One of the brilliant things about working as a freelancer is that while some weeks I'll be run off my feet working a lot of hours, other weeks I have more free time to pursue outside interests. After a recommendation from a friend, I recently had a look at the large number of free courses available online at Coursera to see if any took my fancy, and managed to stumble across one on cryptography from Stanford University.
The course started this week and I love it already! As a humanities graduate, I haven't studied anything mathematical or statistical since I left high school and studying this totally new subject is really stretching my brain in all the best kinds of ways. So far we've already covered the history of cryptography, discrete probability and stream ciphers. Plus it means for the first time in many years, I have sheets of notes which look like this:
I'm also lucky enough to have a great local library here in Edinburgh, so I've put in a request for the following two books for some background reading:
It's a great course that I'm really enjoying, and based on my experiences so far I can't recommend Coursera highly enough. The design of the video lectures ensures that you are understanding the material by including pauses to answer questions based on the material just covered, and there are programming assignments each week as well. There are loads of different courses on there (not just cryptography!) so do go and check it out if you fancy a bit of extra learning in your life.