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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Functional Programming Principles in Scala by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

7,587 ratings
1,528 reviews

About the Course

Functional programming is becoming increasingly widespread in industry. This trend is driven by the adoption of Scala as the main programming language for many applications. Scala fuses functional and object-oriented programming in a practical package. It interoperates seamlessly with both Java and Javascript. Scala is the implementation language of many important frameworks, including Apache Spark, Kafka, and Akka. It provides the core infrastructure for sites such as Twitter, Tumblr and also Coursera. In this course you will discover the elements of the functional programming style and learn how to apply them usefully in your daily programming tasks. You will also develop a solid foundation for reasoning about functional programs, by touching upon proofs of invariants and the tracing of execution symbolically. The course is hands on; most units introduce short programs that serve as illustrations of important concepts and invite you to play with them, modifying and improving them. The course is complemented by a series programming projects as homework assignments. Recommended background: You should have at least one year programming experience. Proficiency with Java or C# is ideal, but experience with other languages such as C/C++, Python, Javascript or Ruby is also sufficient. You should have some familiarity using the command line....

Top reviews

Sep 13, 2018

It took me much longer than expected to finish the course and sometimes it made me feel stupid and helpless. Diving into functional programming was a mind bending experience, totally worth time spent!

Sep 23, 2019

As expected Martin is awesome in explaining principle of functional programming. I have started reading the book as well to make sure I keep up with the knowledge which I have gained from this course.

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1226 - 1250 of 1,467 Reviews for Functional Programming Principles in Scala

By Alejandro S M

Jul 29, 2016

Great course and very helpful. The following details prevent me from giving it a 5 stars review:

* the explanation of the tools to use during the course is very messy. It may discourage people that are less used to work their way around searching working tools.

* The audio of the videos sometimes loses A LOT of quality.

* For me it seemed like all the assignments were on spot with the balance between theory and standalone thinking. However, I really noticed the jump of time invested for the last assignment. I think the course would highly benefit from having an assignment on Week 5, instead of having that pause in between.

Anyway, the course was greatly structured and interesting. Can't wait to go on with the whole specialization!

By Anirudh J

Sep 17, 2019

I think it's a fine course with some amazing concepts that has brought me to appreciate functional programming. I would not view it as a beginner's course on Scala since I think this course can be better appreciated only after having been introduced to Scala at a beginner's level. I am someone who had to struggle with the programming assignments and spent several hours on them because I do not come from a computer science / traditional programming background. My earlier experience with coding has only been from a statistician's point of view with fluency in Python and R. Material could have been better presented, but I guess, who cares when it's coming from the man who invented the language itself!

By Jared T

Aug 28, 2016

It's a good course,although it starts a little slowly and then really builds up a lot of steam towards the end. I think it should be paced out to be an 8-week course and include shorter, less ambitious assignments. I personally found that the assignments lead to onerous difficulty unless one actively seeks out different aspects of the language other than what was taught in this course (particularly native list methods), and once that has begun, then the last two weeks of it seem like a long-winded slog.

It's nice to be able to learn programming style from Odersky himself. I recommend the text "Functional Programming in Scala" to read and work through during the course.

By Elyasin S

Jul 30, 2016

Great course about functional programming and Scala.

The lectures are well constructed and well explained with some exercises in between. The sound is unfortunately sometimes low, but I used headphones for that.

The assignments are challenging and help you deepen your knowledge effectively. However, the forum is not very lively. You might not find it difficult to do assignments on your own. I suggest to use StackOverflow in that case.

It is not taught how to do debugging, though this course is not meant for beginners I think, and as such probably understanding and debugging a Scala program might be expected to be learned autonomously.

By Choi L

Jan 23, 2017

This course was a big challenge for me. It was such an opportunity to recall the Scala I had studied over the past year and try it out.

This course is never easy. This is an intermediate course, and the topic is Scala because it is difficult to get a running curve. In addition, the intermediate evaluation problems of considerable difficulty are really difficult. Unless you are familiar with functional programming, folding, and reducing, this is a difficult problem to solve. So it would be difficult to give five stars.

I'm very happy to finish all the assignments and complete this course, but I plan to see one more time later.

By Cesar A M

Mar 28, 2018

Good topics coverage, well explained.

I think the only think that this could be improved is regarding the assignments-practices. Practices could be short and quick exercises, for instance, in data structures module a set of quick exercises for list (Given a unsorted list, sort it. Or replace all items starting with specific character and its length grater than the ASCII of the given character), regarding strings, one quick exercise ofr the most of all the functions from String API. This in order to try to think about solution with all the knowledge that we got from the course.

Thanks for the knowledge!!

By Edward G

Sep 26, 2016

Enjoyable and informative. The assignments were workable, though they were not always super-well coordinated with the course material. The in-lecture exercises are of uneven quality. The course material is obviously spliced together from other sources in places.

All this notwithstanding, the lectures are interesting, and the exercises help a lot to cement in the concepts. As an experienced programmer, but a newcomer to functional techniques, this was satisfying. I'm aware that the other courses in this sequence suffer from similar issues to what I outlined, but I'm moving ahead anyway.

By David B

Jun 16, 2017

Very good course. I was new to FP and Scala and didn't have a Java background. I have to agree with previous reviewers who say this course is not for Scala beginners. I had to learn the language with a book alongside taking the course so it ended up being quite time consuming (more than 10 hours/week). The material was well presented and I found the programming exercises challenging, fun, and educational. Only taking off a star because of a few very minor glitches in the video. Highly recommended but again, not for beginner programmers as some of the concepts discussed are quite advanced.

By Kenny V

Jun 27, 2020

Background: Test Analyst with 3 years using Scala for test automation. Despite this, the course itself was still engaging and challenging. I guess in large part the complexity of programming for test automation isn't as complex (or at least hasn't been for my projects so far) as development, so there was a lot of new content for me. Having said that, we are always encouraged to KISS (Keep it stupidly simple) haha!

I'm sure that for those who have had 1 year of programming in development would not find it as difficult as I have. Overall, it has been a good and exciting experience.

By Anas A

Jul 15, 2020

IMHO the difference of functional programming to imperative programming wasn't very clear. On the other hand, this course gives a good grasp on handling and writing Scala code. Martin does a great job in his videos.

NOTE: the programming excerises need some scruitinization. They are a bit misleading here and there. In particular some important tests are missing and it takes big effort to understand what is going wrong sometimes. Tests as such are just a translation of functional specifications into code and should hence be as comprehensive as possible.

By Arpit S

Mar 3, 2020

The course starts slow and might appear to teach trivial concepts at the start but don't be fooled. The instructor's way of building up basic blocks that will key to understanding the concepts later on.

The assignments test a basic understanding of the concepts and are not focused on optimization. There is a lot more theoretical knowledge offered that remains untested by the assignments. It is left to the students to decide how much they want to learn from that.

Overall, this was a good introductory course to both functional programming and Scala.

By Carlton S

Aug 13, 2016

I really enjoyed the assignments, and thought they were a good way to get to know the basics of the language. They were similar to the type of "toy problem" that I like to do myself when learning another language, and were at a reasonable level of difficulty.

I could have done without the proofs; I sort of skipped over these parts (about an hour of lecture, I guess). That's just my preference - I guess I'm not super proofy.

There were very minor parts of the course that need updating, but nothing that required additional effort to get past.

By Ananya P

Aug 23, 2016

Very helpful course for beginners, and congratulations for putting up such a great work together!

But a few suggestions -

1) Most importantly, the assignments were very VERY hard for starters in functional programming and Scala. It would be much more enjoyable to many more if it's made a little easier.

2) The content was great, but I believe a little more (both in breadth and depth) was needed to be covered. Moreover the categorization can be rethought and a little re-organized.

Nevertheless, a great course! Will surely recommend this one.

By Mashfir M

May 23, 2020

This course is very challenging for those uninitiated in data structures and algorithms. The 1+ year programming experience prerequisite is a little loose but is technically correct. As someone with little formal CS background, this course was quite challenging due to the requirement of learning data structures and algorithms alongside functional programming. Ultimately though, this course definitely expanded my thinking in terms of programming and the dozens of hours spent have made me feel more comfortable working in FP paradigms.

