Skip to main content

Learn about the command line with online courses and programs

The command line is a powerful and versatile tool that empowers users to interact with their computers and systems more effectively. Open up a world of possibilities for efficiency and automation with edX.

What is the command line?

The command line, also known as the command-line interface (CLI) or terminal, is a text-based interface for interacting with a computer's operating system. Instead of using graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with buttons and windows, users type text commands to perform various tasks, from navigating the file system to running software.

The command line provides a direct way to communicate with a computer's operating system. Users enter commands and arguments as text, and the computer responds with text-based output. Understanding how to use the CLI can help users perform tasks more efficiently and serves as a gateway to scripting and automation.

Command line | Introduction Image Description

Command line course curriculum

In a course focused on the command line, learners could explore a range of topics and skills related to interacting with a computer's operating system through text-based commands. Some examples of key areas and concepts you might explore in such a course include:

  • Basic file navigation

  • Text manipulation tools and techniques

  • Shell scripting

  • Remote access and SSH

  • Controlling job execution

Learning about how to use the command line can supplement your knowledge of programming and computer science. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore jobs that use the command line

Proficiency in the command line is a skill that can be applied across different roles and industries. Some careers and fields where knowledge of the CLI could be useful include:

  • System administrator: Manages and maintains computer systems and networks. A system administrator might use the CLI for tasks such as server configuration, user management, and troubleshooting.

  • DevOps engineer: Automates software development and IT operations processes. A DevOps engineer could use the CLI to automate deployments, manage infrastructure, and ensure continuous integration and delivery.

  • Software developer: Uses the CLI for version control (e.g., Git), building and compiling code, running scripts, and managing development environments.

  • Data scientist: Uses the CLI to interact with data, run analytics scripts, and manage data pipelines for tasks like data cleaning, transformation, and analysis.

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant skills in a coding boot camp. However, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in computer science depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.

Last updated