Free computer science introductory courses by Harvard

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has given guest lectures at Harvard's CS50 classes.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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Online learning has taken the world by storm, more so during the pandemic which has forced learning to shift online. edX is one of the world’s leading online learning providers which was started by Harvard University and MIT in 2012. The platform is known for offering free courses by major companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, and Facebook. Harvard’s courses, however, are equally popular.

Free courses like Harvard’s can come in handy in an era where the skills needed to succeed changes quickly. They can be especially useful if you’re considering a career switch. Signing up for a course means learning new skills without having to take time off from work to go back to school. 

A popular area of focus among many upskillers is in the field of computer science.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow 11% from 2019 to 2029 — much faster than the average for all occupations. 


Computer science-related occupations are also projected to add over half a million new jobs. “Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security,” it said.

In terms of job opportunities, the boom in tech companies around the globe spells opportunities for individuals with advanced computer science skills. 

Tech giants such as Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Tencent, and ByteDance in the US and China need talent in the field. Many companies are willing to pay a large sum for their expertise. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for these professionals is a whopping 91,250 US dollars.

Due to its ever-evolving nature, many rely on online resources to stay up-to-date in the field. 

If you’re planning to grasp the basics of computer science purely for your own enjoyment — why not do it with one of the greatest universities in the world? 

By learning the way computers work, anyone can understand the design, development, and analysis of software and hardware.  

Harvard free courses: CS50

Harvard is known for its CS50 classes, designed to develop professionals through beginner-level computer science lessons. On campus, it is one of the largest classes of all. Now that it has been adopted into a free virtual version, over three million people are grasping the basics of the field from the comfort of their own home. 

The CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science is self explanatory. With this 11-week free course, students learn concepts like abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. They also familiarise themselves with programming languages such as C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

When learners are ready to take it up a notch, they can take up courses such as Web Programming with Python and Javascript programame. This 12-week course will teach learners to write and use APIs, create interactive UIs, and leverage cloud services like GitHub and Heroku.


If yuo’re interested in Scratch, Harvard offers a three-week introductory course which teaches its functions, events, values, conditions, loops, and variables.

CS50 doesn’t stop there. Harvard also offers a free 12-week Introduction to Game Development course that features several lectures and hands-on projects. Topics covered include the principles of 2D and 3D graphics, animation, sound, and collision detection using frameworks like Unity and LÖVE 2D, as well as languages like Lua and C#.

That’s not all. Harvard also offers free courses in how computer science is adapted in various other topics. Other courses to help learners advance their computer science acumen with these programmes: