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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Unix Workbench by Johns Hopkins University

614 ratings
182 reviews

About the Course

Unix forms a foundation that is often very helpful for accomplishing other goals you might have for you and your computer, whether that goal is running a business, writing a book, curing disease, or creating the next great app. The means to these goals are sometimes carried out by writing software. Software can’t be mined out of the ground, nor can software seeds be planted in spring to harvest by autumn. Software isn’t produced in factories on an assembly line. Software is a hand-made, often bespoke good. If a software developer is an artisan, then Unix is their workbench. Unix provides an essential and simple set of tools in a distraction-free environment. Even if you’re not a software developer learning Unix can open you up to new methods of thinking and novel ways to scale your ideas. This course is intended for folks who are new to programming and new to Unix-like operating systems like macOS and Linux distributions like Ubuntu. Most of the technologies discussed in this course will be accessed via a command line interface. Command line interfaces can seem alien at first, so this course attempts to draw parallels between using the command line and actions that you would normally take while using your mouse and keyboard. You’ll also learn how to write little pieces of software in a programming language called Bash, which allows you to connect together the tools we’ll discuss. My hope is that by the end of this course you be able to use different Unix tools as if they’re interconnecting Lego bricks....

Top reviews


Jan 29, 2018

A wonderful course! Answered so many questions I had and gave me a solid background in Git, Bash, makefiles, and working from the cloud. I will definitely be using these skills in my job search!


Sep 11, 2017

It is suitable for Unix/Linux beginners who are new to shell. It introduces popular code sharing and merging tool GitHub, which most programmers would find very useful in software development.

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1 - 25 of 177 Reviews for The Unix Workbench

By Daniel H

Feb 04, 2019

Generally mediocre introduction to a few bits and pieces of unix. Useful, but has some misconceptions (e.g., what a regular expression is) and will teach you some unsafe habits (e.g., using $* instead of $@ to expand to the positional parameters starting from 1). It would be nice if there was some discussion about what shell scripts were actually used for out in the world. The cloud computing section seems tacked on and wholly unhelpful. Don't make your students give their credit card numbers to some external business unless you're going to do something of at least some lasting value. Even then, you probably should find another way to do this. Set something up on a coursera or JHU server if all you're going to do is literally have them copy and paste (and not learn) 6 lines of code.

By Peter B

Nov 25, 2018

Lazy, Sloppy, Unfocused

Lets see

-Video content is minimal. This is not really a video course. I've never experienced this on Coursera before, the 4 videos that do exist aren't useful in any way.

-The is some introductory, and unnecessary, introduction to both cloud computing and ssh / scp commands. I'm not really sure why it's there, when all of the assignments focus on both git and bash. So anything you did learn in these sections (likely nothing) isn't reinforced. It should be bonus material.

-Many things about bash are truly unusual compared to other programming languages like python/r/php/etc. When these differences crop up (such as how bash handles (), {}, [], [[ ]], spaces, AND, ||, functional returns, etc) are still somewhat confusing to me after completing the entire course. So maybe I'm a dummy, but I'm guessing MOST people completing this course will only be slightly better off doing bash programming vs. doing nothing at all.

-Quizzes were often trivially easy. What will a bash command output? Well, I guess you're not *supposed* to just run the command in bash to see the output...

I could go on, but honestly, this is a terrible course. I actually need to use bash at work, having a certificate is nice I guess, but my time may have been better served with trial and error on my actual projects.

By David H

Nov 27, 2018

Good stuff.

By Haseeb Q

Dec 15, 2018

Excellent introduction to the command line and github. Great as it goes past superificial introductions and teaches programming and manipulation of the command line.

By Héctor E G

Dec 19, 2018

Very good exercises and very good explanations. Thanks a lot!

By Juan M R

Jan 04, 2019

This is a grate course

By Mitchell E

Jan 24, 2019

The course literature was fairly easy to understand and was structured in a logical way to build up skills. The videos introducing the lecture were a little bit off-putting, I think Sean should try to read from the side of the camera less as otherwise you can't concentrate on what he is saying. The exercises were challenging.

By atul k s

Mar 22, 2019

excellent topic for beginer

By Dinesh K P

Mar 24, 2019

Very nice course for linux beginner.

By Franco F P

Mar 26, 2019

Well presented short course easy read content

By Adam E

Mar 31, 2019

I've been searching for good introductory courses into Unix for over a year now - and finally, I found something with the right amount of challenge and pace that could be achieved within a month's time. Thank you to Sean Kross and the team that developed this course! I'll be paying attention to this space and I now feel I have a better foundational understanding of the ethos behind Unix workflows...

By Ajay S

Jan 28, 2019

Really a Great course for learning unix . Learn a lot in the unix enviroment . Thanks Johns Hopkins University for this course , student like me who can not afford and pay for education in the top reputed university . Thanks coursera for providing such a platform for the needy students. thanks for the financial aid for the course.


By Sergio A C V

Feb 09, 2019

I really liked the course

By joaodavidcoelholuis

Feb 01, 2019

This course is well structured, useful in learning experience, work enverionment experience, and personally who ever start this course are going to really enjoy script programming.

By Nimit S

Apr 07, 2019

Best course for basic unix knowledge

By justina

Apr 13, 2019

Great introduction to the shell world to start swimming on your own!

By Velashini V

Mar 15, 2019

A very helpful course :)

By fabian87

Mar 07, 2019

es un curso hecho bien, en el cual llegas a aprender con grande facilidad.

Gracias a todos los profesores que han hecho este hermoso trabajo


Mar 19, 2019

superb course

By Miguel M G

Jan 05, 2019

This is a very good course. The contents are very organised and understandable. It would have been great some more videos and a little less text; the course is mostly based on reading materials. However, the quality of the text is quite good so I could not complaint.

By Yagya D S

Jan 21, 2019

learnt a lot about Unix, GitHub. great and helpful content.

By Daniel K

Mar 09, 2019

Great course!

step by step learning with practical examples

By Wiktor W

Feb 13, 2019

Very informative and thought provoking course.

By Kacy C

Mar 10, 2019

It was great because it allowed me to go at my own pace rather than watching and listening to someone talk


Mar 11, 2019

This is my first course taken on Coursera. This platform is absolutely tremendous in it's way. Had a great experience and want to continue my learning here.

' The Unix Workbench ' , simply an excellent course! Bash programming, Git and Github sections are really useful. Learnt many new unix concepts and got to know about Cloud computing basics.

Happy and satisfied by taking this course. Very Thanks to the Instructors.