If knowing how computers work is something you're interested in, you have no doubt taken a liking to learning about computer memory management. It is, after all, how the computer allocates and utilizes pockets or blocks of memory. In doing so, it allows you to open websites, programs, documents and the like with just a click of the mouse or the touch of a button.
You want to expand your knowledge base to land a promotion at work. You don't necessarily need a formal class, but you do need to be able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the process. The options for online classes are virtually limitless. How are you supposed to know what's right and what's not?
That's where we come in. We have taken the time to look into some of the most popular online classes available to help increase your know-how in memory management, or computer architecture as it is also known.
What Is Memory Management?
In order to find the best options for your needs, we first looked into the different facets of the topic. Computer memory operates in these three places:
Hardware: This involves the physical components of the hard drive itself, including caches that hold files, SSDs or solid state drives, and RAM, or random access memory.
Operating System: The computer's operating system or OS directs how memory is allocated to individual programs and changes blocks of storage around based on needs and use at a particular time. It is the go-between for the hardware memory and the applications.
Programs: The applications on the computer need to have enough memory available to run correctly. Programs come with allocation systems that interface with the operating system. They are continually cycling memory caches and combine allocation of memory with the recycling of that.
It's important to understand the three basic facets of the management of computer memory before trying to dive into online classes. While some touch on the hardware aspect, most of the courses we found delve more into the operating system and application sides of things. This is probably because the hardware requires hands-on building and possible rebuilding of the memory board to accommodate memory needs.
How We Chose Our Rankings
In creating this list, we came across many classes that shifted focus between software and application memory. Some courses offered a comprehensive overview of how the computer system runs and the memory components inside the entire system. Some focused just on improving memory through changes in software and tweaks to the operating system. We strive to bring you the best information we can in an informative and well thought-out manner. We chose to focus this compilation on course description, the reputation of the institution or company offering the class, the price, level of knowledge required to complete the class and what previous users thought about the class. Finally, we’ve included a star ranking that takes into account all of these aspects. While this list certainly doesn't cover every online course out there, it does provide a respectable sampling.
The Best 5 Online Courses for Memory Management
At the top of our list, Coursera brings together some of the top universities in the world to present classes and material to people all over the planet. Through its platform, Coursera has offered lessons on a variety of topics. Its reputation is stellar, and those who go through classes may earn certificates all the way up to bachelor's degrees. The structure allows for independent study while still offering interaction with qualified professors and instructors. Classes last four to 10 weeks and are taught through a video system. There is a syllabus with homework assignments included that are to be turned in via email. You can take the classes on a computer or phone.
Course description and overview: Princeton University created the computer architecture course to help students understand and design the fundamental foundation and architecture of a computer.
Level of knowledge required: This class is categorized as advanced, which means you should have a very good understanding of how computers work.
User reviews and feedback: An overwhelming majority of users gave this class five out of five stars. The comments were positive, and many people indicated their surprise that this level of instruction was being offered at no cost. Some of the negative feedback suggested it was difficult to contact anyone for help with the material, and there is no certificate of course completion. This is most likely since it is a free course. The classes in which Coursera offers certificates are typically not free.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT for short, is well known and regarded as one of the best schools in the world. It is the top technology college on the East Coast. We were excited to see that it offers some of its classes online for free through a website called MIT Open Courseware. Through this website you can access some of the college's most popular offerings for free. You don't get college credit, but you do get a whole bunch of Ivy League knowledge at your fingertips.
Course description and overview: In this course, you will learn how to write essential C and C++ programs. The class is four weeks long, and all course materials are included for downloading.
Level of knowledge required: This class is considered advanced. You must know something about computers and programming, or you won't get much past the actual course description.
User reviews and feedback: We could not locate any specific reviews for this class; however, we were able to find plenty of reviews for MIT Open Courseware as a whole. Every review we read was overwhelmingly positive. People love the caliber of classes available and the ease with which they can be accessed. Many said they would refer people to take courses through this platform. We were unable to locate any negative reviews.
