Artificial intelligence is the new electricity. Data is the new oil. You would be forgiven for thinking these statements were hyperbolic, but they’re not as far off as they might first appear. The applications of AI-powered analytics reach across practically every sector. Over a third of organizations have already deployed AI-based processes, and analysts forecast global spending on AI to more than double in the next three years, to $79 billion.
AI isn’t coming to take your job, but it’s probably going to change it. Early indicators suggest that an AI-powered future is one where humans and intelligent technologies work collaboratively. But the largest barrier to realizing that future, and to the further advancement of AI, is the current dearth of talent in the field. This goes beyond the lack of AI engineers: Deloitte’s 2020 State of AI in Enterprise Survey found that the biggest corporate need was in finding more AI-literate business professionals.
Thanks to online degree programs and DIY skill-builders, it’s never been easier to get started in artificial intelligence. Educational options are available at every possible starting point: from the working software engineer to the absolute layman.
If you’re ready to explore this dynamic, impactful, and rewarding career, read on.
Lewis University (MS Computer Science)
Lewis University offers an online MS in computer science program with a concentration in artificial intelligence. Students learn how to design and implement computing systems that perceive, act, and learn.
Concentration courses cover topics such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing, robotics, statistical programming, and machine learning. Each class goes in-depth on multiple technical areas, including Bayesian networks, Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), and reinforcement learning control. Before graduation, students will design and conduct a faculty-advised research thesis that results in publication-worthy documentation. The program consists of 33 credits.
Stanford University (Graduate Certificate)
Stanford University’s online graduate certificate in artificial intelligence gives students a chance to learn from the leaders of the artificial intelligence revolution. The curriculum covers both foundational and advanced skills in the principles and technologies that define artificial intelligence.
Designed for working software engineers, the program is fast-paced and academically rigorous. Applicants should be able to demonstrate mastery of mathematical and programming prerequisites. The program takes an average of one to two years to complete.
Colorado State University (MS Computer Science)
Colorado State University’s online MS in computer science provides in-depth instruction on artificial intelligence and machine learning, teaching students how optimal system analysis and design can solve complex, organization-wide issues. The curriculum addresses the latest deep-learning libraries and technologies, and how they can be applied in a variety of industries. Additionally, this program focuses on parallel computing, software engineering, database systems, networking and security, and other fundamentals of the discipline. The program consists of 35 credits.
Notably, 70 percent of CSU’s master’s degree program have jobs upon graduation, including positions at companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.
Online education is evolving almost as quickly as artificial intelligence. Whether you’re looking for a quick level-up in a specific technical area, or for a broader understanding of the field of artificial intelligence, today’s DIY skill-building is more accessible than ever before. These online modules are quick, cheap, up-to-date, and, in some cases, attached to heavyweights of industry and academia.
Coursera is an online learning platform co-founded by AI revolutionary and Stanford professor Andrew Ng.
As a repository of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), Coursera has one of the largest offerings of DIY skill-building options for artificial intelligence. Each course is sponsored by either a university or corporation, and students can choose between highly targeted classes like those offered by Google Cloud, or generalized overviews of AI from IBM.
They can also mix and match: course packages range from individual classes to professional certificates to specialization tracks and full-on degrees.
Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is an online learning platform that brings together over 20 million learners and partners them with top-ranked universities and industry-leading companies. Students can access low-cost courses in artificial intelligence that come backed by Harvard, Columbia, IBM, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Groups of courses can culminate in MicroMasters degrees and professional certificates, or be taken a-la-carte to boost a particular skill set.