Tesla CEO Elon Musk has compared artificial intelligence (AI) to “summoning a demon”. He has also referred to AI as the biggest existential threat to mankind. It’s difficult to say whether his fears over artificial intelligence have any ground. The field of AI is still new and not fully mature yet.
What we CAN say is that artificial intelligence already has a myriad of applications. Applications that can revolutionize entire industries. And, as a result, industry experts in AI are sought after like needles in a haystack.
Artificial intelligence’s goal has always been simple: To help humans work more efficiently by taking on some of their tasks. It’s achieved by AI programs utilizing some very human-like characteristics themselves.
In the following video, you’ll see Robert Downey Jr. detailing some of the most fascinating applications of artificial intelligence:
Learning artificial intelligence isn’t easy (and likely never will be). Yet, it’s more accessible now than ever before. That is because of the superb choice of available online classes. These classes cover not only AI, but also topics such as machine learning and deep learning.
Neural networks and natural language processing (NLP) go hand-in-hand with AI. Thus, try not to restrict yourself with a lazer-focused course on AI. Also keep in mind that becoming an AI student isn’t limited to technical know-how. While the code may be important, the ethics, theory, and purpose of an AI system is as essential a subject.
If you happen to be looking for the top artificial intelligence courses, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of them below. They vary in the focus and field of artificial intelligence. Yet, they all serve as excellent glimpses into to the world of AI.
What is the Best Course for Artificial Intelligence?
These are the best artificial intelligence (AI) courses:
- AI Programming with Python Nanodegree (Udacity)
- AI For Everyone by Andrew Ng (Coursera)
- AI & Machine Learning Engineering Career Track (Springboard)
- Artificial Intelligence for Trading Nanodegree (Udacity)
- Artificial Intelligence A-Z: Learn How to Build an AI (Udemy)
- ColumbiaX’s Artificial Intelligence MicroMasters Program (edX)
- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (edX)
- Google AI Education
- Artificial Intelligence: Reinforcement Learning in Python (Udemy)
- The Beginner’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence in Unity (Udemy)
We’ve picked these courses based on the different needs that you might have for learning AI online. Thus, there are suitable courses on this list for all levels of experience. That is whether you’re a beginner, software engineer, or a non-technical business owner. Now, let’s have a closer look at each of the top choices.
AI Programming with Python Nanodegree (Udacity)
A 3-month intensive course that covers all the must-knows of AI.
“AI Programming with Python Nanodegree” is a superb beginner-oriented AI course on Udacity. It’s a 3-month crash course that teaches using Python for developing learning algorithms. Udacity accepts all students into this program regardless of their prior experience. Yet, a basic knowledge of algebra and programming are recommended. But, learners who don’t know Python programming can take Udacity’s “Intro to Programming“. This course covers general-purpose programming and all the prerequisites for the AI course.
During the three months when you take this course, you will learn many essential A.I subjects. Subjects such as Jupyter, NumPy, Anaconda, Pandas, and Matplotlib. As you might have noticed, some of these topics focus on data science and data analysis. Indeed, this program covers various data science concepts that relate to learning algorithms. These topics might seem unrelated to your goals at first. Yet, as you start to learn AI, you will realize the importance of big data in artificial intelligence.
This class is one of the best examples of a superb artificial intelligence course. It’s easy to follow, beginner-friendly, and very engaging. It’s not the cheapest of the bunch, that’s for sure. Yet, the fact that it’s based on a monthly subscription opens up some opportunities. If you work hard and finish the syllabus quicker than planned, you can graduate in 1-2 months. In this way, you can avoid 1 or 2 monthly payments.
AI For Everyone by Andrew Ng (Coursera)
A 9-hour crash course led by AI influencer and Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng.
“AI For Everyone” is a legendary artificial intelligence course. It’s led by Andrew Ng – the co-founder of Coursera. This class, together with Andrew’s “Machine Learning” course introduced Coursera to the masses. Coursera is now worth more than $1 billion, and it’s not showing any signs of stopping.
Now, back to this artificial intelligence course. Why is it so popular? Well, that’s because of Andrew Ng. Simple as that. He is a huge influencer, pioneer, and keynote speaker in the artificial intelligence community. With massive AI projects such as the AI Fund and Landing AI under his control, Andrew Ng is THE person to learn from. At least when it comes to anything related to AI, machine learning and deep learning.
I can’t stress enough the value of this course for any computer scientist. Yet, its value is not at all limited to computer science. In fact, Andrew Ng developed this AI course with business applications in mind. After all, AI has massive benefits in business performance. Any business owner who sees value in AI should take this program.
