The 8 Best Coursera Courses

These are the very best Coursera courses from the e-learning giant's massive catalog of free courses.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Today, we are delighted to review the top-rated courses of Coursera. You’re likely already familiar with Coursera if you stumbled upon this article, but let us give you a quick rundown.

Coursera is an online learning platform founded in 2012. It was the brainchild of two computer science professors from Stanford University, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller.

In many ways, 2012 was a groundbreaking year in the history of E-learning. In addition to Coursera, 2012 saw the birth of two other massively successful online learning platforms. Namely edX and Udacity. All three aforementioned platforms are also heavily featured on E-Student.

So, why choose Coursera?

We covered the topic in greater detail in our Coursera review. In short, though, the numbers speak for themselves. In a Coursera study, it was found that a whopping 87% of participants of Coursera courses reported tangible career benefits. This is a massive number. A clear proof that their online courses are valuable and worth pursuing.

Another major benefit of Coursera is that they mainly work with universities, colleges, and massive organizations.

What does this mean for you?

Well, for starters, you have a guarantee that you will not be wasting your time and money on snake-oil peddlers. The content is carefully selected to be in accordance with the real life needs of a specific skill or field of study. You’re getting university-level classes for a fraction of the price of a traditional degree, and often without any cost at all.

So, now that we’ve covered WHY you should study at Coursera, let’s get into WHAT you should study.

These are the best Coursera courses you can take online:

The Science of Well-Being (Coursera x Yale University)

A medium-length class for maximizing well-being and motivation.

Online learning platforms are flooded by different well-being courses. Some of them good, some of them bad. This course, however, stands out in the crowd. It was even praised by Business Insider, one of the leading financial websites of the USA. So, what makes this top-rated Coursera course so special?

Well, for starters, it is developed by Yale University. Needless to say, the materials and exercises presented are fully backed by up-to-date science. So, this is not a course for aspiring “flower children” who turn to eastern mysticism as a quick fix for their problems.
Instead, what you have here is a well-researched masterclass into the psychology behind happiness. Sounds boring? Trust me, it is not.

Professor Laurie Santos is fully deserving of her title as a top instructor of Coursera. She makes human psychology fascinating and accessible. And, most importantly, her exercises and lectures have tangible real-life benefits. Taking this class WILL boost both your motivation and happiness levels.

Allow me to shed some light on the specifics of this online class.

It is a medium-length course taking approximately 19 hours to complete in full. During the four modules, you will quite literally learn how to rewire your brain. Don’t worry, no electroshock therapies needed, it’s not the sixties anymore. Instead, this course will rewire your brain by re-defining your concept of human happiness. By doing this, you will be a better and more efficient version of yourself.

To sum it up, this is the best well-being course currently available online. It is scientifically backed, led by an engaging instructor, and has a proven track record of improving the lives of online learners.

Machine Learning (Coursera x Stanford University)

A groundbreaking machine learning course from the founder of Coursera.

“Machine Learning” by Coursera and Stanford University is a legendary machine learning online course. It was one of the courses that led to the massive rise of Coursera. And, to this day, “Machine Learning” continues to be one of the most popular courses on the platform. Before we get started, allow me to share a highly positive Class Central overview of this great online course.

Without further ado, let’s investigate what has made this online class such a superstar. And, we will start by going through some statistics.

Indeed is currently the #1 job search engine in the world. And, according to their reports, machine learning engineer was THE best job of 2019. Why? Because of massively growing demand and lucrative salaries. The average salary of $146,085 and a growth rate of 344 percent. These numbers are concrete proof that machine learning is quite possibly the most lucrative skill to learn in 2020.

And, “Machine Learning” by Coursera is a great way to learn this skill of the future. In this class, you will be taught by Andrew Ng, one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence. In this class, Ng has bought machine learning “to the people”.
He has tailored a class that can be understood both by total beginners and people with tech-backgrounds. Yes, this class effectively debunks the myth that machine learning can only be learned by people with heavy computer science backgrounds.

This class is well-built, engaging, and practical. Plus, it is constantly updated according to the latest developments in the field. Simply put, for studying machine learning techniques online, this Coursera class is the best resource available. Oh, and did I mention that graduates gain an ML certificate from Stanford?

Python for Everybody (Coursera x University of Michigan)

An intense yet beginner-friendly course for mastering Python.

We continue with the “Python for Everybody Specialization” from Coursera. No, not the snake! E-Student has yet to expand into zoology. We are talking about the programming language here.

