Microsoft Opens Up Internal AI Training to Public

Microsoft is mirroring its internal artificial intelligence training courses with a new offering to the public, letting developers earn a certificate to prove expertise in cutting-edge technologies like computer vision, natural language processing/translation and Python-based data science.

The company yesterday announced Microsoft Professional Program in AI, an online learning track that resembles its internal training for employees and that can be monitored for free or used to buy a $99 certificate and earn Microsoft Professional Program credits.

Ten required courses will be taught, with each taking between eight and 16 hours to complete. Skills range from an introduction to Python for data science to ethics and law in data and analytics to building models for machine learning and deep learning. The three-month courses start anew at the beginning of each quarter: January, April, July and October.

A four-week final capstone project will put the learned skills to work solving a real-world AI problem. "The project takes the form of a challenge in which you will develop a deep learning solution that is tested and scored to determine your grade," the course site says.

The track is meant to provide job-ready skills through the use of hands-on labs and expert instructors.

"The program is part of a larger corporate effort that also includes the enterprise developer-focused AI School, which provides online videos and other assets to help developers build AI skills," Microsoft said in a blog post yesterday. "That program includes both general educational tools for developers looking to expand AI capabilities and specific guidance on how developers can use Microsoft’s tools and services."

Microsoft said it operates the Microsoft Professional Program in recognition of an industry-wide shortage of qualified developers for specific jobs. That shortage is especially noticeable in the AI arena where various other efforts are underway to provide more AI-skilled developers.

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David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.