Amazon Opens Machine Learning Coursework to All Developers

Amazon has opened up its machine-learning coursework to any developer who wants to explore the technology.

Considering that Amazon uses these materials to teach its in-house engineers, this is a pretty big deal. The e-commerce giant has made a point of improving many of its core processes and products through machine learning, including Alexa, its voice-activated digital assistant.

Amazon’s offering features 30 self-paced courses, complete with videos, labs, and text-based lessons. As with similar machine-learning tutorials, there’s an emphasis on how the technology’s fundamentals apply to actual scenarios; because these lessons were used to train Amazon’s in-house developers and engineers, the real-world examples include things like optimizing delivery routes.

The courses are free, but Amazon will charge tech pros to take the exam for a new AWS certification for machine learning (“AWS Certified Machine Learning—Specialty”). Amazon’s “Specialty” exams cost $300, although Amazon is offering half-off this machine-learning one for a limited time.

(If you’re interested in other AWS-related certifications, check out Dice’s primer on AWS Associate and Professional exams, which include some of the skills and platforms you’ll need to know.)

For those interested in machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.), but who don’t necessarily want to follow Amazon’s coursework, there are lots of other resources available. For example, Bloomberg offers a (free) online course in machine learning, designed for developers who already have some experience with the technology (it also requires a knowledge of pretty advanced mathematics). Google has a (likewise free) course with 25 lessons and more than 40 exercises; it takes around 15 hours to complete, and includes lots of video of Google engineers describing the nuances of A.I. and machine learning.

Then there’s Microsoft’s offering, a Professional Program for Artificial Intelligence with 10 online courses that teach 10 skills. If you want to go a nonprofit route, OpenAI (a foundation dedicated to creating an ethical framework for A.I. development), has lots of materials for more advanced A.I. students, including a variety of models and other tools for “training” artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms.

In other words, if you’re interested in machine learning, there’s no shortage of materials online to learn from. Take a look at Amazon’s offerings, but consider all your avenues.