2 great MOOCs to get a feel of computer science

I’m getting this question frequently – what are best online courses to start one’s journey in Computer Science.

Here are my top two:

1. MITx’s introduction to computer science on edX – https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-computer-science-and-programming-using-python

Note that this course is offered fairly quickly, can be audited for free, or for a paid certificate and is also eligible for credit (for a little extra money – much cheaper than most colleges).

2. HarvardX’s CS50x on edX – https://www.edx.org/course/cs50s-introduction-computer-science-harvardx-cs50x

This course is self-paced and can be taken any time – for free or for a paid certificate.


There are no real pre-requisites for those courses, other than standard high-school education – in fact I would highly recommend the courses above to students who are still in the high-school. This also gives a practically free way to check if Programming or Computer Science field in general is for you.

P.s. I’ve taken both courses myself when edX just launched and enjoyed them greatly.

Pretty happy sending money with TransferWise

Recently, I had to do few transactions in Russia. Problems I encountered were the following: I still have a RUR account in Russia and a Russian card bound to it, but no money left there.

At the same time trying to pay using Canadian credit cards failed badly, since Canadian banks block any online merchants in Russia from accepting them (presumably due to excessive amount of fraud).

PayPal allows money transfers to Russia, but doesn’t allow cash withdrawals to Russian accounts.

Luckily, TransferWise appeared to be a great solution. All that is needed were either banking details in Russia or, even easier, Russian credit or debit card number. I believe there is a way to send money even without those through email link (eInterac-like way) but I didn’t explore those.

Fees were very reasonable if the amount is above $500, though they depend on payment method with direct debit from online Canadian banking account being the cheapest. On $900 transaction with direct debit my fees were less than 2%.

Two caveats to mention: transactions above 1000 CAD within 24 hours are subject to additional scrutiny (I didn’t have to do those, so not sure about all the details, was easier for me to stick to that limit); verification process is quite rigorous and a bit buggy.

If you want to try – here is my referral link – gives you a free (no-fee) transfer of up to 800 CAD.

Books every IT manager must read, Part 1

I’m being asked frequently to recommend books and other materials for management. So this is going to be more a post for myself not to forget:

  1. Ben Horowitz. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
  2. Andrew S. Grove. High Output Management
  3. Frederick Brooks. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
  4. Daniel Kahneman. Thinking, Fast and Slow
  5. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The Black Swan

Also I can highly recommend this recent article – http://www.brightball.com/articles/reality-driven-development-fixing-project-management-in-software

More to come.