Top 17 Best Coursera Courses for Software Development in 2018

Coursera is a top destination for software developers seeking to get ahead in their software development careers by learning new skills through the best Coursera courses & specilizations online.

With a plethora of best selling Coursera courses and specilaizations from top universities, top Coursera courses for software development have gained a lot of popularity over the past fews years…

…seeing the most popular Coursera courses on the platform register hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic learners.

“It's better to wait for a productive programmer to become available than it is to wait for the first available programmer to become productive.” – Steve McConnell

But being bombarded with a list of 2000+ online Coursera software development courses to choose from can be frustrating and hinder you from starting to learn.

I have therefore put together a list of the most popular Coursera courses and specializations for software development based on the student rating and forum activity I noted for the courses.

Take a few minutes today to set yourself up for a great 2018 by enrolling in one of the best Coursera courses and specializations and get a head start for your software developer career for the new year.

In this best Coursera courses review you'll find the most popular Coursera courses and specializations for Blockchain technologies, Cryptocurrencies, Deep Learning, AI, Machine Learning among others.

1. Python Programming Essentials by Rice University

Python Programming Essentials Coursera Course by Rice University

In this Coursera course you will be introduced to the wonderful world of Python programming!

You’ll learn about the essential elements of programming and how to construct basic Python programs. In so doing, you will cover expressions, variables, functions, logic, and conditionals, which are foundational concepts in computer programming and software development in general.

In the subsequent modules of this Coursera Python course, which is first course in the Introduction to Scripting in Python Specialization, you will also learn how to use Python modules, which enable you to benefit from the vast array of functionality that is already a part of the Python programming language.

These concepts and skills from this software development course will help you begin to think like a software developer and to understand how to go about writing Python programs.

2. IBM Blockchain Foundation for Developers by IBM

IBM Blockchain Foundation for Developers Best Coursera Courses by IBM

Are you a software developer interested in learning about Blockchain technologies?

If so then this is the best Coursera course for you in setting a strong foundation on the IBM Blockchain.

Several experienced IBM blockchain developer advocates will lead you through a series of videos that describe high-level concepts and strategies on building blockchain business networks. You’ll also get hands-on experience modeling and building blockchain networks as well as create your first blockchain application.

When you complete this Coursera Blockchain course, you should understand what a blockchain business network is, how to build and model a simple blockchain solution, and the role of the developer in creating blockchain applications.

3. Introduction to Programming with MATLAB by Vanderbilt University

Introduction to Programming with MATLAB Best Coursera Courses by Vanderbilt University

This top Coursera software development course teaches computer programming to those with little to no previous programming experience.

You will learn the programming system and language called MATLAB because it is easy to learn, is versatile and very useful for engineers and other tehnology professionals.

Just so you know, MATLAB is a special-purpose language that is an excellent choice for writing moderate-size programs that solve problems involving the manipulation of numbers.

As a result, MATLAB is being used in a wide variety of domains from the natural sciences, through all disciplines of engineering, to finance, and beyond, and it is heavily used in industry.

Hence the solid background you'll gain from this top Coursera MATLAB course will be an indispensable skill in today’s job market.

4. Python Data Structures by University of Michigan

Python Data Structures Best Coursera Courses by University of Michigan

In this popular Coursera software development course you will learn the core data structures of the Python programming language.

You will move past the basics of procedural programming and explore how you can use the Python built-in data structures such as lists, dictionaries, and tuples to perform increasingly complex data analysis.

This Coursera Python programming  course, which is course 2 in the Python for Everybody Specialization, will cover Chapters 6-10 of the textbook “Python for Everybody” and is based on Python 3, which is the future of the Python language.

5. Introduction to the Internet of Things and Embedded Systems by University of California, Irvine

Introduction to the Internet of Things and Embedded Systems Best Coursera Courses by University of California, Irvine

The explosive growth of the “Internet of Things” is changing our world and the rapid drop in price for typical IoT components is allowing people to innovate new designs and products at home.

In this first class in the Introduction to Programming the Internet of Things (IOT) Specialization you will learn:

  • The importance of IoT in the society
  • The current components of typical IoT devices and trends for the future
  • IoT design considerations, constraints and interfacing between the physical world and your device
  • How to make design trade-offs between hardware and software.

Through this best selling Coursera IoT course you’ll also cover key components of networking to ensure that you understand how to connect your device to the Internet.

6. Big Data Essentials: HDFS, MapReduce and Spark RDD by Yandex

Big Data Essentials - HDFS, MapReduce and Spark RDD Best Coursera Courses by Yandex

Have you ever heard about such technologies as HDFS, MapReduce, Spark?

