Microsoft opens up its AI course to the public; seeks to offer up “job-ready” skills in AI and data science
Microsoft on Monday announced that it has added a new online AI (artificial intelligence) course to its list of Professional Program modules, which will provide thousands of people a chance to build skills in the field of AI. This track in AI is now open to the public and comprises online courses.
According to the company, its Professional Program in AI is an extension of Microsoft’s internal AI training initiatives, including what was internally known as the AI School 611. This project-based semester-style program offers a competitively selected group of employees with tools, training and mentoring from leading experts in AI and machine learning to bring new AI capabilities into their product or service.
“We solicit, from all over Microsoft, projects that require AI which can be accelerated by working closely with AI experts to help shape new algorithms and data pipelines,” said Susan Dumais, who leads the program and is a distinguished scientist and Assistant Director of Microsoft Research AI.
The training is part of a larger corporate effort that includes an enterprise developer-focused AI School, which provides online videos and other assets to help developers build AI skills.
The Microsoft Professional Program for AI will consist of 10 courses that cover 10 skills, each of which is supposed to take eight to 16 hours to complete. This course covers technologies like computer vision, natural language processing, Python, speech recognition, data analysis, math, ethics, and Azure machine learning.
“Each course runs for three months and starts at the beginning of a quarter (January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December). The capstone runs for four weeks at the beginning of each quarter.” the company said in a statement.
“The programme provides job-ready skills and real-world experience to engineers and others who are looking to improve their skills in AI and data science through a series of online courses that feature hands-on labs and expert instructors,” Microsoft added.
Those completing the course will receive a digitally-sharable Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in AI. However, the courses aren’t free and participants need to buy certificates from edX.org for each course. Microsoft also allows those interested to sign up and audit them for free, but they won’t get the completion credit if they do this.
According to Dumais, Microsoft’s employee and publicly available AI training opportunities reflect a broader push throughout the technology industry to fill a gap in workers with skills in artificial intelligence.
“AI is increasingly important in how our products and services are designed and delivered and that is true for our customers as well,” Dumais said. “Fundamentally,” she added, “we are all interested in developing talent that is able to build, understand and design systems that have AI as a central component.”
Click here to find out more about the Microsoft Professional Program in AI. You can also enroll to take part on the company’s website.