MIT Python course: python programming

QS World University Rankings has marked Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the world’s top university for 2020-21. Studying at MIT is many students’ dream, and guess what? Now you too can make this dream come true by accessing MIT Python courses from the comfort of your couch! Well, pretty much anywhere with a strong wifi connection. 

In 2012, MIT joined forces with Harvard University to create edX, a highly popular e-learning platform where you can access more than 2650 courses designed by MIT and Harvard, as well as many other well-known institutions. 

Today, we’ll explore the best MIT Python courses and a few alternative options for you to choose from. I know that among many choices, it’s easy to get lost. I got your back though! This article will serve you as an in-depth Python course guide so that you can choose the best MIT Python Course (or an alternative) and start learning today!

MIT Python Courses: What Is Python?

First things first. Okay, I’m sure some of you are familiar with Python already. Perhaps you even have experience working with it. However, if you’re a newbie, I’d like to tell you a bit more about what Python is and the reasons why it’s so popular.

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In short, Python is “an open-source programming language that was made to be easy-to-read and powerful.” Many beginners like to learn Python first. Its syntax is easy to understand since it’s close to natural language, plus it’s a very versatile programming language that can be used for all sorts of projects. 

Mit Python Course: a girl programming on her computer

Other Reasons Why Python Is Truly Beginner-Friendly:

  • Quick Progression

Many learners suggest Python has a relatively steady (or shallow) learning curve. The very basics are easy to pick up and compared to other programming languages such as C++, C, C#, or Java, Python is slightly easier to learn.

  • Large and Supportive Community

Although many credit Python’s syntax for its success, there’s another factor that’s equally if not more important - the community! Python has a very active community that constantly works to improve the source code according to the needs of users, organizes all sorts of discussions, and generally promotes Python as a programming language.

When challenges come - you will never be alone! You can always find a lot of information on the internet: forums, discussion boards, and so on and resolve your doubts. Plus, no matter in-person or online, having a community you can lean on really makes progress faster.

To get started, visit this website where you can learn more about Python and the people behind it, Python Discord, join chats and forums, sign up for a weekly newsletter, and even attend online workshops.

  • Widely Available Resources

There are probably more resources for Python on the internet than any other programming language. Since you’re learning online, that’s certainly something to keep in mind! 

In fact, there’s so much information that it can be a bit disorientating if you don’t know where to look. Although there are many, the following platforms offer some really good free and paid courses in Python programming:

What Is Python Good for? 

Well, Python is sort of like a Swiss Army knife of a programmer. While it’s best for data science and machine learning, like I said, Python has a truly wide range of applications

Python is widely used in:

  • General Web Development

Python allows achieving more functions with fewer lines of code. It has pre-built libraries and web frameworks such as Pyramid, Django, and Flask which are ideal back-end web development projects. 

  • Scientific Computing + Data Science

It’s widely used in scientific research and computing too, given its strong connection to data science toolkits. Python handles tabular, matrix, and statistical data, and facilitates data visualization with popular libraries like ‘Matplotlib’ and ‘Seaborn.’

  • Machine Learning (and AI in general)

Likewise, Python boasts of a big selection of machine learning-specific libraries and frameworks, which speeds up the development process significantly and makes it more simple altogether.

  • Startups

Python is amazing for developing prototypes. Adding to what I mentioned before, this programming language makes web development a lot faster than other languages. Plus, because it’s relatively easy to use, startups can save up on costs when developing a new application by hiring fewer developers.

Another reason why startups love Python is the scalability of its applications. Django infrastructure allows the different components to work independently, which means they can be rearranged according to the business’s needs.

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Why Learn Python?

Python is the preferred language of programmers of all ages and many companies. All the factors I already mentioned make it a highly attractive programming language in a wide variety of industries and projects.

Let’s summarize a few factors that are the reasons why Python is a great programming language to learn:

  • It has a steady learning curve
  • It offers great job prospects
  • It’s truly versatile

Python is pretty much everywhere. Top companies such as Google, Netflix, Dropbox, Stripe, Reddit, Instagram, and Spotify use Python daily in their operations. Statistically, it’s one of the programming languages that has grown the most in recent years. According to a Medium article, Python grew by 50%[1] just in 2020.  

Some players in the field suggest that Python is one of the few programming languages that will dominate in 2021, along with Java, C/C++, JavaScript, and Go. With the rise of Data Science/ML/Deep Learning, Python is not going away anytime soon. So, if you’ve ever wanted to master this programming language - now is as good as ever!