Study.com is an online instructional warehouse of sorts, with thousands upon thousands of lessons available for every field of study you can imagine. It offers a monthly membership fee which gives you access to its libraries, although the type of membership you purchase affects how much you can get out of the school. It offers some classes for a certificate of completion, and still others you can earn college credit for taking. Its interface is easy to access and use. It offers a free five-day trial, so you can see if continuing with the class or online program will work for your particular needs.
Course description and overview: Computer Science 105: Introduction to Operating Systems is a great way to start learning about all aspects of computer science. The focus on the operating system is a logical place to begin as the OS is the interface between the hardware and the programs. This class is a self-pacing one and offers 75 lessons lasting an average of eight minutes each. You can earn a certificate after completing this class.
Level of knowledge required: This class is suited for beginners or those who have a basic understanding of some aspects of computers and memory management.
Price: $49.99 and up per month
User reviews and feedback: We could not find any course-specific reviews as that information is not made public without paying for the service. We did, however, see some general reviews about Study.com. Many of these reviews found that experience with the classes offered on the site were beneficial to current and future career aspirations. The variety of courses was ranked the highest with most people enjoying the freedom of being able to access content anywhere. The negative comments were mostly about customer service and their inability to get help when needed. The Better Business Bureau has Study.com ranked at 3.8 out of 4 stars.
Alison is a free online learning website that at the time of writing offered over 1,000 courses. Very similar to Coursera, Alison provides affiliate classes through major universities and colleges such as Columbia, Stanford and Yale. It allows users to go at their own paces and learn all the skills they want. The course experience can then be applied either at an educational institution or with an employer. Some courses offer certificates while others do not. The interface is easy to use, and the classes are self-paced with an average expected timeframe for completion of six weeks.
Course description and overview: In this introductory class you'll learn the basics of memory management and how to dissect and create the models used from computer startup to the use of programs. This class takes two to three hours to complete and offers a certificate for a nominal fee.
Level of knowledge required: The introduction to operating systems course is a prerequisite for enrolling in this memory management course.
User reviews and feedback: While we were unable to find reviews about this specific course, we were able to locate input about Alison. Most reviews are positive, and prior users enjoyed their experience taking classes for free. Many mentioned that they used the knowledge from these classes to earn extra credit at school or to advance their position at work. Some of the negative reviews spoke about the lack of support and the fact that you had to pay for a certificate. Upon further inspection, we found that you have to pay for the certificate only if you want to print it out. If you are satisfied with a PDF version of the certificate, then it too is free.
Udemy is an online business that offers people the opportunity to take courses for a low fee. These courses don't have any college credit associated with them, and most people take them to beef up their job description or skills. You might be able to earn technical school credits in some of their courses, but overall taking Udemy courses is just a way to boost some skills or learn a new one.
Course description and overview: This course gives you an in-depth look at memory management through C++ programming. You can then take what you learn from this class and apply it to your individual needs by creating further programs.
Level of knowledge required: This class is intermediate. It does require you to have an excellent working knowledge of C++ already. We found the course syllabus appeared challenging and therefore recommend this course for more advanced students.
Price: $9.99 at the time of writing, regularly $49.99
User reviews and feedback: There are some excellent reviews of the course. We found that anything negative stemmed from a lack of understanding of the material. This is part of the reason we recommend this course for more advanced students. The positive comments focus on the ease of use and knowledge of the materials. People who recommend this class do so based on the way content is presented.
While the above list is certainly not a comprehensive guide to all that's available on memory management, it is a great place for you to get started. Whether you're furthering your studies or just starting out, there is a class on this list that can help you attain the goals you've set for yourself. One of the best parts about this list is that three of the five classes are free. The opportunities to improve your knowledge in any field are almost infinite in the online world. Whether your budget allows you to pay for it or not, there is something that fits every need. We hope that this list aids in your quest to improve yourself.