Online courses are increasing in popularity, and it's creating an easy way to take engineering lessons. It's helping future engineers get access to learning various programming languages and develop new skills. It's also helping seasoned engineers sharpen their skills and keep current with new technologies and best practices.
But some online engineering courses stand out from the rest. Here are the online engineering courses worth taking in 2019 and some important factors to consider.
Why learning engineering lessons online is important
Learning engineering courses online also helps to bridge learning gaps and democratizes education in engineering fields, such as software engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial engineering. That's because online courses provide students with access to content, learning groups, and instructors who they may not have access to where they live. In fact, studies show that learners from developing countries represented 39 percent of the 25 million learners who enrolled in massive open online courses (MOOCs) between 2012 and 2015.
Moreover, online courses offer an affordable way to develop your engineering skills. Taking courses in person may mean that you have to spend money on hardcover books, gas to get to and from school and more in tuition and fees to pay for your learning expenses. However, you may be able to reduce these costs--and possibly even avoid them altogether--by taking your engineering courses online. You'll also save time commuting to class and may even enhance your productivity by focusing on the courses or content you need to learn online versus in person. It's also important to take advantage of online courses to stand out among other candidates for engineering roles.
Can You Earn a Degree by Learning Engineering Lessons Online?
Some of the top engineering schools in the country also provide engineering lessons online that you can take while completing your engineering degree. For instance, several Ivy League schools and some of the best engineering colleges in the United States offer online engineering courses, including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).
Some schools outshine others by offering the best engineering degree programs. For instance, North Carolina State University (NC State University) is one of the top universities that offer an engineering degree online, according to U.S. World News & Report. What makes its program one of the best is that it offers 16 graduate degrees and certificates that students can earn from the comfort of their computer desk at home. Some of the programs NC State University offers for future engineers who want to complete their degrees online include masters degree programs in computer engineering, industrial engineering, and electrical engineering. Other schools that topped U.S. World News & Report's list of best online graduate engineering programs include Columbia University (Fu Foundation), University of California--Los Angeles (Samueli), University of Southern California (Viterbi), Pennsylvania State University-World Campus and Purdue University--West Lafayette.
What are the Best Online Engineering Courses to Take?
Some of the best online engineering courses are available from massive open online courses (MOOCs) like Coursera, edX, and Udacity that you can audit or take for free. You may even use some of these courses towards a certificate or even apply some of the courses to your engineering degree program. You can also get engineering lessons from platforms, such as General Assembly and LinkedIn Learning. There are hundreds of engineering courses you can take online from places like Udacity, Coursera, and edX, including machine learning courses and Rice University's Electricity & Magnetism course. Consider taking these online engineering courses in 2019:
- CS50's Introduction to Computer Science. This entry-level course from Harvard University is delivered via edX and is ideal for the budding software engineer. It teaches you effective problem-solving skills and how to think by using algorithms. You'll learn about the fundamentals of computer science, including topics covering software engineering, algorithms, and resource management. You'll also learn some of top engineering programming languages, such as Python and SQL as well as fundamental coding skills in HTML and CSS.
- Robotics: Aerial Robotics. If you're interested in becoming a mechanical engineer working in the drone industry or further developing your skills in aerial robotics, then this University of Pennsylvania course via Coursera may be an ideal course to take. This course introduces students to various fundamental mechanical engineering topics specific to aerial robotics, including quadrotor aerial robot design and flight mechanics. Students also dive into dynamic model development and gain an understanding of real-world applications of aerial robots.
- The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges. Aspiring civil engineers can take this Princeton University course via edX that teaches you essential bridge engineering principles. Students learn how to use the perspectives of form, economy, and efficiency to analyze bridges. This engineering course also highlights the art of structural engineering.
- Introduction to Engineering Mechanics. Future industrial engineers can learn about the fundamentals of engineering mechanics when they take this Georgia Tech course via Coursera. It does require basic physics and math skills, but you'll learn how to solve particle equilibrium problems.
- Intro to Artificial Intelligence. This free course from Udacity teaches you machine learning basics. The course is based on a course from Stanford University and also covers topics on natural language processing and image processing. Although you should have an understanding of linear algebra and probability to prepare you for the concepts that you'll learn in this course, the course is an ideal for aspiring machine learning engineers interested in working in AI-related fields.
This list of courses is just a fraction of some of the best courses you can take online to learn engineering skills. But if you want to take your engineering skills to the next level, then it's worth investing your time and money into online learning. By doing so, you can help improve your skills and become an attractive candidate for your next engineering role.