These are some of Coursera’s most popular coding courses

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Natalie Marchant, Writer, Formative Content

  • The world of work is changing rapidly with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the uptake of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.
  • Many people are reskilling and technology jobs are seen as offering better job security.
  • The basics of coding can be learned in just weeks, while becoming fluent in a programming language can take months.
  • More work needs to be done to address the gender imbalance in software development, with men making up 91% of those working in the sector.

The labour market has been massively disrupted by COVID-19 and the ensuing recession, prompting many to consider a role in the technology sector as a way to future-proof their career.

The world of work was already changing rapidly with new technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution pre-pandemic, and this digital transition has only accelerated in the wake of the pandemic.

As such, technology jobs are often seen as offering better job security and a way of staying at the forefront of technological innovation amid ongoing economic uncertainty.

Future of Jobs Report 2020
How the jobs landscape will change in the next five years. Image: World Economic Forum

One particular area of interest during the pandemic has been computer programming, or coding, which refers to the process of writing the instructions for what a computer, application or software programme does.

These instructions are written in high-level programming languages such as C++, Python and JavaScript. The basics can be learned in a few weeks, although it takes at least a few months to become fluent in a particular language – making them ideal to learn at home amid lockdowns.

Coursera says these five free-to-join coding courses are among the most population available on its global online learning platform.

1. Python for Everybody (Specialization)

This course from the University of Michigan builds on the beginners Python for Everybody course and teaches students to programme, analyze and visualize data with Python.

2. Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding (Specialization)

Also from the University of Michigan, this course covers how to write syntactically correct HTML5 and CSS3, as well as how to create interactive web experiences with JavaScript.

3. Coding for Everyone: C and C++

Offered by the University of California, Santa Cruz, this course covers the basics of programming in C and more advanced C++ semantics and syntax, preparing students to apply these skills to a number of higher-level problems using AI algorithms.

4. Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals

Duke University runs this beginners course, teaching core programming concepts as well as the foundational skills a software engineer needs to solve real-world problems, from designing algorithms to testing and debugging programmes.

5. Computer Science: Programming with a Purpose

This Princeton University course focuses on Java and begins by introducing basic programming elements such as variables, conditionals, loops, arrays and I/O.

Online learning vital for reskilling

In addition to their direct employment benefits, coding skills can help boost people’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020, half of all the world’s workers will need reskilling by 2025. And even those who stay in their roles will need to adapt, with 94% of business leaders expecting staff to pick up new skills on the job.

It is therefore not surprising that the pandemic has seen a surge in the popularity of massive online learning courses (MOOCs) – those designed for mass participation which are either free, subsidized or much cheaper than conventional higher education courses.

Coursera, the world’s largest MOOC provider, alone saw a 1,500% month-on-month rise in demand for personal development content between February and March last year.

MOOCs can widen access to education

MOOCs have long been praised for democratizing learning by enabling people anywhere in the world to access courses run by top educational institutions.

However, while MOOCs are used by tens of millions across the world, some studies indicate there are still some issues relating to educational equity – particularly in regards to gender. In 2018, US researchers found that only one in four learners enrolled in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) MOOCs was female.

Coding still a male-dominated sector

This gender imbalance is also reflected in STEM industries such as information technology (IT). In 2019, women working in technology in the UK, for example, accounted for only 17% of the IT specialist workforce.

Meanwhile coding workshop provider SheCodes claims that women make up 25% of coders, while earning 30% less than men.

This has prompted initiatives and organizations such as SheCodes, Code First Girls and Women Who Code to empower women to break into the technology sector.

With the socio-economic implications of COVID-19 already disproportionately affecting women, MOOCs could help play a vital role in addressing such imbalances.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Thousands of Syrians in ‘life and death’ struggle amid harsh conditions in remote desert camp, UN warns

Meet the Junior Enterprise network at JEWC 2014!

Brussels to point the finger to Washington for lack of commitment over TTIP

European Defence Fund: EU funds new joint research and industrial projects

Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Yemen talks: Truce agreed over key port city of Hudaydah

Girls hold the key to Zambia’s future

New UN report shows record number of children killed and maimed in conflict

COVID-19 threatens the developing world’s small businesses. This is how to save them

ECB to people: Not responsible if you lose money on Bitcoin, your governments are

Bioethics: how to recover trust in the doctor-patient relationship

ECB with an iron hand disciplines the smaller Eurozone member states; latest victim: Greece

Barcelona’s ‘superblocks’ could save lives and cut pollution, says report

This is how we can save millions of people from extreme poverty after COVID-19

Governments should step up their efforts to give people skills to seize opportunities in a digital world

Unity, regional cooperation and international support needed for Horn of Africa to develop sustainably

The shrinking Arctic ice protects us all. It’s time to act

International World Summit Award calls for outstanding digital applications with impact on society from 178 UN member states

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions commits to align practices presenting offers and prices with EU law following EU action

Science leads the response to COVID-19. These 25 scientists are tackling the other global challenges

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

UN’s Bachelet rejects Sri Lankan official’s ‘spin’ on Human Rights Council encounter, urges reforms

Global South cooperation ‘vital’ to climate change fight, development, Guterres tells historic Buenos Aires summit

Ten UN peacekeepers killed in a terrorist attack in northern Mali

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price

State aid: Commission approves €511 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

4 ways to deliver social justice during the COVID-19 recovery

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Why vaccines are not just for children

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

World’s Press Calls on the United Kingdom to Address Press Freedom Concerns

Turkey: Commission continues humanitarian support for refugees

New UN forestry project bids to help countries meet climate change commitments

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

5 ocean success stories to chase away the blues

Coronavirus: Pandemic alert should be trigger for countries to do more against COVID-19

Financial services are changing. Here’s how

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Climate crisis and food risks, fresh violence threat for millions of Syrians, calls for calm in Kashmir

The application that encourages us to be heroes

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

Chart of the day: When do young Europeans leave home?

Dear Davos: time to declare an emergency opportunity for people and planet

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

The World Health Organization has called on countries to ‘test, test, test’ for coronavirus – this is why

Key quotes from China’s Premier Li on COVID-19, the economy and US relations

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

There is no patient safety without healthcare workers’ safety

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

Canada has the most comprehensive and elaborate migration system, but some challenges remain

Global hunger is on the rise. These simple steps could help eradicate it

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Ambassador Zhang Ming Attends the EP Debate on China-EU Relations and Answers Questions

Asia’s plastic problem is choking the world’s oceans. Here’s how to fix it

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

UN Mission in Haiti calls on protestors, authorities, to refrain from violence

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s