Ready? Let’s find the best MIT Python course for you!

MIT Python Courses Online

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, only 7 students are admitted out of 100 who apply (crazy, I know!). It’s really competitive, but guess what? EdX MIT Python Courses are open for everyone! Well, everyone with a decent wifi connection. 

That’s right, all you need to enroll is wifi and the willingness to learn! 

MITx is the massive open online course (MOOC) program by the university which designs MIT Python courses and other programs and then provides them to students on edX.

Here’s a little secret I have for you: you can access edX MIT Python courses for free! That just adds to why edX courses are so great. Not only are they university-level courses. Most of the course materials don’t cost anything. You only have to pay if you want to receive a verified certificate upon completion.

The good news doesn't end there! Now, you can purchase a full program experience (including a certificate) at much lower prices than the original courses! For more information, check out this website or simply click on the coupon below.

If you ask me, it’s one heck of a deal.

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The sooner you start learning, the sooner you can start coding! Let’s take a look at the most popular edX MIT Python courses and programs.

XSeries Program in Computational Thinking Using Python (Enroll Here)

edx-xseries-computational-thinking-using-python

First of all, what is an XSeries? Well, it’s basically a combination of courses aimed at students who are completely new in this field. In this particular program, you’ll find 2 MIT Python online courses that cover a wide range of topics.

They’re meant to introduce you to the world of computer science and programming and provide you a solid foundation of knowledge on which you can build more advanced skills.

So, if you’re only just beginning your journey with Python - this program will be like your guide in a foreign country. It will show you around, tell you what it’s all about, and prepare you for what comes next. MIT Python courses I’ll tell you about below using Python programming language, version 3.5

Even though MIT Python courses within this program are introductory-level courses, it doesn’t mean they require no effort whatsoever. They are challenging courses that will require you to spend time studying the content and putting in the effort. After all, you are learning to “bend the computer to your will.” 

Let’s look at what MIT Python courses make up this program.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python Course (Enroll Here)

  • Platform: edX
  • Offered by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Duration: 〜9 weeks (14–16 hours/week)
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

It is the first course within the XSeries Program in Computational Thinking using Python. If you’re a newbie, this course is a must. In this MIT Python course online you’ll learn the basics of Python programming, algorithms, and data structures and understand the most important terms in programming.

This MIT Python online course consists of various video lectures divided into small sections, programming assignments, and standalone quizzes

Even though it’s designed for beginners, students should have at least high school-level algebra skills and keenness for mathematics. If this is the first course in Python for you - keep in mind there is a somewhat steep learning curve, but the rewards are also high! 

Topics covered:

  • A Notion of computation
  • The Python programming language
  • Some simple algorithms
  • Testing and debugging
  • An informal introduction to algorithmic complexity
  • Data structures

To help you with the course content, you may want to consider purchasing a textbook titled Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python, Second Edition, however, it is not a compulsory requirement.

Take single courses

By the way, you don’t have to enroll in the full program if you don’t want to. You can access single MIT Python courses within XSeries too! You can access them for free without a certificate, or purchase them for each course you complete. Gotta love edX, hey!

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Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science Course (Enroll Here)

Mit python course: edx introduction to computational thinking and data science course

  • Platform: edX
  • Offered by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Duration: 〜9 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This is the second MIT Python online course within the XSeries that explores ways in which computation is used to understand real-world phenomena. This course contains more practical tasks, therefore some prior knowledge in Python programming is needed.

Writing code is a lot of what this course is all about. You’ll actually get to write programs to implement the concepts covered in the course. Here are some examples of what you’ll get to do: model the population dynamics of viruses replicating and write a program that will simulate a robot vacuum cleaning a room.

Topics covered:

  • Advanced programming in Python 3
  • Knapsack problem, Graphs, and graph optimization
  • Dynamic programming
  • Plotting with the pylab package
  • Random walks
  • Probability, Distributions
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Curve fitting
  • Statistical fallacies

Already more than 191,500 students have enrolled in this MIT Python course - join them today!

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Machine Learning with Python: from Linear Models to Deep Learning Course (Enroll Here)

Mit python course: edx mit machine learning with python from linear models to deep learning

  • Platform: edX
  • Offered by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Duration: 〜15 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This MIT Python online course centers around machine learning, providing in-depth knowledge on topics from linear models to deep learning and reinforcement learning. Here, you’ll learn how to turn training data into effective automated predictions by understanding core principles and algorithms.