By Karina C

Dec 31, 2017

Some parts of the homework was really difficult because not enough examples to explain what was happening-- additionally, because there are so many different ways to execute something, it would be nice to have more guided suggestions on what path to take (i.e. your solution might have an awful complexity, but there is no guidance really on how to improve it...). Odersky's videos have some points that are not very efficient, would be nice to clarify that in the video that this is not an optimal solution to be using in practice.

By Mitchell S

Apr 3, 2018

I learned a lot about scala, but some of it was a little too abstract for my learning purposes. Defining our own set of boolean operators is a great way to show how the scala language works but in the end can be a frustrating exercise, especially for people who are new to functional programming. Once the course got into the last 2 projects I started to have a lot of fun and really learn about the Scala language, the projects became more practical and "codey" instead of being very abstract and "mathy".

By Ulrika W

Nov 13, 2016

Lots of practical examples. Good links to more info on the web. Interesting mix of programming theory and practical learning of Scala.

It would have been interesting with some applications of functional programming that were less mathematical. Can it be as useful in more data-oriented, administrative systems?

The estimated time needed to complete each week was very low. I had to spend at least two or three times as much time as estimated even though I am accustomed to Java and all the tools used.

By Pierrick H C

Aug 10, 2017

It was an interesting class, Had a lot of fun doing it. Some of the projects were similar to some I did at Engineering school, but it is always good to come back to DataStructure basics. Besides, it was very interesting to switch to Full recursive mode for almost all the course (coming from OOP, it is a change).

I was initially looking for a spark certification, I was a bit disappointed not to work a bit on it. Even though it is always useful to know scala for Spark purposes

By Juan P G E

Jan 19, 2019

The videos are generally good. The interaction with the user is good because it makes you think about the solution of the quiz problems. The assignments are pretty hard compared to the content of the course; I have spent many hours trying to solve them, much more than the 3 hours mentioned. Many of the videos look more focused on mathematical stuff than in programming; also, most of the recursive solutions would be a problem in a company´s software in my opinion.

By Ratskevich N

Oct 19, 2016

Nice course, hometasks are about medium level difficulty (in hackerrank terms). Problems are already half-completed, so you're just filling the gaps following the design. That really shows the power of scala in things like pattern matching (suddenly, it's everywhere!) and functional programming approach (lots of small functions with pretty narrow scopes). So althouth you can program just as if it was java, you're kinda pushed to do scala.

Thanks for the course.

By Artem R

Dec 22, 2020

In general course is good. It gives the basics of functional programming paradigm.

However most of the tasks are incredibly difficult, It takes a lot of time to look for external resources to solve the assignment. So a deep mathematical background is required for the course.

If you wish to get the concepts of functional programming this is a right course. In case you wish to learn how to code in Scala, then it is better to read a book by Martin Odersky.

By Steven T

Jul 23, 2016

The last assignment was definitely a step-up from the other weekly assignments which I found very challenging, this coming from a novice in FP. The lectures were well presented and clearly demonstrated functional techniques as well as the theories behind them. Some may find the lectures a bit tad too academic but thankfully most of such lectures can be skipped without too much detriment to completing the assignment. All in all an excellent course.

By Luigi C

Jan 2, 2019

Great course, smooth and progressive introduction to the features of the language and the functional approach in general. I would recommend the optional parts as well.

What I missed though was a more top-down approach in the decomposition of a problem. Instead the functions are already defined and one is usually asked to fill the gaps. In other words I think it would add value to share the thought process leading to the need of certain functions.

By Tom P

Jul 3, 2017

This class is a reasonably good introduction to Scala, and I feel like I learned a lot, but it wasn't enough to make me feel comfortable writing Scala code. While I feel like I understood the material in the lectures well, every homework assignment (the last couple, especially) made me aware how little I really understood about the language and how to use it. I feel that there must be a better way of introducing the language, to avoid this.

By Alexander K

Sep 27, 2016

Great course. I wish the prereqs would specify graphs, inductive proofs and other prerequsites from the math domain that were required to understand the examples.

Switching to FP and recursive thinking is hard enough as it is - having to combine it with graph algorithms and other concepts, not necessarily familiar for OOP background programmers increases the effort unnecessarily. That being said, good thing the course offered a preview week.