What We Recommend to People Who Want to Be More Tech Savvy

Stanford CS 193P on iTunes U

There are a number of free online courses that are simply amazing and fun to do as a refresher. I’ve been going through the Stanford CS 193P course every year now for more than five consecutive years. It’s completely free on iTunes U and generally comes out around January. Paul’s a great lecturer, and I highly recommend this course for any product managers, project managers, front-end developers, marketing managers, aspiring coders, and anyone else who might have any interaction or responsibility for a mobile product (especially if you don’t build apps).

In this course, Paul goes through important iOS frameworks and how to build using the MVC pattern (native to Swift development). To know when and when not to create a native app requires some fundamental knowledge of apps. Caveat: This course is all things iOS, so if you are looking for Android or anything Google related, it isn’t worth your time.

Harvard CS 50 on edX

Another goodie, possibly less specialized and more practical for the non-programming crowd (same audience as above) is Harvard’s CS 50. In my view, this course should be mandatory for anyone working on a digital project. It’s beginner-level programming, but this is vital for any modern organization creating or relying on digital products.

David, has been teaching this course for several years and it just keeps getting better and more relevant. This is another great refresher course for those who have climbed from the trenches of development and may be a bit rusty or those who need to improve their technical understanding so they can be more empathetic with their dev teams.

MIT Computer Science and Programming using Python

MIT Computational Thinking and Data Science

For those of you in the data or marketing space, MIT’s introduction to computer science and programming using Python is the one for you. This is another repeat course that stays relevant to the industry. And it’s just the first of two in the series.

If you are wanting to learn Python or just become more analytical savvy, I think this course is the best online resource available. The follow-up course on computational thinking and data science is more in-depth, but another great option for a generalist looking to gain an edge.

And more:

  • Ray Wenderlich – Practical video tutorials and books focused on real-world use cases. (This is a big deal if you’ve ever done tutorials that make no practical sense.) They do have basic options, but the best stuff is on the advanced side of things.
  • Codecademy – Easy way to learn basic HTML/CSS/JAVASCRIPT. This should be a must-do exercise for anyone working for a digital company, even people in customer service and other “non-techie” roles.
  • Lynda – I have this on the list because there are some gems, and I like video tutorials over books, but for the most part, Lynda has become a watered-down, outdated, and less useful resource than it used to be. There are still some highly focused creative tutorials worth watching, but overall, the quality is low and impractical (the opposite of Ray Wenderlich).
  • Objc.io This is more advanced and mostly books, but incredibly valuable information for iOS and mobile development.