classroom, which is why they have no respectability whatsoever. That said, a lot of these courses on Coursera (and its ilk) says they should take a month or more to complete, and I like to blast through them over the course of a week or so depending on their difficulty.)

  • You might be into game dev, in which case pygame would be fun to learn (and probably a lot quicker / less overwhelming than web dev.) I was never interested in game dev, but this is how I taught my little brother programming. (Who is waaaaaay smarter than me.)
  • Web scraping is cool--building scripts that can scrape data off the web--and has been surprisingly useful. I've used it both in both of my jobs, and it impresses people. You'll need to know HTML, and it requires a knowledge of how whatever website you're building is structured (requiring research.) But I've built a few fun project that way, including one I'm particularly proud of that automated an assignment in a gen ed course. This tutorial looks fine. (I forget the one I used.)
  • You can build bots that interact with Twitter, Reddit, and most social media sites, if you can think of something clever to do with that. You need nothing more than basic Python for that. You'll have to Google that; "How to build a Twitter bot with Python for beginners" or something. (I have built a twitter bot, but the library I used is no longer supported.)
  • You are a math guy, so you might be interested in the course I'm in now. It's about parsing data and building attractive visualizations out of it using Python libraries. It requires nothing more than Python. (It later gets into machine learning. The usual recommendation for that (which I second) is Machine Learning with Andrew Ng, who is minorly famous, and that goes into the nitty-gritty more than other courses (but less than an actual university class). It uses Matlab, which you might prefer.)

These are just some ideas of directions to go in. By far, the best thing is to decide not on a technology you specifically want to learn for your resume or something, but on a project you want to build, and let your desire to complete that project drive you to learn. I keep a notepad on my computer of projects I want to work on. Keep an open mind and actually write down your ideas, and you'll have more than you could possibly ever act on. (Even if most of them are crazy or not terribly impressive. It's about learning, for us, at this point. We'll likely never have this much creative freedom in our careers.) Then, come to us or somebody relatively experienced for pointers, or look online for how you might get started.

There's something [Friend] and I have disagreeing approaches to. [Friend] is methodical, and like to understand things fully before applying them. He likes to work through courses and get his material in a structured way.

I'm the opposite. I get a creative itch to build something, and learn the bare minimum to build that thing. I learn on the fly, with a billion and a half reference pages usually open.

[Friend]'s way is probably better in some ways, because it doesn't leave one with with massive, fundamental knowledge gaps. I've built projects in languages and with frameworks I don't understand before, just by pattern-matching code, and A) it probably shows and B) I left without learning all that much. (Just recently, I've started a data analytics course in Python, and it kills me that there are libraries out there that would have been extremely useful and time-saving for projects I've worked on, had I researched them.)

The issue lies in actually motivating yourself to learn things thoroughly, and also in remembering it all. If you work through an entire book off HTML5 and CSS, and an entire book of Javascript, and an entire book of Python (with all the esoteric minutia that comes with learning an entire language)--you'll have forgotten the Javascript by the time you finish the Python book, and a year will have passed, and you'll have little to show for it. Also, there's the confidence you get when you build things in the real world, which makes you sure you can build other things, which snowballs. (And I don't want to exaggerate by making the gaps in knowledge you get by not doing courses worse than actually is--programming is a bit like math or like scuba diving in that practicing it really is the only way to learn sometimes.)

Point is, take what I say with a gigantic grain of salt, and follow your own learning style. Do what actually works for you. By far, the biggest learning block most people have is not a lack of resources or a bad teacher, but a lack of motivation to learn. Do what it takes to stay motivated. Even if it's silly. Sometimes, I'll force myself to go to the library only by making a deal with myself to buy chocolate milk from the store along the way.