What’s so great about this MIT Python course? It includes various projects in which you get to experiment with algorithms yourself and put your newfound skills into practice. Understanding practical applications of the stuff you learn is a crucial part of progress. Hence, practice makes perfect

What you will learn:

  • Understand principles behind machine learning problems such as classification, regression, clustering, and reinforcement learning.
  • Implement and analyze models such as linear models, kernel machines, neural networks, and graphical models.
  • Choose suitable models for different applications.
  • Implement and organize machine learning projects, from training, validation, parameter tuning, to feature engineering.

Since it’s a more advanced course, there are some prerequisites for those who want to enroll.

MIT Python course: a man typing code into a laptop.

Prerequisites:

  • 6.00.1x or proficiency in Python programming
  • 6.431x or equivalent probability theory course
  • College-level single and multi-variable calculus
  • Vectors and matrices

By the way, this MIT Python course is part of the full MITx MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science. If you’re serious about entering this field, a MicroMasters Program is a good starting point.

The whole program consists of Machine Learning with Python: from Linear Models to Deep Learning Course plus 4 other courses, designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge and master the skills for solving complex data challenges.

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EdX MIT Python Courses: TOP Alternatives

As great as they are, there aren’t too many MIT online Python courses. While I highly recommend enrolling in one of the programs or courses by MIT, I want to give you a few alternative options on Coursera and edX.

Coursera is a similar e-platform to edX because it collaborates with well-known universities and institutions to provide students all around the world courses on a number of topics. One of those is Python programming.

Here are some alternative options:

Crash Course on Python (Enroll Here)

Mit Python Course: coursera crash course on python

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Offered by: Google
  • Duration: 〜32 hours to complete
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

If you’re looking to gain Python skills fast - this crash course packed with valuable information will suit you just right! Organized by Google, it will teach you all the fundamentals of Python programming, how to use the basic Python structures such as strings, lists, and dictionaries, and write short scripts to perform automated actions.

You’ll combine all the bits of your newfound knowledge and create your own objects, and test your skills in the final project: implementing a script that generates a "word cloud" from some text.

No prior knowledge is needed, so you can sign up as soon as the next enrollment opens. Just like with any MIT online Python course, you can receive a certificate upon completion, however, keep in mind that you will have to purchase it.

To gain full access to the course, feel free to use these Coursera coupons - they’re a good way to enjoy the benefits of a full subscription at a lower price.

Topics covered:

  • Introduction
  • Basic Python Syntax
  • Loops
  • Strings, Lists, and Dictionaries
  • Object-Oriented Programming (Optional)
  • Final Project

As you see, even though it’s not a very long course - it’s pretty dense, so you better roll up your sleeves! In a short period of time, you’ll learn quite a lot.

All the video lectures in this course come with subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish. 

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Data Collection and Processing with Python Course (Enroll Here)

Mit Python Course: coursera data collection and processing with python

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Offered by: University of Michigan
  • Duration: 〜16 hours to complete
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

Another Python course on Coursera - designed for those with some prior knowledge who want to dive deeper into Data Science using Python. Organized by the University of Michigan, it will basically teach you how to fetch and process data from services on the Internet.

Topics covered:

  • Nested Data and Nested Iteration
  • Map, Filter, and List Comprehensions
  • Internet APIs

In the final project, you’ll get to construct a “tag recommender” for the Flickr photo-sharing site. It’s quite a challenging course, so it may take a bit longer until you really grasp some information. The good thing is that you can reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Video lectures come with subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Russian, English, Spanish. 

This course is part of the Python 3 Programming Specialization

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Introduction to Python Programming Professional Certificate (Enroll Here)

Mit Python Course: edx professional certificate in introduction to python programming

  • Platform: edX
  • Offered by: Georgia Tech
  • Duration: 〜 5 months (9-10 hours/week)
  • Price: $596
  • Certificate: YES
  • Where to apply? Here

Want to achieve a professional certificate? This is your chance! This program by Georgia Tech on edX is a 100% online program that will transform your understanding of Python programming.

Made up of 4 different courses, this self-paced series will not only teach you the fundamentals of Python but also prepare you for further studies in computer science. All the course material is part of Georgia Tech University’s on-campus curriculum.

