Are your computer programming skills up to par?

Author: Matthew Thau

For today’s entrepreneurs, general understanding of basic computer programming is a must for those looking to start a successful technology business. As society grows more accustomed to technology in everyday life, knowledge of computers and programming has shifted from a niche hobby to nearly an essential life skill. For entrepreneurs with backgrounds in fields other than engineering, knowledge of code may make the difference between a fledgling idea and a successful business.

Enter Stanford University’s Engineering Everywhere (SEE) program. Launched in 2008, SEE provided an online portal that offered several courses from their School of Engineering free of charge. The program found tremendous success, in part because of the decision to include the three course introductory sequence in Computer Science taken by the majority of undergraduate students at Stanford. Artificial Intelligence, another free course taught by Sebastian Thrun, had 160,000 enrollees, with 26,000 people graduating from the course with a university certificate.

This week, Professor Thrun announced the creation of a new free education project know as Udacity. Influenced by SEE, the website will focus of computer science courses taught at the university level and free of charge. The first course, CS 101: Building a Search Engine, is slated to begin of February 20 and last for seven weeks. The course requires no previous knowledge of programming and with focus on teaching the fundamentals of computer science.