Or you always wanted to learn these new tools but missed concise starting material?

Well, this is the best Coursera Data Science course you’ve been waiting for.

In this 6-week course, which is part of the Big Data for Data Engineers Specialization, you will:

  • learn some basic technologies of the modern Big Data landscape, namely: HDFS, MapReduce and Spark;
  • be guided through systems internals and their applications;
  • learn about distributed file systems, why they exist and what function they serve;
  • grasp the MapReduce framework, a workhorse for many modern Big Data applications;

In fact, throughout this popular Coursera Big Data course, your learning experience will be as close to real life as possible with the chance to evaluate your practical assignments on a real cluster which will ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable learning.

7. Object Oriented Programming in Java by University of California, San Diego

Object Oriented Programming in Java Best Coursera Courses by University of California, San Diego

Object Oriented Programming in Java is one of the most popular Coursera courses on Java programming that uses data visualization.

This intermediate Coursera Java course will help you if you want to become a professional software developer or to improve your programming skills to implement that cool personal project that you’ve been thinking about.

I’ll recommend that you take this course if you have previous experience in software development or a background in computer science as it's course 3 in the Object Oriented Programming in Java Specialization.

By learning the fundamentals of Object Oriented Programming, you will know how to leverage the power of existing Java libraries, how to build graphical user interfaces, and how to use some core algorithms for searching and sorting data.

And the most interesting part about this Coursera course is that it embraces project-based learning, so you’ll dive right into the project immediately!

8. Introduction to MongoDB by MongoDB Inc.

Introduction to MongoDB Best Coursera Courses by MongoDB Inc

In this MongoDB course you will get a strong introduction into MongoDB as well as learn how to leverage its power for data analytics.

This Coursera MongoDB course, created by MongoDB Inc itself, will enable you master the fundamentals of MongoDB, including MongoDB’s Document data model, importing data into a cluster, working with the CRUD API and Aggregation Framework.

These topics will be taught through a demo application which will give you a great first encounter of how simple and practical it can be to build applications with MongoDB.

9. Version Control with Git by Atlassian

Version Control with Git Best Coursera Courses by Atlassian

Git is an open source software originally created by Linus Torvalds that manages team files for large and small projects hence allowing the team to continuously improve its product.

It is used by most technology companies, and is a basic requirement for many modern programming and IT jobs.

The Version Control with Git course provides you with a solid, hands-on foundation for understanding the Git version control system.

In this top Coursera course, you will not learn everything there is to know about Git, but you will build a strong conceptual understanding of the technology, and afterward will be able to confidently dig deeper on any topic that interests you.

So after this Git course by Atlassian you will “know just enough Git to be dangerous”.

10. Design Patterns by University of Alberta

Design Patterns Best Coursera Courses by University of Alberta

In this best selling Coursera software development course you will extend object-oriented analysis and design by incorporating design patterns to create interactive applications.

Through a survey of established design patterns, you will gain a foundation for more complex software applications.

At the end of this design patterns course, which is course 3 in the Software Design and Architecture Specialization, you will identify problematic software designs by referencing a catalog of code smells.

You will then be challenged in the Capstone Project to redesign an existing Java-based Android application to implement a combination of design patterns…

…finally, you will also critique a given Java codebase for code smells.

11. The R Programming Environment by Johns Hopkins University

The R Programming Environment Best Coursera Courses by Johns Hopkins University

R is a popular programming language that is mostly used for data analysis.

This top Coursera Data Science course provides a rigorous introduction to the R programming language, with a particular focus on using R for software development in a data science setting.

Whether you are part of a data science team or working individually within a community of developers, this top Coursera course from the Mastering Software Development in R Specialization, will give you the knowledge of R needed to make useful contributions in those settings.

In this best selling R course you will cover basic R concepts and language fundamentals, key concepts like tidy data and related “tidyverse” tools, processing and manipulation of complex and large datasets, handling textual data, and basic data science tasks.

Upon completing this Coursera software development course, you will have fluency at the R console and will be able to create tidy datasets from a wide range of possible data sources.

12. Introduction to Software Product Management by University of Alberta

Introduction to Software Product Management Best Coursera Courses by University of Alberta

This popular Coursera software development course highlights the importance and role of software product management.

It also provides an overview of the Software Product Management Specialization, as well as its goals, structure, and expectations. The course explains the value of process, requirements, planning, and monitoring in producing better software.

