One of the most difficult things about learning a new skill is finding time to study. Being able to complete assignments in between meetings or while traveling can make all the difference in the ability to make regular progress. Unfortunately, none of the online courses in programming, data science and machine learning I've taken over this past year have great mobile solutions. The best I've seen is Udacity.com, which built an online coding environment for some of its quizzes, but not for the more realistic editing environments involving complex tasks. Much of the work still requires a laptop.
After a great deal of searching, I finally found a solution in two applications that allow users to run Jupyter notebooks and python terminal commands, both of which are common tools for completing machine learning tasks. The web app CoCalc can
host coding environments in the cloud and the iPhone app, Juno
, makes it easier to code in CoCalc on a mobile device (the screenshot above is from a Udacity.com assignment on machine learning, which I've been testing out as part of a series on data science education
CoCalc is designed for students learning programming and machine learning courses. It's easy to create Jupyter notebooks and comes fully loaded with popular data science packages, such as Pandas (a statistical software for the Python programming language).
But, CoCalc alone is not enough. CoCalc's mobile interface is less than ideal; it works well on a desktop but it's hard to interact with on my iPhone. Juno is an iOS mobile app that makes a mobile-friendly wrapper for CoCalc. In a Jupyter notebook, it even has some of the nicer editing environment luxuries, like text auto-completion and color-coding.
Now, to be sure, even with these two apps, coding on mobile still isn't easy. A lot of coding is editing mistakes and copy and pasting large blocks of text. Mobile devices just aren't built for rapid content creation. Doing regular tasks iPhone takes more time, so I still use a laptop to finish assignments.
But, for an adult learner like me, CoCalc and Juno have helped me make regular progress towards learning data science and artificial intelligence.