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Anyone taking CSCI E-50 aka CS50 at Harvard or HES this semester?

CS50 was recently named one of the top 5 computer science courses in the country, according to this article on Bloomberg.com:

I've really enjoyed the Harvard Extension School computer science and digital media courses, and feel they are top-notch for the vast majority of the time.


  • KleosKleos Posts: 57
    I have CS50 on my course bucket list. It seems like a great course but somewhat intimidating for non Comp Sci folks.
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    Did you know they have an option where that course is split in two?  They are now offering a "part A" and "part B" version of that class:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

    David Malan is one enthusiastic teacher.  His lectures are available online for free to watch at your own pace.  I am excited they have split the course into two as one semester for all that they go through is an awful lot.
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    Actually, @Edd was a TF for CSCI E-50 for a couple of semesters
  • KleosKleos Posts: 57
    I had no idea they broke the course into two sections. That is exciting. I watched several of his lectures on EDx, he definitely seems high energy and really into his material. This is much less daunting now.
  • EddEdd Posts: 58
    edited September 2015
    The class is intensive, BUT it's designed for people with no prior programming experience. It's also a ton of fun - each of the PSets is so engaging and entertaining that you almost don't notice the 20+ hrs/week you spend completing them. :)

    All in all, I highly recommend the class. I was hoping to TF or conduct online office hours again this fall, but I'm too busy to commit this semester. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions on the class. I'm happy to answer if I can.
  • I took CSCI E-10a and b before I really decided I wanted to commit to studying CS. From what I've researched those two classes cover much of what would be in CS50, and as such CS50 would not offer me much utility. Is this correct? I'm taking data structures this semester, but I could do with some advice in what to take from here on out. There doesn't seem to be a very guided pathway for prospective CS students. 
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    There is the option to follow the path that Harvard College students take, which is CS50, CS51, CS61, CS20 (used to be 120), and then perhaps CS121 or CS124.

    CS50 covers significantly different material than CS10A and 10B in the sense that they don't do any Java, but rather is a broader survey of languages such as C, PHP and SQL.  The reason why they don't both count towards degrees or certificates is that the fundamental programming knowledge in terms of theory is covered in both tracks fairly similarly.  
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    You might already know this, but all of the CS50 lectures are offered online for free.
  • So besides the requirements for the ALB a student would take:
    CS50 or (CS10a/b)
    CS51 requires CS20 which requires at least Math15
    CS61 requires CS26 which requires CS22
    CS121 requires CS20 and CS22 with grades of B+ or higher. 
    CS124 requires CS22

    With this pathway the only math required would be Math15. Would this be adequate for good job offers after completing the ALB?
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    CSCI E-20 is "Discrete Math for Computer Science" which I assure you will work you over in terms of math.  When I took it, it included learning basic calculus and a lot of statistics on top of a giant amount of discrete math.  I hear they might have backed off of some of that, as it was too much.

    Also, the ALB with a concentration in Sciences requires 40 credits.  If you took CS50 and didn't need to take Math 15 (which is a little remedial from my understanding), you would still have to take 8 credits of "science" courses.  It's possible an adviser would suggest at least one of those be another math course.  It probably depends on exactly what kind of computer science you would like to do.  However, "algorithms" are kind of like the math of computer science, and you'll be doing plenty of those for the best jobs possible if you go ahead with those courses you listed above.

    Also, another mini-pathway you might want to consider is that CSCI E-66 "Database Systems" after you're done with CSCI E-22, as it directly builds on much of the material.  It's a fairly tough course, but if you liked CSCI E-22 and think you might like doing complex database work, it's like "Part 2" after CSCI E-22.
  • Thanks, Grat. That helps a bunch. 
  • The courses that @Grat listed (per the HC curriculum) are almost exactly what I have planned for my CS concentration, and are pretty standard for a sound CS curriculum.  Because most CS grads are expected to have considerable mathematics exposure (and since higher math is a practical foundation for higher level CS courses), I plan on attempting a Mathematics minor, since I'll be taking the classes anyway.  That, of course, depends on if I make the requisite minimum grades.  ;)
  • KleosKleos Posts: 57
    Wow, I have to give it up to you Computer Science concentrators. It seems like quite the rigorous curriculum. Some of the above comments on the level of work load and mathematical necessity is quite intimidating. Again, my hat is off to you.  
  • nancymicnancymic Posts: 184
    edited October 2015
    Is Edd Ed? Lol
    Oh! I looked. Yay old home week!
  • @Grat, you can add this as the "CS Pathway" sticky (if the option is available).
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    It looks like I could make it an "announcement" which would stick it to the top and rename the thread.  One thing you could also do is if you see a thread you like, the click on the little star next to the thread's title, and then it will be "bookmarked", and you will be able to easily find it again by clicking on your "bookmarks" link under your profile picture.
  • GratGrat Posts: 243
    @SoftwareEngineer If you want to make a new thread named the "CS Pathway" we could work on that, and it would be cool.  I'm interested to see if there are any new CS50 takers this semester that might continue to post here.
  • @Grat, I don't think I can create announcements. Maybe, you can create a new thread. And I do understand your reasoning to not derail this thread. I just thought this would be helpful for future members.
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