Microsoft is launching an AI training program open to the public, according to a company announcement. The program is similar to the existing courses already offered to Microsoft employees.
The Microsoft Professional program for AI is comprised of 10 online courses, each set to take between eight and 16 hours. By the end of the program, "aspiring AI engineers" will have built about 10 skills. Users will leverage technologies including Azure Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Python to complete their tasks.
Microsoft already has its AI Residency Program and NERD AI Program as a way to recruit candidates to "learn AI by working alongside researchers, designers and engineers" within Microsoft, according to the company.
AI has the potential to infiltrate nearly every industry, leaving many companies scrambling to find talent to support its implementation. Fewer than 10,000 candidates have the specialized technology skills ready for advanced AI research.
AI is the next frontier for technical expansion, and those without a a well-equipped workforce face falling behind. But those experienced as data architects, database administrator and software engineers can be primary candidates for AI training.
Companies like Microsoft are working to not only develop in-house AI talent but also to help harvest employees for the ever-growing expansion of AI.
After all, the company is making conscious shifts toward building intelligence into its technologies. As part of a massive reorg, CEO Satya Nadella announced two teams, "Experiences & Devices" and "Cloud + AI," that will formulaically inject AI into more of its products and offerings.
In a nod to the new direction of Microsoft — one that shifts its focus primarily to enterprise customers — the company is expanding its software-based portfolio. Microsoft's current cloud chief will be repositioned as Microsoft's new head of cloud and AI team, which includes AI for business applications.
Until robots can do everything for us, augmenting human activity is a field tech companies will look to master. After all, by 2021, AI is set to recover about 6.2 billion hours of productivity.