Kiloreux is a Software Engineer who has always had a hunger for knowledge and learning new things, particularly in software development. From his humble beginnings in Algeria, he MOOC-ed his way to becoming a full stack web developer in two years allowing him to improve the situation of his family. He is now enrolled in a Master’s degree in Robotics.
Kiloreux has requested to use his pseudonym for personal reasons.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself – your background and what you do?
A: Well I am Kiloreux, 21 years old, software developer, with a bachelor degree in electronics and now pursuing my Masters degree in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Now I am working as a Full stack freelance developer developing on the rails stack.
Q: You told me you got access to your first computer when you were 16. Can you tell us about that experience – how it made you feel, how you learnt to use it?
A: Well since I never had access to a computer before, it felt magical and really cool, to see such a system (Windows 7 at that time) interactions and having files like that just seemed magical to me and I knew I’m in love with it, but I could never have access to information or know how to manage it and having a somewhat weak English level at that time, I kept using it for normal tasks, nothing special.
Q: You then got internet access for the first time in 2012 – how did you make use of it?
A: That was a life changing point, since I always dreamed about having an internet line and when I finally got it, I started looking at tutorials online about programming when I suddenly saw an article about top university programs to teach their courses online.
Q: How did you first get to know about MOOCs?
A: Accidentally like I said and it was Edx my first website, I felt in love with it, just to explore few minutes after the other websites (googling the "edx vs ") and seeing the alternatives, I felt in love with the idea.
Q: What was the 1st MOOC you studied and what effect did it have on you?
A: It was CS50 Harvard's Introduction to Computer Science, and I can't tell how much it made me love CS more and more especially with David Mallan’s exceptional talent to deliver information in an awesome way, and simplify concepts to an incredible level. It had the greatest effect of all MOOCs I took and frankly speaking I couldn't find any other MOOC like it so far, and it gave me the love of low level concepts.
Q: How many MOOCs have you completed and what subject areas did you study?
A: More than I can remember. I took some Moocs just for curiosity and others to push my career, but I’m sure it’s more than 40 MOOCs using only Udacity, Coursera and Edx, mainly focusing on software engineering and algorithms courses.
Q: What goal were you trying to achieve by studying these MOOCs? Did you achieve it?
A: I just want to have a better life and grant it to my children, and not seeing them growing up like I grew up, fill my curiosity and hunger (something that will never happen), still working on it, since the software industry in my country is as dead as it could be.
Q: Have MOOCs helped you in other areas of your life, such as with your Masters, for example?
A: Certainly, starting this year I found myself way ahead of all students and sometimes even my teachers, and even I am still learning from college but the quality is much more different. I learn from one MOOC generally more than I get from one year of studies here, since education quality in my country is really low.
Q: Are you still taking MOOCs now? If, so in what areas and why?
A: Sure (not sure if I will ever stop taking them), now I am focusing on some AI topics like Machine Learning and Deep learning since it's really a way to shape the future and, who knows, I might be able to give some contribution to the field if I do enough.
Q: Do you think MOOCs have improved since you first started studying them? If so, in what way?
A: Certainly the Quality of materials offered has improved significantly.
Q: Do you choose to gain certificates with MOOCs? Why?
A: Not really interested, I was never interested as for me it's the knowledge that I get and the ability to be able to learn one more topic that is more interesting to me. Besides that, credentials here are not really valuable, our hiring systems is broken.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wishing to develop their career using MOOCs?
A: The most valuable advice that I wish someone told me when I started is to focus, choose a path and focus on it, and make sure to do one thing at a time, one MOOC at a time, and never stop at the lecture , always look for more information and different approaches.
Q: How do MOOCs compare to traditional education in your opinion?
A: MOOCs are really helping us develop study at our own time and our own conditions, but without motivation I greatly doubt that it could achieve the same level as traditional education.
Q: If you had to design a MOOC, what would it be?
A: Not sure about that, but I could certainly consider making an advanced C++ course.
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