Thursday, 24 May 2012


As a software engineer not let us say in the first flush of youth I've always been conscious of the need to keep current. My engineering degree, over 20 years ago now, equipped me with many of the skills for a lifetime in the industry but sadly the knowledge  was mostly out of date within 5 years.

My bookshelves at home and work are laden down with textbooks that I've dipped into or studied over the years, I've run and participated in numerous reading groups and I maintain a voracious appetite for academic papers but I've never really felt satisfied that I was really learning the way I did at university.

Recently I have started taking the courses at Sebastian Thrun's  Udacity. I'm currently part way through their applied cryptography course. I thought of myself as pretty well informed on cryptography and security having read numerous textbooks over the years so I was not expecting to learn so much. I have however been surprised and delighted by the quality of the material which is absolutely up to date together with quizzes, forums, homework and ultimately exams.  All free. And yes, I'm learning, and it feels great!

Udacity was started with the stated goal of demonstrating education as Sebastian explains in this interview with Charle Rose.  They currently have a small set of computer science courses but are planning to expand this during 2012.

A superb piece of work Mr Thrun, and all those associated with Udacity. Thank you and well done.