Whether Starting Out or in Early to Mid-Career, What’s the Best Way to Learn AI? 




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By AI Trends Staff 

Whether you are just starting out in the workforce or are in the early- to mid-career stage, you are likely to ask yourself the question at some point, what’s the best way to learn AI?  

Glassdoor at the end of August had over 53,000 job postings that mention machine learning, and 20,000 jobs that include data science at salaries ranging from $50,000 to over $180,000, according to a recent account in TechRepublic 

One idea is to win a seat in a new residency program in AI and Machine Learning offered by Apple Computer, announced in a report this week from Cnbctv18.com. While the number of seats may be few and the level of expertise required quite a bit beyond early stage, it’s certainly a proven employer.  

The year-long program is seeking applicants with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduate degrees or equivalent industry experience, software development backgrounds, and niche expertise — like design, linguistics, neuroscience, or psychology.  

For the much less experienced, these are hints as to very desired skill sets in AI. Apple is seen as seeking to bolster its presence in areas like speech recognition, analyzing images and parsing natural language text, incorporated in software products such as Siri. 

Learning the vocabulary of AI might be a good step toward selecting how you want to focus. 

The A to Z of AI from Google and Oxford Internet Institute is an entry-level guide to the basics of artificial intelligence designed to help anyone get their bearings with a complex topic. The overview calls AI “one of the most complicated areas of computer science,” and while plenty of information is available about AI “it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from fiction.”  

Some Options for Online Learning of AI 

AI jobs are central to new product development and future revenue opportunities, according to the recent account in TechRepublic, which listed what it considers to be the best online courses for data science, including some offering certifications that can boost resumes.     

Many big tech companies and independent tech organizations are offering training programs for people new to data science and professionals who want to learn the newest technology. Here is a selection of recommended programs: 

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate 

IBM offers this program on Coursera, which is taught by company employees. Students in this course will take a series of hands-on labs in the IBM cloud that provide experience with Jupyter/JupyterLab, GitHub, R Studio, and Watson Studio. 

 This online program takes about 10 months to complete and has nine courses: 

  • What is data science 
  • Tools for data science 
  • Data science methodology 
  • Python for data  science  and  AI 
  • Databases and  SQL for data science 
  • Data analysis with Python 
  • Data visualization with Python 
  • Machine learning with Python 
  • Applied data  science capstone 

Professional Machine Learning Engineer from Google 

If you can pass this exam that is in beta, you are Google Cloud Certified. Google recommends that test takers have at least three years of hands-on experience with Google Cloud products and solutions.  

The test lasts four hours and costs $120. 

The six sections of the test cover: 

  • ML problem framing 
  • ML solution architecture 
  • Data preparation and processing 
  • ML model development 
  • ML pipeline automation and orchestration 
  • ML solution monitoring, optimization, and maintenance 

Certified Analytics Professional certification 

This vendor-neutral program is for analytics practitioners in the early to mid-stage of their careers. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree and five years of professional experience or a master’s degree with three years of work experience. All candidates for the exam sign an ethics code and must submit a reference from an employer to confirm soft skills. 

The exam is based on the Job Task Analysis and covers seven areas: 

  • Business problem framing 
  • Analytics problem framing 
  • Data 
  • Methodology selection 
  • Model building 
  • Deployment  
  • Lifecycle management 

There are 100 multiple-choice questions on the exam. The base price for the CAP certification is $695 or $495 for members of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). INFORMS offers a prep class for the exam.  

A new version of the exam will be released on Jan. 1, 2021 and can be taken online. 

SAS data scientist certifications 

The SAS Academy for Data Science offers three professional-level credentials for data scientists: 

  1. Data curation 
  2. Advanced analytics  
  3. AI and machine learning   

SAS offers a 30-day free trial so people can check out the tools, hands-on learning opportunities, and case studies that are part of the training program. There are also free e-learning courses about statistics and SAS programming and administration. 

The data curation program is designed for people who want to quantify their experience with SAS data management tools and applications as well as other tools to prepare data for statistical analysis. The program includes four training courses and one certification exam voucher, including: 

  1. Introduction to data curation 
  2. SAS data management tools and applications 
  3. SAS and Hadoop 
  4. Advanced SAS data management tools and applications 

Before signing up for this course, individuals should have experience with SAS programming basics, data manipulation techniques, and SQL processing. SAS offers exam prep classes in the Data Curation Professional program.   

The advanced analytics professional program includes nine online courses, 12 months of access to the training, 100 hours of access to cloud software, and three exam vouchers. The courses include: 

  1. Applied analytics using SAS Enterprise Miner 
  2. Neural network modeling 
  3. Predictive modeling using logistic regression 
  4. Data mining techniques 
  5. Open source models 
  6. Text analytics using SAS Text Miner 
  7. Time series modeling essentials 
  8. Experimentation in data science 
  9. Optimization concepts for data science 

SAS recommends that students have at least six months of programming experience and in using statistics in a business environment. 

The AI and machine learning professional program includes five online courses, 70 hours of access to cloud software, and three exam vouchers. SAS recommends people interested in this program have experience with programming, SAS Viya, regression models, and neural network models. The courses are: 

  1. Machine learning with SAS Viya 
  2. SAS visual text analytics in SAS Viya 
  3. Deep learning using  SAS  software 
  4. Forecasting using Model  Studio in SAS Viya 
  5. Optimization concepts for data science and AI 

Each program is $1,295 per year and requires passing several exams to obtain each certification. SAS offers a mix of free and paid exam prep classes. 

SAS certification exams can be taken from home via OnVUE online proctored exams. 

A Two-Step Process to Learn AI for Beginners 

“Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” by AI experts Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig is a best-selling guide to the basics of AI.

For beginners, one company has recommended a two-step process for learning AI. Step one is to examine e-books, such as “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach,” a best-selling guide by AI experts Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig.   

A second approach is to take advantage of online courses, such as from HackerEarth, or the “Introduction to Machine Learning Problem Framing” from Google, a one-hour online course that helps to frame and solve problems using Machine Learning.   

The suggestions come from Jigsaw Academy, which offers online courses of its own, including the Full Stack Machine Learning and AI Program, a three-month program that includes capstone projects, case studies and industry-relevant certification. The company also offers Data Science with Python, where students build and implement popular Predictive Analytics algorithms, including Regression and Forecasting, and classification and segmentation ML algorithms like K Means and Random Forest using Python. This course is suited for beginners with an inclination toward Data Science.  

The constantly-evolving AI education field is certain to continue to offer options for interested students or career professionals. 

Read the source articles in TechRepublic, from Cnbctv18.com, in the A to Z of AI from Google and Oxford Internet Institute, and from Jigsaw Academy.





Original article: Whether Starting Out or in Early to Mid-Career, What’s the Best Way to Learn AI? 
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