The Future Cognitive Workforce Part 1: Announcing the AI Nanodegree with Udacity

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By Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson

As artificial intelligence (AI) begins to power more technology across industries, it’s been truly exciting to see what our community of developers can create with Watson. Developers are inspiring us to advance the technology that is transforming society, and they are the reason why such a wide variety of businesses are bringing cognitive solutions to market.

With AI becoming more ubiquitous in the technology we use every day, developers need to continue to sharpen their cognitive computing skills. They are seeking ways to gain a competitive edge in a workforce that increasingly needs professionals who understand how to build AI solutions.

It is for this reason that today at World of Watson in Las Vegas we announced with Udacity the introduction of a Nanodegree program that incorporates expertise from IBM Watson and covers the basics of artificial intelligence. The “AI Nanodegree” program will be helpful for those looking to establish a foundational understanding of artificial intelligence. IBM will also help aid graduates of this program with identifying job opportunities.

Nanodegree programs offer unique, hands-on learning opportunities for students to master critical skills in cutting-edge fields, while simultaneously building up project-based portfolios of work that demonstrate those skills for future employers.

The AI Nanodegree will guide students through courses and projects on different aspects of artificial intelligence, such as:

  • Game playing/search
  • Logic and planning
  • Probabilistic inference
  • Computer vision
  • Cognitive systems
  • Natural language processing

IBM experts have collaborated with Udacity on the curriculum for a number of these courses and provided supporting guidance on how Watson works and aligns with the Nanodegree objectives. The courses will include online videos of these experts leading exercises that cover the core concepts of Watson. The Nanodegree will also feature capstone projects for students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills and techniques taught.

The AI Nanodegree is comprised of two, 13-week terms, the first of which will open in early 2017. Upon completing the program, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the importance of artificial intelligence as an area of continued study
  • Become grounded in the basic mathematical and technical competencies needed to participate meaningfully in the AI community
  • Be able to write programs to solve computational problems important in AI

The benefits of the program are multiple: not only do students graduate with the Nanodegree itself – a credential that is recognized by technology companies looking for programmers, developers and other skilled workers – but over the course of their study, they create portfolios of useable projects that demonstrate the skills they have learned.

The launch of this Nanodegree continues on IBM’s commitment to equip developers with the educational resources they need. In addition to offering an ongoing variety of hackathons and academic partnerships, we recently announced the IBM Watson Application Developer Certification, which is designed to help developers all across the world build and validate their skills as well as connect with companies looking to leverage their unique talents. We also created IBM Learning Lab to help developers learn, build, and innovate with emerging technologies such as AI. IBM Learning Lab features 80+ curated courses from providers like Codeacademy, Coursera, Big Data University, and Udacity as well as real world use cases and inspiration on how to build with our Watson services.

There has never been a better time to build a foundation in artificial intelligence and enter the cognitive era. Apply today for the new AI Nanodegree program –and go here to learn more!


Learn more about the new AI Nanodegree program

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