You'll also want to make sure you've got the general programming skills. This is not stuff you'll want to do right away, for the most part. (You may want to get the basics of Git down, so you can show off your projects and link to them on your resume--but just the basic three commands, not the complex stuff you'll need when you're working as a team. It will take an hour, tops.) You might want to work on applying Data Structures and Algorithms on Leetcode and with Project Euler problems. (Whenever I learn a new language nowadays, I do a few problems on Project Euler rather than running through an entire tutorial. I learned C that way before taking Low-Level, and it gave me an advantage in the class.) You'll want to work through the books Cracking the Coding Interview _and _Clean Code. (The video series Clean Coders goes even more in-depth than the book and is a lot less boring--though it's really wacky in its presentation--I have the first 18 videos of the series if you like.) Plan stuff out, do some pair programming. You'll want to learn Test-Driven Development, SOLID principles, Git, how the Internet really works, etc. You'll want to install some version of Linux, probably Ubuntu, and really learn it, meaning the command-line and bash scripts. (I deleted Windows when I got my first laptop at 16 in order to eliminate the temptation of using it. I did learn Linux, but now I kind of forget how to use Windows.) A lot of people say to read code to learn other programming styles, and contribute to open-source projects. More generally--just stretch yourself a little, and occasionally do things the hard way just for the practice. (For example, it's sometimes okay to copy-paste code when you really want something done--you're essentially doing that every time you use a library--but you don't want to do that all the time.) This is the stuff that will make you a mature programmer. They're a bit boring (unless you're [Friend]), but it's like eating vegetables. You've just gotta do it.

Oh, and it's good to skulk reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions and reddit.com/r/learnprogramming. Probably some others I'm forgetting about. Read the sidebars, sort by top. Read the comments. Take everything you read with a pinch of salt, but try to find the good advice. (And don't get addicted.) This will give you a link into the hacker culture/community, will help you pick up a lot of general knowledge and will inspire a lot of thought/introspection in a way that's hard to define, but is definitely useful. You can do this at any point; there's no particular reason to wait.

It's a lot of work. More work than anyone sees. I spend, on average, about and hour and a half a night on courses or projects on top of my schoolwork, and more since [Friend] and I started on a project that has a large learning curve. Once you get in the habit, and you have something to be focused on, it's not a terrible pace. (It's pretty great that now I am functionally paid to learn for my work. And it's not to hard to build projects based around what you're doing in class--the machine learning course I completed, for example, has gotten me to brush up on linear algebra that has come in useful during our Math Concepts II class.) However, there's no need to go that hard unless you come to really love it, or unless you're aiming for a Big 4 (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon) sort of position (which you would be well-suited for, with your math-y background.) (We really are in a good field; a lot of anthropology students would envy us only needing to work only a half hour a night to be a competitive graduate with good job prospects.) And while each project is going to be inevitably harder than it seems when you first were planning it out, eventually you'll find yourself doing things in hours that once took you days or weeks. You'll walk into job interviews and they'll comment on how relaxed and confident you seem. And then, at some point, you'll find yourself being the person people come to for advice, and you'll be writing them lengthy emails at one in the morning.

Let us know how we can help. And please come to the hackathon! (And for goodness sake, please force me to come to this stupid CS career stuff, I really should be going. But I'm not wearing a damn suit!)

Sincerely, [ /u/serimachi ]

r/learnprogramming • comment
4 points • filopaa1990

If you want to get a really great oversight of the “state of the art” of web dev, I strongly suggest you the Coursera course by Charles Severance from Michigan University. I think it’s free to watch the lectures otherwise is 40$/month, not too bad. Besides learning “how to code” he is great at explain what each language is suitable for and what to use for what. But in general, try to understand if you are more inclined toward front end or backend. It’s maybe confusing at first that you’ll have to learn so many languages but it will all make sense.

  • HTML / CSS html is a markup language, it is used to create a hierarchy in the webpage and how/where things will be displayed (what will be headers/titles/hyperlinks etc). CSS is for styling (background color, font size etc)

  • JavaScrip is the go-to scripting language of the web-browser. While html is used to make the backbone of the page, it can be called “static” (on the client/browser side). JavaScrip enables you to insert interactivity with the user even entirely within the browser (client side), without the need to keep bothering the server. (e.g. press a button to change font color without asking the server to recompile the whole freaking page to turn 3 lines red). JQuery is a library written in JavaScrip, makes life easier, fantastic and super scary. It’s very used and abused, and it’s not really great if you need absolute control on what’s happening (return to JS), BUT it reduces a lot the code, and you’ll be fine if you use it smartly.

  • PHP is a classic backend scripting language. The PHP file with the html+php hybrid code is read by the server which builds a page and “sends” it to the client. The stupidest thing you’d do with PHP is use a for cycle to print a bunch of paragraphs automatically. It’s a scripting language to produce (echo) html. Node.js is a popular alternative to PHP based on JavaScrip.

