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Learn network programming with online courses

Network programming allows computers to communicate through networks so that people can share data across computers, online channels, and geographic locations. Learn more about network programming with online courses delivered through edX.

What is network programming?

With network programming, professionals use computer code to write powerful programs or processes that can communicate with other programs or processes across a network, irrespective of their locations.

There are countless examples of computer networks that require programs to function. Bank portals collect and send sensitive customer information to complete a financial transaction. Social media platforms facilitate communication and sharing of text, images, and videos between people. Gaming platforms allow players to compete against each other from different locations. 

Network programming can offer many benefits, including increased productivity, enhanced security, increased mobility, improved efficiency, and faster deployment. It can help automate processes as well as provide a secure way to access and manage data. Network programming also enables remote access and can simplify complex tasks. 

Network Programming | Introduction Image

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Network programming course curriculum 

Computer network technology forms the backbone of our modern world. By learning network programming, you can better understand: 

  • Communication protocols

  • The physical arrangements of systems

  • Traffic control mechanisms

  • The practical benefits of forming advanced connections

  • The configuration of and maintenance needed for systems to meet specific business needs

You may learn to do network programming as part of a Python or Java network programming course. These classes may allow you to practice writing programs in a specific language and then link those programs with others as part of a larger network. Python tutorials, for example, could provide two levels of access to network programming: low-level (covering basic socket programming that supports the operating system) and high-level (which allows you to implement HTTP or FTP rules governing file transfers).Footnote 1

Online network programming courses can provide an overview of computer networking applications, transport, links, and security layers. You can also learn how to identify key components of a computer network, establish reliable data transfer protocols, understand how routers and IP work, and apply critical security technologies such as firewalls.

If you have a background in computer science, enrolling in a network programming course can offer you the opportunity to expand your understanding of how global network components work together, as well as how to program network architectures to improve program functionality, business quality of service, and data security. 

Explore jobs that use network programming

Network programmer jobs aren't the only roles that require solid network programming skills. Other positions may include:

  • Web developer: Create and maintain websites. Understanding network programming principles like bandwidth, latency, and filtering, is useful for ensuring strong performance. 

  • Computer programmer: Write, modify, and test the code that makes applications run properly. Networking knowledge helps programmers set up applications that can interact with one another. 

  • Front-end developer: Ensure that websites provide a good user experience, front-end developers can apply network layer protocols that affect website appearance, response times, and technical issues. 

  • Back-end developer: Build and maintain the technologies that make a website function. Requires an understanding of how the internet and servers work.

There are many ways to learn about network programming. If you’re ready to start learning, explore the educational opportunities available through edX. You have the option of pursuing more specialized coursework with a boot camp or individual course. Or you can earn a bachelor’s degree or pursue a master’s degree in a variety of related subjects. Find the right educational pathway for you. 

How to use network programming as a computer programmer

Network programming can be used in a variety of ways including: 

  • Client-server applications development: Network programming can be used to create the server-side code that allows a client application to connect to a server. This can involve writing code to listen for incoming connections, process requests, and send responses.Footnote 2

  • Inter-process communication: Network programming can be used to send data between two or more processes running on the same machine or on different machines. This could include sending messages, files, or other information.

  • System administration tasks: Network programming can be used to write scripts and programs that allow for remote system administration tasks such as restarting services, monitoring the system, or managing user accounts.

  • Distributed computing applications development: Network programming can be used to write distributed computing applications that allow multiple computers to work together to complete a task. These could include parallel computing applications, distributed databases, or distributed storage systems.

Educational and skills requirements for the field may vary depending on the role that you pursue. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or even a master’s degree in data science can help you build relevant knowledge, depending on the position. If you’re new to computer programming, you can start by learning the basics of programming languages and getting hands-on experience through a coding boot camp. Research the roles you hope to pursue and align your learning path with your professional aspirations.

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