Here’s something every tech company agrees on: the world needs more AI engineers. Microsoft is the latest firm to try to answer this demand, and this week, it launched a new course on its tech accreditation scheme (known as the Microsoft Professional Program) dedicated to artificial intelligence.
The course has 10 modules, each taking between eight and 16 hours to complete online. They cover a range of sub-disciplines, including computer vision, data analysis, speech recognition, and natural language processing. Interestingly, there’s also an ethics course (a topic Microsoft is paying close attention as it pivots to focus on AI) as well as a module on machine learning in Azure, the company’s cloud platform.
This is predictable. All the new AI courses from big tech companies tend to double up as advertisements for their own products, but it’s not a bad thing. After all, these are the services AI engineers will likely end up using. Google’s own “Learn with Google AI” hub (which launched this February) is exactly the same, with a focus on TensorFlow, the company’s AI framework, and Google Cloud.
However, Google’s courses seem aimed more at lone developers than professionals. By comparison, Microsoft’s new AI program is more corporate, and they promise that individuals who complete the course and pay for accreditation will come away with a “résumé-worthy credential.” (You can still take the course for free though.) What exactly this will cost you isn’t yet clear, but the Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science is priced at $990, so expect something in that range.
Advertisements or not, it’s definitely good for tech companies to be pushing AI skills like this. Not simply because it provides engineers that plug a talent gap, but because the more people involved in the development of artificial intelligence, the better. This is a technology that’s going to drastically shape our lives in the years to come, so it’s preferable if more of us learn about it.