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Can Microsoft close the skills gap with AI training course?

The course is available to workers and the public, as Microsoft hopes to close the digital skills gap.

By April Slattery

Offering a new artificial intelligence (AI) training course, Microsoft aims to better the knowledge and skills of the emerging technology and compete with Google.

The technology giant announced the launch of an AI training course, stating it aims to ‘fill the skills gap in AI’ and making the training courses available to the wider public as well as workers.

Microsoft’s training programme includes a range of offerings including internal programmes tailored to specific teams and products, such as software engineers, as well as offerings for external engineers across a variety of enterprise levels.  The teaching scheme includes training its students around how to work with data to build and train machine learning devices, to power interactive bots in the future.

Comprised of nine online courses, each taking between eight and 16 hours, and a final project the course uses real-life scenarios to demonstrate how AI can work within organisations; alongside workers and independently. In doing so, it enables workers and the public to develop their skills and close the skills gap that has been a concern for many employers.

“The program provides job-ready skills and real-world experience to engineers and others who are looking to improve their skills in AI and data science through a series of online courses that feature hands-on labs and expert instructors,” the company said in a statement.

Can Microsoft close the skills gap with AI training course?

The course aims to bridge the gap between basic skills and expertise in AI.

 

As the widening digital skills gap has become a hot topic among tech leaders, large organisations and governing bodies, Microsoft believes such a course could be the necessary initiative to close the gap.

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“AI is increasingly important in how our products and services are designed and delivered and that is true for our customers as well,” Susan Dumais, Scientist and Assistant Director of Microsoft Research AI, said. “Fundamentally, we are all interested in developing talent that is able to build, understand and design systems that have AI as a central component.”

Over 1,000 Microsoft employees first embarked on the programme, before it was offered to the public. The AI skills programme coincides with Microsoft’s new Professional Program for AI, which helps AI engineers move from the basic knowledge of AI to the having the complex skills needed to build deep learning solutions.

Using the AI skills programme will enable workers and the public to not only develop their skills and further their job prospects, but also provide them with a more rounded vision of what is to come with AI and how it will affect their job in the future.

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Microsoft’s training programme is also part of a wider initiative, which includes an enterprise developer-focused AI school providing online videos and various other elements to help developers build those essential AI skills.

The new programme is readily available to both Microsoft employees and the public with immediate effect.

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