Professional Certificate Program in Agile Software Development from edX
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 09 November 2017

The first of two courses that make up a Professional Certificate Program on the edX platform is now underway. In it students will learn fundamental software engineering skills using Ruby on Rails, JavaScript and Agile methodology to further their careers as software engineers.

The principle of edX Professional Certificate Programs is that students follow:

series of courses designed by industry leaders and top universities to build and enhance critical professional skills needed to succeed in today's most in-demand fields.

Now offering over 30 programs extending into the realms of business management and finance as well as those that will be of interest to developers, the very first was the Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science, which we first covered when it was still a pilot program. 

Microsoft now offers several other Professional certificates including: 

  • Introduction to Computer Science
  • Introduction to Code Solutions
  • Introduction to Code Objects and Algorithms
  • Introduction to Professional Software Development 

It also has an 11-course Professional Program on Cloud Admin with Azure and a 7-course one on DevOps. Perhaps most surprising is the 14-course Microsoft Professional Program in Front-End Web Development.

This can be seen as is an alternative to the W3C Front-End Web Developer Professional Certificate, which we explored when it was first offered in May, as a mix of the existing W3C HTML and CSS courses plus a new JavaScript course.

Other Professional Certificates have evolved from established edX courses. They include the University of Pennsylvania Computer Science Essential for Software Development and Introduction to Java Programming from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Agile Development Using Ruby on Rails from the University of California, Berkeley is a recent addition to the catalog, but the two courses in the program, CS 169.1x and CS 169.2x have a long pedigree and in earlier incarnations, when they had the title Sofware as a Service, they have already been studied by thousands of edX students as well as by on-campus students. The origins of the course at Berkley are explained in the original promo video for CS 169.1x:



As part of the Professional Certificate, each of the courses lasts 6 weeks with 12-13 hours per week effort required. They are still presented by Armando Fox, David Patterson and Sam Joseph and while there is a slight shift of emphasis to reflect the new title, the content consists of the original videos from the course taught at Berkeley in 2012 augmented by some new videos. While it isn't essential, the textbook Engineering Software as a Service by Armando Fox and David Patterson is recommended and there is a Kindle edition on Amazon. rorsq

The official start date of Agile Development Using Ruby on Rails - The Basics (CS 169.1x) was October 27 but it has only just reached Week 1. This is because it also provides a 2-week preliminary refresher which gives students a chance to setup the software necessary for the course and get up to speed with Ruby by following the Codecademy Ruby Track. In the remaining six weeks the students will:


  • Learn the Ruby programming language and Ruby on Rails MVC Framework
  • Develop Software as a Service (SaaS) using Ruby on Rails and Agile Development
  • Understand and apply fundamental programming techniques to the design, development, testing, and public cloud deployment of an SaaS application
  • How modern programming language features can improve productivity and code maintainability

Coding projects and quizzes are part of the course, which is at intermediate level, and students are strongly encouraged to participate in Pair Programming on homework assignments. 

No date has yet been announced for the second course Agile Development Using Ruby on Rails - Advanced (CS 169.2x). There is an archived version available but if you want the Professional Certificate you'll need to complete CS169.1x first and wait for its more advanced counterpart to follow.

Certificates for each of these two courses cost $99. You can, however, join in to the complete course experience, including assignments, for free by choosing the Audit option. On the other hand if you are a current or prospective student it is worth noting that both courses are eligible for academic credit through Charter Oak State College which may be accepted by other educational establishments. Each of them is worth 2 credit hours at a cost of $100 USD per credit hour for passing the course with a score of 65% or better. The same scheme applies to other courses on edX, see Popular Python Course Updated, for example.




More Information

 edX Professional Certificate Programs

Agile Development Using Ruby on Rails 


Related Articles

Microsoft Launches Professional Degree Program With Data Science Pilot

W3C Front-End Web Developer Professional Certification on edX

Top CS MOOCs By the Numbers

edX Expands and Announces New Courses (2012)

Computer Science MOOC Round Up August (2013)

Popular Python Course Updated 


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