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Microsoft Makes Its In-House AI Training Program Public

Microsoft is giving the general public access to artificial intelligence (AI) training courses that mirror its own internal AI education program.

The Microsoft Professional Program in AI, announced this week, is an online learning track that resembles Microsoft's training regimen for employees. The program can be monitored for free or used to buy a $99 certificate and earn Microsoft Professional Program credits.

The program lets developers and IT pros earn a certificate to prove expertise in cutting-edge technologies like computer vision, natural-language processing/translation and Python-based data science.

There are 10 required courses, 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 give participants the chance to put their 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. "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 industrywide 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.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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