I have to remark that this is a rather smooth transition from the previous paragraph. Why? Well, Python just happens to be one of the preferred languages for teaching and learning ML.

Let’s examine what makes this the best online course for learning Python.

Well, for one, despite being extremely in-depth, it is still very suitable for beginners. Even people with no prior experiences in programming can become efficient in Python by the end of the course. I’m gonna warn you, though. Be sure to remove the pink glasses before enrolling. Despite the course being very engaging and at times even humorous, it is still extremely in-depth.

While learning to program from scratch is not necessarily rocket science, it still requires considerable commitment from you. Both energy and time-wise. The specialization takes a total of eight months to complete. During which you will be taken ón a journey from the simplest of mathematics to completing your capstone project.

The benefits of learning Python are immense. It is one of the preferred languages for data science, deep learning, and machine learning. These are just a few examples of the extremely in-demand skills that overlap with Python knowledge.

IBM Data Science (Coursera x IBM)

A beginner-friendly data science class from one of the world-leaders on the subject.

We continue with a highly rated data science class from Coursera. There is a shortage of qualified data scientists in the market today. Meaning that this is an extremely valuable career path to take.

According to Glassdoor, data scientists make an average of $116,100 per year. And, the demand for data scientists only continues to grow. Without a doubt, one of the definitive jobs of the digital era.
The many benefits of this career are also nicely summed up by Santanu Dutta on Quora. Dutta is a forer data analyst with considerable experience. So, she is well-versed in the realities of this lucrative career.

So, how does one kickstart a career as a data scientist? Well, this class by Coursera and IBM is a fantastic option.

Yes, with a total duration of ten months, it is a time-consuming course. However, as you know, all good things come to those who wait.

And, the class is lengthy for a clear reason. It covers nearly all aspects of the job of a data scientist. You will start by learning exactly what data science is. You will also learn how data scientists think, operate, and which methods they use to excel at their job.

After the theoretical parts, expect to get your hands dirty. Through practice, you will develop the skills that will get you ready for a job as an entry-level data scientist. Not only will you walk away from this course with the skillset. You will also be armed with a portfolio of your first projects. And, as a cherry on top, a digital badge is included. A digital badge from IBM, one of the world-leaders in data science.

Let’s summarize. For learning data science, this is one of the best online courses available. It is meticulously constructed and very practical. And, most importantly, developed according to real life demands of the job.

Google IT Support (Coursera x Google)

A Google delivered class for kickstarting a career in IT.

“Google IT Support” is a solid entry to the well-paying world of IT. This Coursera online course is delivered by Google.
Google is…well, do I really have to explain the position and status of Google?

This online IT support class is certainly ambitious. As Motasem Hamdan explained in his positive review, this course aims to provide an entry to IT, all without any prerequisites. Is it doable? Yes, but only if you’re willing to do your part and go all in.

The online class itself encourages learning at your own pace. For example, Hamdan from Medium.com was able to finish it in less than a month. But, consider that he has a solid background in tech. So, for maximum results, I would advise against blowing through the material. Make sure to have a full grasp on a certain module before moving to the next one. Remember that all the exercises and lessons are structured to prepare you for a job in the real world. No detail is too small or unimportant. So, take your time and absorb everything.

To further excite our readers, let’s continue another round of statistics from Indeed.com. Of course, you can take a look at the numbers for yourself. But, for the lazybones out there, I’ll just share my favorite bit right here. According to users of Indeed.com, 65% of job seekers credited this course with helping their career progression.

No prerequisites needed. A shareable certificate from Google. Extremely professional yet beginner-friendly content. What more could you really ask from an online course?

Deep Learning (Coursera x deeplearning.ai)

A cutting-edge five-month class on deep learning.

Ah yes, deep learning. A field of work as interesting as it is lucrative. I know some of you get cold sweats just thinking about the complicated algorithms and programming languages. Especially if you have no prior experiences in computer science. Don’t fret!
The extreme difficulty of deep learning is a bit of a misconception.

Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly not as easy as 2+2.
But, if you have a deep interest in deep learning (see what I did there?), it is entirely possible to get started on your own. Even without prior knowledge of computer science.

However, to learn efficiently, an easy-to-follow course with a top-of-the-line teacher is a must. Does “Coursera Deep Learning” meet the criteria? Absolutely!

