We all have been using Microsoft Windows for zillions of years but how many of you really know what goes inside a computer? Microsoft Windows is the most widely used operating software in the world but only a fraction of us understand how it functions.
An operating system is the most crucial software on a computer as it functions as an interface between the software and the hardware of a computer. Without it, a computer is as good as a junk box. It manages a myriad of tasks such as file and processor management, memory management, error detection, system security, and handling of all the peripheral devices like printers, disk drives, etc. Some of the popular operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Those of you working in the field of computer science would agree that a basic understanding of the operating system goes a long way while dealing with day-to-day challenges in the field of technology. Whether you are a software developer, a hardware engineer, a computer system analyst, a computer network architect, in IT support specialist, or a web developer, a sound knowledge of an operating system and the hardware are crucial for troubleshooting problems in each role.
For computer science graduates and those aspiring to make a career in computer science, learning how an operating system (OS) works would be one of the first steps if you dream of getting placed in a top tech company. In fact, even the coders today need to have a basic understanding of what goes behind the scene to avoid jumping back and forth in the OS source code to deal with the bottlenecks in their coding.
Whether you want to learn the fundamentals of an operating system or simply wish to brush up your knowledge, learning through operating system courses is the best way to go. Today the internet is flooded with operating system courses that you can take up at your convenience. There are both free and paid operating system courses online to choose from.
If you are too lazy to dig deep and get lost in the options for online OS courses, you have come to the right place as we have done half of the hard labor for you. You can thank us later!
TrumpLearning along with 11 computer science experts has curated a list of the best operating system courses online. Read up on what each of these OS courses online has in store for you to make a wise choice.
6 Best Operating System Courses Online:
- Operating Systems and You: Becoming a Power User by Google[Coursera]
- Computer Hardware and Operating Systems by the NYU [edX]
- Free - Introduction to Operating Systems By Georgia Tech [Udacity]
- Operating Systems from Scratch: Part 1 [Udemy]
- Understand Operating System Concepts [Udemy]
- Introduction to Operating Systems Revised [Alison]
The first in our list of the online OS courses is the Coursera operating systems course offered by the tech giant Google. This course is a part of the Google IT support professional certificate. The certificate falls under the Grow with Google initiative that aims at helping the current and future IT professionals to have access to the best of Google’s training and tools for their professional and business growth.
It is a beginners’ level Coursera operating systems course that will take you through the main components of an operating system. It will teach you how to configure the hardware in a computer, how to manage software, and how to make them function in sync.
This Coursera operating systems course, through a series of video lectures, readings and quizzes aims to teach the fundamentals of an operating system. The different topics have been divided into six modules spread over six weeks.
Mentioned below are the topics taught under each module of this course:
i. Navigating the System
Under this module, you will learn about different files and directories in Windows and Linux and how they function. You will also learn text manipulation of these files and directories in Windows Graphic User Interface (GUI), Command Line Interface (CLI), and Linux Shell.
ii. Users and Permissions
This module will come handy to those working or wanting to work as IT support. This module of the Coursera operating systems course will teach you how to configure multiple users and groups in an office set-up. You will also learn how to add, remove, or modify users and to grant permissions to different users to access files and folders in both Windows and Linux.
iii. Package and Software Management
You will learn how to install packages and software, and how to manage different devices and their drivers. By the end of this module, you will know about different file compression methods as well as how to create, update, and remove software in Windows and Linux.
Under this module, you will learn about the different filesystems for different operating systems and the importance of virtual memory. You will get hands-on training in disk partitioning and formatting, mounting and unmounting filesystems, reading disk usage, and repairing filesystems.
v. Process Management
In the fifth module of this Coursera operating systems course, you will learn how to start and terminate a process in both Windows and Linux. Designed especially for IT support specialists, this module will teach you the use of system tools to gauge the process statuses of different machines in a network and how to troubleshoot for any glitches.
vi. Operating Systems in practice
Under this last module of the operating system courses, you will learn some of the common challenges of the operating system that you will face as IT support. You will also learn how to remotely access computers and troubleshoot them. The other tools taught in this module are the virtualization tool to manage and remove virtual instances, using logs for system monitoring, and the techniques for OS deployment.
