Today, almost every industry is using AI in one form or the other to harness the advantages it offers. This has obviously piqued interest in AI and many of its related sub-domains. There is an ever-increasing demand for candidates experienced with AI specialist training or various Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning postgraduate programs and online Artificial Intelligence courses.
Before you jump into any of these programs or courses, know what Artificial Intelligence is, what are its building blocks, what are the foundational subjects that you should have sound knowledge of the applications of Artificial Intelligence in real life.
The sections that follow take a few minutes to describe what is Artificial Intelligence, its applications before delving into the prerequisites for building a career in Artificial Intelligence by taking advantage of such AI specialist training.
Let’s look at a formal definition of Artificial Intelligence from Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, “Artificial Intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines, unlike the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals, which involves consciousness and emotionality”.
In a more practical sense, Artificial Intelligence is the ability of man-made machines to perform tasks usually associated with an intelligent living being. The idea comes from the fact that the human brain uses its inbuilt memory, sensory organs and external data to learn over time and use this learning for any similar circumstances in the future. With the ability of machines to record and analyse varying types of data and the ability to store huge volumes of data increasing manifold, theoretically, it was possible to have machines make use of this data for decisions and predictions into the future.
Artificial Intelligence draws on concepts from various fields that include computer science, information engineering, psychology, mathematics, image processing, linguistics, philosophy, statistics and more.
You could only imagine how vast this domain can get. Artificial Intelligence is considered to be in its nascent stage. Research in Artificial Intelligence continues while applications of Artificial Intelligence are on the rise by the day. Unless you are aware of real-world applications of AI, you could not appreciate what goes into making an Artificial Intelligence-based app.
One of the most popular applications of artificial intelligence is face recognition. Almost all social media applications will have one or facial recognition features based on AI. So, what takes place behind the scenes of a face recognition app?
Firstly, all faces are captured within any given image, then individual facial features are stored as data in the form of face print. These are then used to compare against other images to recognize similar faces. These applications use deep learning algorithms to compare a live image to the ones that are stored and find the best match. There are 2 technologies at work, the first is image processing, and the other is deep learning or machine learning.
That was an example of a sub-domain of computer science - image processing being used in the AI application aside from core concepts of deep learning or machine learning.
The subjects that contribute to AI are many and vast in themselves, for those just getting started, you could enrol into courses like Computer Science, which take you through core computer science, mathematics, statistics and coding subjects, laying a strong foundation for building blocks of AI namely, Machine Learning and Deep Learning.
As mentioned earlier, AI applications have to bring together concepts from multiple subjects. An AI specialist is a computing expert who can program computers to simulate learning, thinking and make decisions on the fly.
An AI specialist is expected to have experience in the following fields:
AI specialists design and develop AI models using knowledge in any of the above domains. Many of the present-day AI applications need expertise in Machine Learning and any of the other domains of Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics. Programming is the other essential requirement for an AI specialist. Without programming knowledge, Machine Learning and Deep learning algorithms cannot be put into practice.
One other important requirement to become an AI specialist is the skill with data, typically big data.
Let’s further elaborate on each of these subjects.
You can also read: Top Programming Languages for Data Science
One of the primary skills expected of an AI specialist is programming.
Most AI specialists are experts at programming in Python, Java, C and R. Of these, Python is a popular choice because of its simplicity and versatility. Both Python and R are equipped with libraries that facilitate data analysis and statistical computing.
An AI specialist is expected to not only have a good hold on Linear Algebra, Probability and statistics but also be able to use these skills in real-world scenarios. Most of the AI models will involve some sort of statistical or mathematical computing. Probabilities are a big part of drawing inferences from a massive data set. AI algorithms employ mathematical and statistical models like Hidden Markov models, Gaussian mixture models, Naïve Bayes models, Linear discriminant analysis, matrices and more.
AI more often than not is about massive volumes of data. For issues with scalability and variety, many businesses are turning to big data. Therefore AI specialists would need to understand how the big data system works and the methods of collecting the data to run the AI model. Technologies like Apache Spark, Apache Hadoop, MongoDB, Cassandra among others are used with AI models.
AI specialists are expected to have a working knowledge of algorithms in Machine Learning/Deep Learning /Neural Networks, the main basic building blocks of AI. Algorithms include the likes of KNN, Linear Regression, Naïve Bayes, Support Vector Machine among others. There are several ML and deep learning frameworks in popular programming languages like Python, PyTorch, TensorFlow, etc.
A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Data Science or Statistics can build a strong foundation for a career in Artificial Intelligence. Most AI specialists possess a master's or doctoral in Computer Science or Cognitive Sciences.
A bachelor's degree will prepare you from the ground up and make you proficient in all the skills necessary for a strong foundation in AI. You may then take up post-graduate programs or courses that will equip you with specific skills in Artificial Intelligence. GreatLearning.com is a popular online training partner for courses that start from basics.
If you already have a computer science or related educational background and want to dive into AI, there are several courses to gain precise knowledge about each of the contributing subjects in AI. A good hold on data will be of great help to start with. There are several ways that you can deal with data based on the type of data.
For example, if it is massive data, which is typically the case, be well versed in the Big Data domain. A basic understanding of how the Big data system works can get you started. You should be able to figure your way out in the Big data mess, plugging into data pipes and streams to apply machine learning and deep learning algorithms on which your AI system is modelled on.
Those who have had no formal education in computer science can still take up post-graduate programs in Artificial Intelligence to AI specialist training if you think you possess the aptitude for computing technologies.
There are several courses that take you through the basics, right up to expert level on subjects that constitute Artificial Intelligence. Great Learning is one pioneer of online learning in the country and offers certificate programs in Artificial Intelligence courses at multiple levels.