Top 17 Most Popular Software Development Courses on Coursera

top bestselling software development courses on coursera

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

With a plethora of best selling courses and professional instructors, Coursera courses on software development have gained a lot of popularity over the past fews years…

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

Currently the Coursera platform boasts of over 30 million students enrolled overall with each learner registering for the Coursera courses that interest them.

In the field of software development however, there has been a huge spike in interest among students in Coursera courses on software development especially on Blockchain technologies, Cryptocurrencies, Deep Learning, AI, Machine Learning among others.

2018 will an incredible year indeed for any developer interested in legging up their skills through Coursera courses as there are over 2,000+ courses and specializations to choose from.

But being bombarded with a list of 2000+ online courses on  Coursera to choose from is not the best way to acquire a new skill.

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

If you take any of these best selling Coursera courses on software development today, you’ll be able to build skills that will help you achieve any goal, from securing a promotion, starting a new software project to simply bringing new perspective to your current software development practices.

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

1. Python Programming Essentials

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 Python course 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 will help you begin to think like a software developer and to understand how to go about writing Python programs.

Created by: Rice University

2. IBM Blockchain Foundation for Developers

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, components, 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 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.

Created by: IBM

3. Introduction to Programming with MATLAB

This 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.

The design of the language makes it possible to write a powerful program in a few lines. The problems may be relatively complex, while the MATLAB programs that solve them are relatively simple: relative, that is, to the equivalent program written in a general-purpose language, such as C++ or Java.

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 in MATLAB which you’ll obtain after taking this development course will be an indispensable skill in today’s job market.

Created by: Vanderbilt University

4. Python Data Structures

In this online 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 Python programming  course 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.

Created by: University of Michigan

5. Introduction to the Internet of Things and Embedded Systems

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 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 course you’ll also cover key components of networking to ensure that you understand how to connect your device to the Internet.

Created by: University of California, Irvine

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

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 online course you’ve been waiting for.

In this 6-week course 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;
  • apply the framework to process texts and solve sample business cases;
  • learn about Spark, the next-generation computational framework;
  • build a strong understanding of Spark basic concepts;
  • develop skills to apply these tools to creating solutions in finance, social networks, telecommunications and many other fields.

In fact, throughout this 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.

Created by: Yandex

7. Object Oriented Programming in Java

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

This intermediate 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.

At the end of this software development course you will feel empowered to create a Java program that’s more advanced than you have created in the past and that is personally interesting to you.

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!

Created by: University of California, San Diego

8. Introduction to MongoDB

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

This Coursera 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.

Created by: MongoDB Inc.

9. Version Control with Git

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 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 course you will “know just enough Git to be dangerous”.

Created by: Atlassian

10. Design Patterns

In this 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 course, 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.

Created by: University of Alberta

11. The R Programming Environment

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

This online 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 course will give you the knowledge of R needed to make useful contributions in those settings.

In this 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 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.

Created by: Johns Hopkins University

12. Introduction to Software Product Management

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

It also provides an overview of the 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 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

Created by: University of Alberta

13. Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals for AWS Professionals

This 6-hour course, created by Google Cloud, 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 course is for you.

Created by: Google Cloud

14. Developing Android Apps with App Inventor

This 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 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.

Created by: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

15. Multiplatform Mobile App Development with Web Technologies: Ionic and Cordova

This software 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 course, 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 course, you need prior knowledge of Bootstrap 4 and the AngularJS framework.

Created by: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

16. Big Data Applications: Machine Learning at Scale

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

During this course you will, among other things:

  • 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.

Created by: Yandex

17. Biology Meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners

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

Then look no further…

This 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 Coursera courses available for enthusiastic learners excited in taking their software careers to the next level…

…however, this list of most popular best selling Coursera development courses is a great place to start.

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

Have you taken any Coursera courses 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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