These 3 are the basics in my opinion to get started quickly and effectively in Webdev. But new trendy languages and libraries are getting increasingly used.

Other useful stuffto know: at least know what it does (don’t necessarily learn how to code it, just understand its purpose)

  • XML and JSON, as data structures of the web
  • AJAX, Asynchronous JavaScript And XML to interrogate the server without having to reload the whole page.
  • Bootstrap opens source library for very clean and modern front end dev.
  • AngularJS, very cool and scary stuff for front end(I guess??). Don’t begin with this.
  • SQL and in general databases. Learn what relational tables and databases are used for and when to use them.
  • d3.js maybe a bit advanced, but cool stuff for dynamic graphic design :)
  • Ruby On Rails is a whole framework for webdev, don’t know much about it but it’s very popular in start ups etc. Gotta learn to code in Ruby tho.

Should totally check the course by Charles Severance though, I’ll link it below

Also http://www.w3schools.com offers really cool (although somewhat limited) tutorials for most of these languages FOR FREE with interactive exercises and all. Very cool stuff.

r/webdev • comment
1 points • rbudhrani

If you’re looking for a PHP course, you can try https://www.coursera.org/specializations/web-applications. If your company is paying then you may as well get a certificate for it.

thenewboston also has a PHP playlist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCUV3iv9xOs&list=PL442FA2C127377F07). Both of these options are for beginners so you should be good. I self-studied PHP and used them both (first one without paying, so just auditing the course). Udemy also has a paid course (https://www.udemy.com/php-for-complete-beginners-includes-msql-object-oriented/), but I haven’t taken theirs.

r/cybersecurity • comment
1 points • baldmangroup
r/learnpython • comment
1 points • Icarus998

im a mechanical engineer , graduated in 2006 . Since university of always wanted to get into programming , but be warned , 99% of the learning material out there is geared toward people with computer science background.
Most book and courses will say "for absolute beginners" this absolute bullshit .
most books and courses do what a call a "syntax dump" teach you how to do simple commands but throw you under the bus when it comes to putting things together .

What most books fail to convey is computational thinking , i finished one course from penn state https://www.coursera.org/learn/computational-thinking-problem-solving

although it only get into python towards the end . I have found it to be very useful in re-calibrating my mindset to think computationally. It also helped out in other courses.


this this currently my path to learn python

python for everybody specialization on coursera ,Dr Chuck is the best when it comes to a gentle intro , and makes it really fun.


im currently doing another specialization

python 3 programming specialization


Dr.Chuck also has other specializations (https://www.coursera.org/specializations/web-applications) .

for data science i also plan to take https://www.coursera.org/specializations/data-science-python.

Now here is the thing with coursera , you can sign up for coursera plus for around 400$ a year and get access to all the courses except for the degrees and masters tracks. this is the best bang for your buck.


FREE material , goto runestone academy and take

How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Interactive Edition


this is by far the best book

they also have a few dozen other books to do with python ,C++ etc.


Once you get the hang of python , integrating it with your field will be easy but this falls on you.

r/learnprogramming • comment
1 points • FabriceQ

So a lot of people are asking questions about the courses I did here is my MOOC learning process:

  1. I made a list of the subjects I wanted to learn: Python, Mongodb, Docker, Business, Managment, Finance, History, Emotional inteligence, ...
  2. I looked on Coursera and EDx for courses that could teach me each subject and made a list of those in an order that makes sense (Example not trying to learn OOP when you dont know what an integer is...)
  3. I registered as an auditor to the courses about a month before I tought I would have the time to do it just to look around and browse the material.
  4. About two weeks before before being ready to start some new courses I applied for financial aid to my next courses as with business at pandemic level I couldnt afford a Coursera or EDx membership. I normally applied for 4-5 courses of a common subject at a time, like a whole specialisation.
  5. I then grinded the courses one step at a time
  6. Rince and repeat

I have started learning as a hobby about 5 years ago, programming since the begginning of the pandemic. Here is the list of courses I have done in IT since:

I think thats all the IT ones, and yes I was accepted for financial aid for all the courses I have done until now either free or 90% discount.

Hope it helps.