Certificate (PDF)


About the course

Functional programming is becoming increasingly widespread in the industry. This trend is driven by the adoption of Scala as the main programming language for many applications. Scala fuses functional and object-oriented programming in a practical package. It interoperates seamlessly with both Java and Javascript. Scala is the implementation language of many important frameworks, including Apache Spark, Kafka, and Akka. It provides the core infrastructure for sites such as Twitter, Tumblr and also Coursera.

In this course, you will discover the elements of the functional programming style and learn how to apply them usefully in your daily programming tasks. You will also develop a solid foundation for reasoning about functional programs, by touching upon proofs of invariants and the tracing of execution symbolically.

The course is hands-on; most units introduce short programs that serve as illustrations of important concepts and invite you to play with them, modifying and improving them. The course is complemented by a series programming projects as homework assignments.

Learning Outcomes. By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • understand the principles of functional programming,
  • write purely functional programs, using recursion,
  • pattern matching, and higher-order functions,
  • combine functional programming with objects and classes,
  • design immutable data structures,
  • reason about properties of functions,
  • understand generic types for functional programs

Recommended background: You should have at least one-year programming experience. Proficiency with Java or C# is ideal, but experience with other languages such as C/C++, Python, Javascript or Ruby is also sufficient. You should have some familiarity using the command line.


Getting Started + Functions & Evaluation

Get up and running with Scala on your computer. Complete an example assignment to familiarize yourself with our unique way of submitting assignments. In this week, we’ll learn the difference between functional imperative programming. We step through the basics of Scala; covering expressions, evaluation, conditionals, functions, and recursion

Higher Order Functions

This week, we’ll learn about functions as first-class values, and higher order functions. We’ll also learn about Scala’s syntax and how it’s formally defined. Finally, we’ll learn about methods, classes, and data abstraction through the design of a data structure for rational numbers.

Data and Abstraction

This week, we’ll cover traits, and we’ll learn how to organize classes into hierarchies. We’ll cover the hierarchy of standard Scala types, and see how to organize classes and traits into packages. Finally, we’ll touch upon the different sorts of polymorphism in Scala.

Types and Pattern Matching

This week we’ll learn about the relationship between functions and objects in Scala; functions *are* objects! We’ll zoom in on Scala’s type system, covering subtyping and generics, and moving on to more advanced aspects of Scala’s type system like variance. Finally, we’ll cover Scala’s most widely used data structure, Lists, and one of Scala’s most powerful tools, pattern matching.


This week we dive into Lists, the most commonly-used data structure in Scala.


After a deep-dive into Lists, this week we’ll explore other data structures; vectors, maps, ranges, arrays, and more. We’ll dive into Scala’s powerful and flexible for-comprehensions for querying data.



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