This Coursera operating systems course takes approx. 34 hours to complete and you get a certificate in the end. It earns its place at the top amongst the best online operating systems course for a reason. The course has a rating of 4.7 and 89, 350 students have already enrolled. This is one of the subscription-based online OS courses with flexible deadlines and you can also apply for financial aid.
Review by JA
Great course, lots of very challenging and useful information. You'll learn about Linux and some of the inner workings of Windows, plus lots of tools and programs that are really useful. Great course!
The next best in line with the operating system courses is the course offered by New York University on edX. This is an introductory course for beginners who may or may not have some idea about operating systems. This is one of the self-paced online OS courses that aim to teach the fundamentals even to those with no IT background.
Some of the core concepts covered in this course are:
- Fundamentals of system hardware
- Introduction to operating system concepts
- Operating system processes and threads
- Thread concurrencies and deadlocks
- Memory management
The online OS courses on edX can be completed in six weeks by investing 3-5 hours of effort per week. On completing five weeks into this course you will be able to define what is a computer, what is an operating system, and what are its components. You will have an understanding of how memory and threads work in an operating system. You will also know how data is represented in an operating system and how the computer executes instructions to use and modify this data for problem-solving. In the last week, you will be required to undertake an exam in order to qualify for a certificate.
The instructors of this course are Daniel Katz-Braunschweig, Senior Professor, and Aspen Olmsted, Adjunct Professor at New York University Tandon School of Engineering, making it one of the excellent operating system courses online taught by the experts. The course currently has 7225 students on board. While the course is free, you will have to pay a fee in order to get a verified certificate.
Udacity offers some of the best technology courses and nanodegree programs online. If you are pursuing a degree in computer science and need an introduction to operating system Udacity is the platform to opt for. This intermediate course is one of the best online operating systems course as it is a free course offered by The Georgia Institute of Technology, also referred to as Georgia Tech. This is a self-paced course that takes approx. two months to complete.
By taking up such online OS courses you will go through the historic evolution of different operating systems and understand the current design and implementation decisions in the modern operating systems. You will get hands-on experience in experimenting and evaluating different aspects of different operating systems. The introduction to operating system Udacity course has been divided into four modules or sections. Each section of the online OS courses comprises a series of content-rich video lectures and quizzes to learn the core concepts and to test your understanding on the same.
The four sections and the topics covered under each are as follows:
- Course overview
- What is an operating system
- Types of operating systems
- Process and Thread Management
- Processes management
- Thread and concurrency
- Case Study: PThreads
- Implementation considerations
- Performance considerations
- Resource Management and Communication
- Memory management
- Inter-process communication
- Synchronization constructs
- I/O management
- Distributed Systems
- Remote services
- Distributed file systems
- Distributed shared memory
- Datacenter technologies
Since this is an intermediate course the pre-requisites for the introduction to operating system Udacity course are:
- Undergraduate with an understanding of the basic hardware and software aspects of computer systems organization. In case you have not taken up the course, you should at least be familiar with these basics.
- Prior programming experience in C is recommended for the OS courses online as it is required for the practical component of this course.
The instructors of this course are Ada Gavrilovska and Jarrod Parkes. This free course does not provide a certificate upon completion. If you wish to get one after undertaking operating system courses online, you can enroll yourself in the related nanodegree program – Flying Cars and Autonomous Flight Engineer.
At number four in our list of online OS courses is the introductory level course offered by Udemy. This is one of the best online operating systems course as is covers the fundamentals in great detail. The course listed here is the first part of a four operating system courses series that aims to change your perspective towards computer science.
Whether you wish to get good grades, crack exams such as GATE, PGEE, BITs, etc., crack an interview with the biggies of the tech industry, or simply want to brush up your basics to develop an app, this is one of the operating system courses online that caters to all.
The 8.5 hours-long course comprises of 66 lectures divided into nine sections. Keep scrolling to know the concepts covered in the first part of the operating system courses series.