Below is the list of courses that make up the Introduction to Python Programming Professional Certificate Program:

While it’s not free, it’s still very much affordable, considering it’s a professional certificate we’re talking about! Plus, you can use these coupons to save on edX’s courses which just means you have no excuses to skip it if you’re interested!

Teaching content within this course includes many video lectures making it easier to focus on one thing at a time, as well as various live programming problems, real-world examples, and quizzes that help you keep track of your own progress.

The way this series is designed is very attractive. You’ll start off by understanding general, fundamental principles of computer science that can be applied to other programming languages other than Python. Once you’re confident with those concepts, you’ll move to working with Python and applying those principles specifically to Python.

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Machine Learning With Python Course (Enroll Here)

Mit Python Course: coursera machine learning with python course

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Offered by: IBM
  • Duration: 〜 22 hours to complete
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This course focuses on Python within the context of machine learning. In a way, it’s similar to the MIT Python Course within the MicroMasters program, however, it’s better suited for less experienced students.

Here you’ll understand the purpose of machine learning and how it is applied in the real world. Then, you’ll study the fundamentals of the main aspects of machine learning: supervised vs unsupervised learning, model evaluation, and algorithms.

You can enroll in this course for free, but do keep in mind that you can also earn an IBM digital badge upon successful completion of the course if you decide to purchase the full access with a certificate!

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to Machine Learning
  • Regression
  • Classification
  • Clustering
  • Recommender Systems
  • Final Project

Organized by IBM, a well-known American multinational technology company, this course explains complex concepts in an easy-to-understand manner that’s easy to follow.

Video material comes with subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish.

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Pros
  • Simplistic design (no unnecessary information)
  • High-quality courses (even the free ones)
  • Variety of features
Main Features
  • Nanodegree programs
  • Suitable for enterprises
  • Paid certificates of completion
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Offers quality content
  • Very transparent with their pricing
Main Features
  • Free certificates of completion
  • Focused on data science skills
  • Flexible learning timetable
Pros
  • Huge variety of courses
  • Easy to navigate
  • No technical issues
Main Features
  • Huge variety of courses
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Free certificates of completion

XSeries, MicroMasters, Professional Certificate: What’s the Difference?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, XSeries is a combination of courses aimed at students who are completely new in a particular field. They’re usually lower-level courses designed to build a solid foundation of knowledge in one subject so that students can confidently move onto more complex subjects.

MicroMasters programs are combined graduate-level courses to build in-depth knowledge in one subject to advance your career, or to prepare for a master’s degree. It’s a less pricey option to gain in-demand skills and show your employer you have the expertise in a particular subject.

Both of these programs offer paid certificates, however, they don’t carry university credit. All of the courses within those programs can be accessed for free individually without certificates

Now, Professional Certificate programs are designed in collaboration with top universities and industry leaders to equip students with in-demand skills so that they’re ready to enter the market once they complete the program.

These types of programs aren’t free, however, they’re still much more affordable than on-campus or in-class programs of a similar kind. They also usually take longer to complete (between 2-6 months) than single courses.

Conclusions

All right, so today we looked at MIT Python courses on edX and alternative options. Many of the courses on this list are suitable for beginners, but some are for more advanced students - so make sure you read the descriptions carefully.

Here are the best MIT Python courses and alternatives you can take right now on some of the best e-learning platforms:

All of these courses are designed by well-known universities or leading players in the industry. They have been taken by thousands of students before who gained valuable skills they can apply in their professional life.

If you’re a complete beginner, check out the XSeries or single courses. If you have some knowledge already, MicroMaster might be a great option. Now you can even achieve a Professional Certificate, which will prepare you to face the challenges of the market head-on! 

This is your chance! With the popularity of online courses growing so fast, who knows how long you’ll be able to access them at such decent prices (many for free)? Go on, choose the course that suits your needs best, and start learning.

You can do it!


Scientific References

1. Medium, Top Python Trends for 2021

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FAQ

What are the best MIT Online Python Courses?

You can find MIT Python courses on the edX platform, however, there aren't many. Here are the best MIT Python courses and similar university-level courses you can take to learn Python:

All of these are university-level courses organized by MIT and other well-known institutions. You can access many of them for free or purchase a certificate at lower prices with these coupons.

Why Learn Python?

Many beginners choose to learn Python first for a few reasons: It's relatively easy to learn, it's very versatile, and it offers great job prospects. Python is one of the top most popular programming languages in the world, used by many big companies and startups, including Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, and many more. It can be used for many different projects, which make it a very versatile language to learn.

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