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Table of contents

  1. About
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Format
    1. In-class lectures (1.5 hours / week)
    2. Supplemental Reading (2 hours / week)
    3. Assignments (3 hours / week)
  4. Grading


This is our adaptation of MIT’s class by the same name, with gracious permission to adapt their course. We follow closely in their motivation to teach the class, and here is their course description:

Classes teach you all about advanced topics within CS, from operating systems to machine learning, but there’s one critical subject that’s rarely covered, and is instead left to students to figure out on their own: proficiency with their tools. We’ll teach you how to master the command-line, use a powerful text editor, use fancy features of version control systems, and much more!

Students spend hundreds of hours using these tools over the course of their education (and thousands over their career), so it makes sense to make the experience as fluid and frictionless as possible. Mastering these tools not only enables you to spend less time on figuring out how to bend your tools to your will, but it also lets you solve problems that would previously seem impossibly complex.

- Missing Semester @ MIT

If you wish Git made sense, or if you just wanted to know how to use your terminal to its actual capacity, this class is for you!


This class is intended for students who

  • have taken at least one introductory CS course (eg. CS61A, Data 8, Engineering E7, etc.)
  • are going into a programming-heavy field

No prerequisites will be strictly enforced, but we highly recommend prior programming knowledge to extract the most out of this DeCal.

Course Format

In-class lectures (1.5 hours / week)

Location: TBD

We will meet in lecture once a week. Attendance is mandatory. Should special circumstances occur, please email the course facilitators.

Supplemental Reading (2 hours / week)

Course notes will be given that expand on lecture material. Students will be expected to read and try out the material in their own projects.

Assignments (3 hours / week)

One assignment will be given per week, due the night before the next lecture.


  • 75% Homework, weighted equally.
  • 25% Attendance

As students of Berkeley, we will follow the Berkeley Honor Code:

As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.