Upon successful completion of this software product management course, you will be able to:

  • Relate software product management to better software products
  • Recognize the role of a software product manager
  • Reflect on how Agile principles will improve your own projects

13. Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals for AWS Professionals by Google Cloud

Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals for AWS Professionals Best Coursera Courses by Google Cloud

This 6-hour course, created by Google Cloud, is the most popular Coursera course that introduces AWS professionals to the core capabilities of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in the four technology pillars: networking, computing, storage, and database.

This is currenly the best Coursera course on cloud computing for AWS professionals…

It is designed for AWS Solution Architects and SysOps Administrators familiar with AWS features and setup and want to gain experience configuring GCP products immediately.

With presentations, demos, and hands-on labs, you will get details of similarities, differences, and initial how-tos quickly. If you prefer to learn fast by doing, then this Google Cloud course is for you.

14. Developing Android Apps with App Inventor by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Developing Android Apps with App Inventor Best Coursera Courses by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

This Coursera mobile app development course will give you hands-on experience in developing interesting Android applications.

You do not need any previous programming experience to take this course as this app development course is suitable for anyone with any level of computing experience.

MIT App Inventor will be used in the course. It is a blocks-based programming tool that allows everyone, even novices, to start programming and build fully functional apps for Android devices.

I’ll however encourage you to use your own Android device for hands-on testing and exploitation through this mobile app development course.

15. Multiplatform Mobile App Development with Web Technologies: Ionic and Cordova by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Multiplatform Mobile App Development with Web Technologies - Ionic and Cordova Best Coursera Courses by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

This best selling Coursera mobile app development course focuses on developing multiplatform mobile applications using the Web technologies (HTML5, CSS and Javascript).

In particular you’ll make use of the Cordova hybrid application framework to develop and target multiple mobile platforms with a single codebase.

This is possible thanks to the Ionic framework (Ionic Ver 3.x), one of the most popular mobile application frameworks, that is built with mobile-optimized HTML5 and CSS based components and Angular.

Throughout this top mobile app development course, which is course 5 in the Full Stack Web and Multiplatform Mobile App Development Specialization, you will also learn about UI development with Ionic and then using Cordova’s modules to access the native mobile platform’s capabilities from Javascript.

In order to benefit the most from this popular Coursera course by Hong Kong University, you need prior knowledge of Bootstrap 4 and the AngularJS framework.

Top Coursera Courses Review Summary

16. Big Data Applications: Machine Learning at Scale by Yandex

Big Data Applications - Machine Learning at Scale Best Coursera Courses by Yandex

Machine learning is a trending technology that is quickly transforming the world around us.

In order to be a successful big data scientist you need to know what kinds of problems can be solved with machine learning, and how they can be solved.

Don’t know where to start?

Then you are at the right place.

This is the best Coursera Machine Learning course that will give you the strong foundation you need in Machine Learning that is created by Yandex itself.

During this data science course from the Big Data for Data Engineers Specialization you will, among other things how to:

  • Identify practical problems which can be solved with machine learning
  • Build, tune and apply linear models with Spark MLLib
  • Understand methods of text processing
  • Fit decision trees and boost them with ensemble learning
  • Construct your own recommender system.

17. Biology Meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners by University of California, San Diego

Biology Meets Programming - Bioinformatics for Beginners Best Coursera Courses by University of California, San Diego

Are you interested in learning how to program (in Python) within a scientific setting?

Then look no further…

This best selling software development course on Coursera will cover algorithms for solving various biological problems along with a handful of programming challenges helping you implement these algorithms in Python.

Each of the four weeks in this course will consist of two required components.

To begin with, an interactive textbook which provides Python programming challenges that arise from real biological problems. Each page in the interactive textbook also has its own discussion forum, where you can interact with other learners.

Then, each week culminates in a summary quiz which helps you master the skills learnt in the entire week.


In conclusion, this was just a sneak peak into the hundreds of best selling Coursera software development courses available for enthusiastic learners excited in taking their software careers to the next level…

…however, this list of the most popular Coursera courses for software development, data science and mobile app development is a great place to start.

It is also important to note that with new courses being added almost weekly, Coursera’s top course offerings are set to expand beyond their traditional specialty in software development-related disciplines.

Have you taken any of the top Coursera data science courses from this Coursera course review before?

What was your experience?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author Geoffrey Barnes

Geoffrey is an experienced software developer and open source evangelist. When not coding he writes and talks about current technology trends, small business tips and developer productivity hacks. He is no coffee addict.

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