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Mastering the Foundations of AI: Top 8 Beginner-Level AI Courses to Try

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A variety of courses and specializations can give you the understanding of AI that you need to boost your career!

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are amazing technologies that are revolutionizing practically every field of human activity. Intelligent machines can assist or downright substitute humans in literally all tasks, from business and commerce to health care, environment, communications, and any endeavors we can imagine.

Understanding AI, while this tech is still in its prime days, is a great way to boost a career in technology. Professionals who can build thinking machines able to get the most value from the immense vaults of unstructured data currently floating around are highly sought after by employers across the globe.

Whether you already have experience in the technology field or you are a student with little or no background in AI and programming, there are many online courses available to outpace your competition and find the job of your life.


IBM, for example, offers many of these online courses that are streamlined to give you a firm understanding of AI and many of its use cases, plus an applied understanding of machine learning and deep learning, with no prior knowledge expectations.

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? Well, let’s start from the very beginning, then! This introductory course will teach you the basics of AI even if you’ve got no technical background nor any computer science expertise. You will learn about the most recent use cases and applications of AI, understand how your job may benefit from a general knowledge of AI, the basic terminology, and the controversies and ethical questions surrounding this technology.

After the course, you will test the skills you learned with a hands-on project, and then earn a certificate you can share with your present or future employers.

Sign Up Here!

Getting Started with AI Using IBM Watson

IBM Watson is probably the most well-known AI in recent years, and it is currently employed by many organizations since it has numerous different uses and applications. In this 4-week course, you will learn the ropes of Watson, how it works, and how it has been used so far. You will quickly understand how to build smart AI-based apps and work with several Watson services to demonstrate AI in action.

In particular, by knowing more about this AI, you will get a practical overview of how this technology can be applied to improve the workflow of any organization.

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Building AI Powered Chatbots Without Programming

Did you know that according to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions with the enterprise will occur via chatbots by 2020? That means now is the time to learn how to use them! In particular, during this course, as the title suggests, you will learn how to build and deploy an AI-enabled chatbot on a website — without any coding. In fact, this course will teach you how to create chatbots visually (no coding required) with IBM Watson Assistant and leverage AI’s popular natural language processing capabilities.

And if you have no WordPress-based websites to test your newly created chatbot, don’t worry — you’ll be provided with a fresh one! (For more on chatbots, see We Asked IT Pros How Enterprises Will Use Chatbots in the Future. Here’s What They Said.)

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Python for Data Science and AI

The word “beginner” usually has a negative connotation. If you want to reach the next level in your journey of learning, this course is the one you need. Python is the programming language that most data scientists love and prefer, and for a lot of reasons.

Knowing how to manipulate Python, its data structures, and programming fundamentals is critical if you want to talk the same language spoken by the machines. This simple and accessible course will take you from zero to programming in Python in just a few hours — 17 in total, to be exact.

As a bonus, completing this course will count towards your learning in the Applied Data Science Specialization as well.

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Building AI Applications with Watson APIs

One of the most interesting features of Watson AI is that you can use its services and APIs to create smart applications with close to zero coding skills. However, since you’re already skilled in Python, you can easily apply your newly acquired knowledge to exploit the full potential of IBM’s popular AI.

In particular, this course will teach you how to leverage Watson services (assistant, discovery, speech to text, and text to speech), combine them, and create interactive information retrieval systems.

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Introduction to Computer Vision with Watson and OpenCV

One of the most amazing and futuristic applications of ML and AI is, hands down, computer vision (CV). With applications ranging from virtual reality and augmented reality, to self-driving cars and biometrics, CV has a ton of different applications that are already changing our world. This last course is a solid foundation to learn about CV, its many applications, and how to use Python, Watson, AI and Open CV to process images.

In this hands-on course, you will build, train and test your own custom image classifiers through several labs on the cloud environment. You will even deploy your own CV web app to the cloud.

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AI Foundations for Everyone Specialization

The AI Foundations for Everyone Specialization is a series of three courses — Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Getting Started with AI Using IBM Watson and Building AI Powered Chatbots Without Programming — that will introduce you to the world of AI. At the end of this program, you will have mastered the basics of AI and will understand how this technology is going to transform our society.

A great place to start even for people who lack a technical or programming background, this specialization is suited for literally everyone, from students to IT professionals.

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Applied AI: Artificial Intelligence with IBM Watson Specialization

The Applied AI: Artificial Intelligence with IBM Watson Specialization is a somewhat more advanced program that will teach you how to create AI-powered applications. Even if you have no programming background, you will quickly grasp the ropes of Python, the most widely used programming language of the AI world.

Comprised of all six of the courses listed above, this specialization will provide you with plenty of practical examples and use cases.

Sign Up Here!

What We've Learned

Whether you want to run the full specialization courses or enroll in a single course among the ones mentioned above, is up to you. In either case, you will earn a shareable certificate that will help you skyrocket your career in tech.

And if you can’t afford the price, don’t forget that Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford it.


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Claudio Buttice
Data Analyst
Claudio Buttice
Data Analyst

Dr. Claudio Butticè, Pharm.D., is a former Pharmacy Director who worked for several large public hospitals in Southern Italy, as well as for the humanitarian NGO Emergency. He is now an accomplished book author who has written on topics such as medicine, technology, world poverty, human rights, and science for publishers such as SAGE Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Mission Bell Media. His latest books are "Universal Health Care" (2019) and "What You Need to Know about Headaches" (2022).A data analyst and freelance journalist as well, many of his articles have been published in magazines such as Cracked, The Elephant, Digital…