edX Introduction to OpenStack Course Review

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I’ve been trying to get more involved in DevOps related work as I’ve moved further down the tech stack in data engineering. I try to learn new tech during free time and look for the best courses that fit my requirements of being concise, informative and as hands on as possible. edX has the added advantage of being free and I’ve taken enough courses on their platform to feel like they are generally excellent. The Intro to OpenStack course is no exception to this.

Lectures

My main barometer for a good lecture in a MOOC is how long they are relative to how much I pay attention. A good lecturer should be able to keep my attention for a fair amount of time (up to 30 minutes). None of the lectures in this series were 30 minutes long, but for some of the longer lectures (~20 minutes) I paid attention and got a lot out of it. I think this is the strongest part of this course and most people can benefit from just watching the lectures and doing nothing else.

Quizes

MOOCs usually struggle from poor quiz structures, either being too easy or requiring too much work to get at the answer. I found this class to be reasonable in both regards. Most of the time I was able to recall the facts from the lecture and when I wasn’t able to the explanations for why the answer was wrong was highlighted in the UI. Given that this class is mostly just an introduction, there isn’t really anything more than regurgitating facts in these quizzes.

Exams

Just like the quizzes the exams are pretty much just reciting facts. This is a good way to get introduced to this material because anything more in depth requires provisioning machines and what not.

What’s Next

I’m using OpenStack for a few side projects and I hope to take a certification exam during the course of this year. I feel like I learned enough from the course to download OpenStack and start to work. The OpenStack ecosystem is massive and I don’t feel prepared to do everything, but I feel prepared to do a lot. If you have any interest in OpenStack I would recommend watching these lectures in conjunction with trying to spin up your own OpenStack machines.