CS Training

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Training Levels

  • Lettered, with different domains having a different number of levels.
  • Each "level" is designed to be around 50 hours of work (depending on your background and how quickly you pick it up).
  • Each level assumes completion of the previously levels (most levels build on previous levels).

Training Domains

  • Python programming
    • Level A - first 4 chapters of Automate the Boring Stuff with Python (basics, conditionals, loops, functions, lists) at a level covered in CS 101 Fundamentals of Computing
    • Level B - chapters 5, 6, 9, (dictionaries, tuples, strings, files) and selections of others at a level covered in CS 151 Introduction to Computer Science
    • Level C - object-oriented programming and additional topics at a level covered in CS 201 Programming Structures
    • Levels A-C collectively are comparable to the python portion of CS 401/501 Programming for Data Science
  • C programming
    • Levels A, B, C - comparable to the corresponding levels for python programming
    • Levels A-C collectively are comparable to the C portion of CS 500 Programming Fundamentals.
  • Data structures
    • Level A - algorithms basics, arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues
    • Level B - binary search tree, heap, hash table
    • Levels A-B are comparable to the data structures portions of CS 202 Data Structures & Algorithms, or CS 500 Programming Fundamentals.
  • Algorithms
    • Level A - searching and sorting
    • Level B - graphs, breadth-first / depth-first search, shortest path
    • Levels A-B are comparable to the data structures portions of CS 202 Data Structures & Algorithms, or CS 500 Programming Fundamentals.
  • Unix/linux
    • Levels TBD
  • Mathematics
    • Levels TBD

Training Packages

  • MS Admissions interview - Python levels A-B or C levels A-B, Data structures levels A-B, Algorithms levels A-B.
  • CS 151 -
  • CS 201 -
  • CS 202 -
  • CS 500 - C levels A-B, Data structures levels A-B,
  • CS 501 -


  • Borrow heavily from materials, readings, videos from the courses we are running.
  • As much as possible use existing resources. The value of the training is in providing the framework, evaluation, and a guide.


  • Auto-graded quizes, quiz questions regularly updated/changed.
  • Auto-graded program output, programs regularly updated/changed.
  • Final interview.
  • The result of the evaluation is one of the following: did not pass, pass-, pass, pass+.

What is Included in the Price

  • Access to training materials, training assignments/quizzes, auto-graded quizzes, auto-graded program output.
  • 2 chances at the final interview (required for officially completing/passing the training).
  • For US residents only - help/assistance using Microsoft Teams.
  • Fee per training level is $50.
  • Those who have paid an application fee to attend ISU get one training level free, or multiple training levels discounted.
  • Currently enrolled ISU students also get a discount on the fee.


  • One Microsoft Team for content and communication.
  • Separate Microsoft Team for help/assistance (US residents only).
  • Auto-graded quiz questions hosted securely off of the CS server.
  • Final evaluation over video/screen-sharing meeting.
  • Registration/payment from a system used by Community Engagement / ...

Admission to MS in Computer Science

  • Persons who complete the appropriate training levels should be able to pass the department's admissions interview for the MS in computer science. This is not a guarantee, but these training levels are specifically designed to prepare to pass the admissions interview.

Course Credit

  • Those who complete the appropriate package can use their completion of the training program to apply for Prior Learning Assessment for the given course.
  • This is for enrolled students, students are charged 25% of the tuition of the course for an evaluation, and the evaluation can include an additional "challenge exam". The challenge exam would be selections from the final interview from the training levels that were completed by the student.
  • More details on the process are at https://www.indstate.edu/services/testing/departmental-examsassessment-prior-learning