- Introduction to operating systems
- Introduction to computer systems
- How different hardware work together
- Need for operating systems
- How input and output devices work together
- Operating systems concepts
- Program vs. process
- Degree of multiprogramming
- Types of operating systems
- Process control block
- CPU scheduling algorithms
- Types of scheduler and scheduling algorithms
- Shortest Job First (SJF) scheduling algorithm
- Shortest Remaining Time First Scheduling (SRTF) algorithm
- First Come First Served (FCFS) scheduling algorithm
- Comparison of SJF, SRTF and FCFS – advantages and disadvantages
- Convoy effect
- Practical implementation
- CPU scheduling algorithms
- Longest Job First (LJF) scheduling algorithm
- Longest Remaining Time First (LRTF) scheduling algorithm
- Round Robin (RR) Scheduling algorithm
- Highest Response Ratio Next (HRRN) scheduling algorithm
- Basics of binary numbers
- Memory allocation techniques
- Contiguous vs. non-contiguous allocation
- Fixed and variable partitioning
- Memory allocation algorithms
The course has been created and mentored by Vignesh Sekar, a software engineer, and a computer science instructor. Tagged as a bestseller, this operating system courses online series has a rating of 4.5 with 6986 students already enrolled. You can purchase this course with a one-time fee and it also comes with a 30-days money-back guarantee. You will be awarded a certificate of completion.
Review by Andrew Baker
It was an excellent course and is taught very thoroughly. He does repeat himself, but for me, this is a good thing. My only problem with the course was that the auto-generated transcripts were inaccurate. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but the instructors accent is very thick so I definitely had to give up on understanding a few words here and there. Overall a great course though!
If Udemy is your trusted source for online studies, this is another option for operating system courses online. While the previous one was for candidates who wish to enroll for comprehensive operating system courses, this one if for students and professionals who have a shorter attention span or are always on the run.
The beauty of this course is that in just 1.5 hours, this course explains the core concepts of an operating system. This beginner-level course is suitable for anyone who wishes to understand how the different operating systems work. It is also for software engineers who are already well-versed with the operating systems but wish to brush up their knowledge.
Just to give you a fair idea, we have listed below the topics covered under this course.
- Operating Systems Basics
- Monolithic and microkernel
- Processes, Threads, and Scheduling
- Processes life cycle
- Threads and scheduler
- Process in UNIX
- Process in Windows
- Scheduling Algorithms
- Process Synchronization
- Atomic operation
- Mutex, critical section
- Event, Signal
- Detection and recovery
- Prevention and avoidance
This course has been designed by Luke’s Programming school, one of the bestseller instructors on Udemy that offers courses in Development, E-commerce, and Design. This course has a rating of 3.3 and has 5145 students already enrolled. This course too can be purchased with a one-time fee and comes with a money-back guarantee. You will also receive a certificate upon completion and life-time access to the course content.
Review by Markus Heilemann
Great course, very clear and interesting!
The last but not the least in our list of operating system courses online is this free course – introduction to operating systems available on Alison.com. While the other courses primarily revolve around the operating systems and related subjects, this course also teaches about the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the types of CPUs a computer can have. The course teaches what are the hardware address and the types of addresses. It also teaches isolation and why it is needed to run applications.
This is one of the intermediate operating system courses that will require you to have a basic understanding of C programming, computer organization, and architecture. After completing this course you can seek a career as a computer operator or a network/systems administrator.
The course is divided into three modules covering ten topics in the duration of 2-3 hours. Following is the break-up of the modules of this course:
- Operating Systems and Hardware
- Introduction to operating systems and their types
- Resource management
- Hardware abstraction
- Hardware addresses
- Programs to Processes and CPU
- Processes and system calls
- OS structure and its modules
- Sharing the CPU
- Multiprogramming and multitasking
- Course Assessment
This course has a rating of 3.3 amongst the top operating system courses online and 3533 students have already undertaken the course. It is offered by NPTEL (National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning). You are eligible for a certificate after scoring 80% or above in the last module which is a course assessment. Alison offers three types of certificates – digital certificate, physical certificate, or a framed physical certificate. The same can be purchased from the Alison shop.
Whether or not you have studied computer science or work in an IT firm, almost everyone today has to work with computers. Irrespective of the nature of your job, having a basic understanding of how a computer functions, its parts, and the operating system goes a long way in giving you an edge over others. Enrolling for operating system courses will also ensure personal value-addition.
With this thought, we conclude our list of operating system courses online and hope that we were able to explain the best operating system courses in detail. No matter which course you go ahead with, the courses have been carefully selected by the experts and each course will leave you with a concrete understanding of operating systems. Keep learning and keep visiting TrumpLearning for more exciting and offbeat online courses.