Udacity CS101 & Stanford University CS101 Online Courses Compared


Seven weeks ago I finished Udacity’s CS101 online course and this week I finished Stanford University’s CS101 online course with Coursera. While they may have the same name, these courses couldn’t be more different both in their content and in their level of difficulty.

Udacity CS101 involved learning enough code to make a simple search engine. There were times I found myself tearing my hair out trying to complete the homework questions, which always took longer than anticipated. But I can honestly say that I have never learned so much in 7 weeks and that the level of difficulty just made it all the more rewarding.

Stanford’s CS101 course didn’t cover anywhere near as much coding as Udacity CS101, but instead covered more general topics like networking, digitisation and security. I was able to do the homework quizzes while listening to the lectures at 1.25x speed and so it required much less time each week to complete. Despite it not being as challenging as Udacity CS101, I finished the course with a much better general knowledge about computer science than when I started. I would say that this course complements Udacity CS101 rather than competes with it.

Here is a quick summary of the similarities and differences:

TABLE: Udacity & Stanford University CS101 courses compared
Udacity CS101 Stanford CS101
Length 7 weeks 6 weeks
Computer Language Used Python Javascript
Final Exam Yes No
Level of Difficulty Challenging Easy
Time needed to complete each week 4-5 hours approx. 1 hour
Prerequisites None (although absolute beginners to coding will find it a struggle) None
Course Content Focus Coding a search engine in Python Computer Science General Knowledge
Do they provides Certificates of Accomplishment? Yes Yes


This is the certificate I earned from Udacity. I’m very proud of this!
Udacity CS101 Certificate of Accomplishment

And this is the Standford CS101 Statement of Accomplishment.