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AI Courses--from Free to Graduate Degrees--Fuel Artificial Intelligence Careers

Artificial intelligence courses are becoming increasingly important in the workplace as the need for AI skills increases.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence become more widespread, there are jobs that will be automated or streamlined through technological advances. A recent report from Gartner found that AI would eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020. But AI and ML will also create and change jobs, and that will require knowledge in these new technologies--knowledge that could very quickly be in high demand and short supply. That's where artificial intelligence courses come in, and, fortunately, there is an AI course out there to fuel a wide variety of artificial intelligence careers and skills. 

That same Gartner report found that AI will create 2.3 million jobs by 2020, a net gain of half a million positions. A study from Genpact found that 82 percent of executives plan to implement AI in the near future, and 79 percent of executives and companies currently leading in AI expect their employees to work comfortably with robots.

In some cases, AI will provide complementary benefits to workers, allowing them to automate time-consuming processes or otherwise support their work. In others, AI will be the focus of a position, or will even lead to jobs that don’t yet exist. For example, the Genpact study found that a little more than half of the AI-leading companies have a training and development culture for learning new skills in this area.

How can employees, and the firms that employ them, get in on this new future? In many cases, training upgrades are going to be beneficial for IT professionals who want to prepare themselves for an increasingly AI-dominated future. Artificial intelligence courses can take several forms, from self-guided learning and bootcamps to traditional undergraduate and graduate education.

Graduate Programs and MBAs

For IT professionals who want to expand their education, or add a business focus to their undergraduate work and career experience, graduate degrees may be the right option.

Reputable business schools are beginning to add programs with an AI focus to their offerings, and others are including IT-focused coursework in their traditional MBA programs. Stanford offers a joint MBA and computer science MS, and Harvard is including AI-focused course material into its MBA program. Meanwhile, the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, recently launched North America’s first graduate business degree in artificial intelligence.

Undergraduate Programs

Recent high school graduates, and adult learners who are going back to college, can start their AI education at the undergraduate level.

Once again, Stanford is a solid option here: It was declared a top-three school for artificial intelligence by the US News and World Report’s Best Grad Schools report, and its faculty is considered top notch in the computer science field. Carnegie Mellon University has an entire machine learning department, as well as several other related centers and labs that can provide a interdisciplinary education with an AI focus. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Edinburgh are other leading options, and many institutions have individual courses on AI, machine learning and related topics within their computer science departments.

Bootcamps and Shorter Courses

For people who are not looking to complete an entire degree in the field, or who have a shorter period of time to spend shoring up their AI knowledge, bootcamps and individual courses are a good option.

Rotman School at the University of Toronto offers a two-day intensive course for executives, focused on how AI affects profit and strategy. The NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute’s two-day bootcamp on deep learning quickly goes from basic to advanced. For a more in-depth bootcamp, Experfy offers an eight-week course on AI and deep learning, as does the Bletchley Bootcamp.

There are also shorter courses focused on how artificial intelligence relates to a specific industry. For example, the AI for Healthcare bootcamps run quarterly through the Stanford Machine Learning Group.

Self-Guided Learning

If a more structured program is out of reach financially or due to scheduling concerns, a self-guided approach can increase AI expertise.

Udacity, for example, offers several free online courses that can be used as a jumping-off point for one of its "nanodegrees" in topics like artificial intelligence and robotics.

And some of the companies racing to shore up their own AI resources and staffing provide free educational resources that are publicly available. Microsoft, which has been offering AI bootcamps around the world, put the course materials online and made them freely available. Last month Google offered a free online course in machine learning, and in January the company announced a free IT course in parternship with Coursera.

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