The tutor of this course, Andrew Ng, does not need a long introduction. He is the AI-genius who also led the “Coursera Machine Learning” class. A true master of his craft, Andrew has made it his mission to educate people in the truly innovative field of deep learning.

This is a course that values getting in-depth in both theory and practice. It is structured to first help you understand the “modern superpower” that is deep learning. As you move forward, the lessons and exercises get highly detailed and practical. Luckily, the tutors are simply fantastic. You will not be bored, we promise.

By the end of this five-month course, you will have built your very own deep learning project. And, you will do so by using the most industry-relevant content available. What a fantastic finishing line to look forward to.

A certificate in a field such as deep learning is great for career advancement. It shows that you are forward-thinking, ambitious, and have a knack for numbers and details. This is simply a great course for everyone interested in THE most cutting-edge advancements in AI.

Data Science Specialization (Coursera x John Hopkins University)

An in-depth data science course from Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to “IBM Data Science”, Coursera offers another fantastic data science class.

“Coursera Data Science Specialization” is delivered by leading professors from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins regularly ranks among the top 15 universities in the world. So, you are in good hands.

When compared to “IBM Data Science”, this course goes even more in-depth on the subject. And, it is also a bit lengthier, taking approximately 11 months to finish.

But, let me remind you once again, all good things come to those who wait.

Despite being listed as “beginner-friendly”, I would hesitate to suggest this online class to total beginners.
The course has a prerequisite of having beginner-level experience in Python. And, a familiarity with regression is also strongly recommended. However, if you tick both these boxes, it is a wonderful course to take.

Here, you will be taught the methods of thought and practical skills used by professional data scientists.
R Programming. Getting and Cleaning Data. Exploratory Data Analysis. These are just a few examples of engaging modules that aspiring data scientists will be undertaking. Plus, all the modules contain fascinating case studies on the subjects.

Will this class be good preparation for a career in data science? You bet.
The course puts a strong focus on practical work. So, if you put in the effort, you will finish the course with a professional portfolio. And, of course, a certificate. A certificate from a top-ranking university.

In a nutshell, this course is as in-depth as online data science courses go. So, do not expect an easy ride. At times, this course will challenge and even frustrate you. But, if you do manage to “swim to the shore”, you will be equipped with some of the most in-demand skills of the digital world.

Learning How to Learn (Coursera x McMaster University & University of California San Diego)

A very practical 15-hour course for efficient learning.

We round this list up with one of the most popular courses on…learning.

Yes, efficient learning is a skill on its own. And, it is an invaluable one. Think of this course as a foundation of sorts. A foundation that will guarantee that you WILL get the most out of all other online courses you choose to complete.

Don’t get me wrong, the learning techniques in this course are not only applicable to online courses. For example, you can use the techniques taught in this class to learn a new language or pick up a new hobby.

The online course itself is medium-length, taking about 15 hours in total to finish. And, it is suitable for nearly everyone. Whether you are a burned out engineering professor or a C average high school student, this class will immensely benefit your life. So, how does one learn how to learn?

In a nutshell, this class teaches you about the neurobiological processes behind learning. And, it does so in “layman terms.”

Trust me, getting to know how your brain works is key to “rewiring” it.

Let’s get personal.
Like so many of us, I have been a massive procrastinator throughout my life.
This course has a whole module dedicated to memory and procrastination. And, the module was a massive help for me. I have read about 10 self-help books on procrastination. Nothing.
The teachings of Dr. Oakley and Dr. Sejnowski finally helped me “understand” procrastination. And, also get much better at handling it.

I still have my “let’s do it tomorrow” days. But, they occur on my terms. Plus, my overall productivity has soared. So, yes, the techniques work. This is the most simple and yet highest praise I can give this class.

This class is a wonderful choice to end the list of best Coursera courses. It is quite literally an ode to learning. A supremely engaging class that is beneficial for people of all backgrounds and ages.

FAQs

It depends. Nearly all Coursera courses are free to audit. But, to gain access to graded assignments and certificates of completion, you’ll usually have to pay. BUT, some of the very best Coursera courses are 100% free. Yes, even classes including certifications and graded assignments.

Depends on the subject. Coursera courses can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a whole year to finish. Some of the content-heavy subjects are impossible to teach without going in-depth. For example, try learning data science or artificial intelligence in hours. Won’t happen. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Yes, degrees from online courses are getting more and more acceptable among employers. Self-learning is an invaluable skill in the digital age. And, having an online course certificate (or five) will be impressive regardless of your area of expertise.