This is one of the best AI courses out there. That is due to its one-of-a-kind instructor, course material, and accessibility. And, it’s not restricted to software engineers or computer scientists. We recommend this as a top choice to anyone with an interest in AI.
AI & Machine Learning Engineering Career Track (Springboard)
A massive 400-hour AI course that guarantees job offers to all graduates.
“AI & Machine Learning Engineering Career Track” on Springboard is the next top pick. It’s a superb class for students who want to priotize career-building. That is because this course comes with a unique proposal. If you graduate from this course, you get an AI-related job offer within 6 months, guaranteed. Otherwise, you will get a full refund. Sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it?
This course offers good value for this job proposal alone. Yet, the high-quality curriculum adds even more value to it. It covers everything related to AI, deep learning and machine learning. No stone is left unturned in this course. Unsupervised learning techniques, natural language processing, ML algorithms – all the good stuff.
Is your end goal building a strong AI skill set and landing a lucrative job? If yes, then this is the course for you. You can’t go wrong with this one. When it comes AI tutorials, it deserves to rank among the very best. The only gripe I have with this course and Springboard in general, is their pricing. I would be more eager to take Springboard’s courses if the price tags were even a little cheaper. Still, with the guaranteed job offer – you’re getting some fantastic value for the money. Even if the price tag makes your eyes spin at the beginning.
Artificial Intelligence for Trading Nanodegree (Udacity)
A 6-month program that focuses on using artificial intelligence algorithms for financial decision-making.
Those that already have a grasp of programming languages such as Python and find themselves curious about the quantitative power of AI in the financial industry are best suited for this program.
One of the biggest contributions that AI can give to any business is its ability to process numbers. In this course, you will learn how to create a program that can process data and manage your portfolio, and you will dip your toes into deep learning for forecasting market trends. The entire course is focused on one specific use of artificial intelligence, which is its use in quantitative trading and the financial industry.
Some of the subjects covered in this online course include:
- Analyzing corporate filings to generate trading signals used for AI programs
- Using neural networks to generate trading signals
- Creating algorithms to execute trading orders
- Using stock news data in AI algorithms
With a specialization in the financial capabilities of artificial intelligence, Artificial Intelligence for Trading by Udacity can effectively combine the pragmatic approach of AI with the numbers-driven game of financial forecasting to give an education like no other. If you’re looking to improve your day-trading through automation, then this will be a course with lots of value to you. Those who want to learn the financial aspect of artificial intelligence will find this AI course amongst the best available, as it’s one of the very few courses available that tackle AI from a strictly financial standpoint.
Artificial Intelligence A-Z: Learn How to Build an AI (Udemy)
A 17-hour AI course from Kirill Eremenko, the founder of SuperDataScience.
Artificial Intelligence A-Z™: Learn How to Build an AI is a great AI crash course from Kiril Eremenko. Kiril is the data scientist behind SuperDataScience, a popular data science online learning platform.
This class is a superb choice for anyone wanting to get into the nitty-gritty of AI. It’s very beginner friendly, as the course curriculum covers all the basics of AI. In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of AI, its practical applications, and the theory behind it. Also, you’ll learn about models that power AI applications such as self-driving cars. Above all, you will learn how to solve real-world problems with the help of artificial intelligence. The curriculum has a good length, and there are more topics covered in it than many beginner AI courses.
If you’ve ever wanted a crash course on how to build your very own AI as a beginner, then this is a course that will suit you best. It gives a thorough overview of why AI matters and how you can leverage it for your own purposes. All the while presenting it in an accessible way. It’s backed by expert knowledge, it’s easy to follow, and the knowledge will help you long after you finish the course. This is one of the most comprehensive and popular courses for beginners to learn AI systems.
ColumbiaX's Artificial Intelligence MicroMasters Program (edX)
A 1-year AI training program that's comparable to a Master's degree.
This course is intended for students who have basic knowledge in statistics, algebra, calculus, and Python. The most important of these prerequisites could be considered knowledge in Python, as the homework assignments throughout the course all require the usage of Python.
The course syllabus starts off with introductory lectures on artificial intelligence and its history. After these introductory sessions, though, the course material gets more technical, with topics such as:
- Uninformed, heuristic, and adversarial searches
- Machine learning models
- Deep learning models
- Natural language processing AI applications
- Vision & Robotic AI applications
Due to the hands-on nature of the course, students will be able to build practical expertise during the numerous student projects which are scattered throughout the online course. At first, students will build a basic search agent, before moving onto developing more complex artificial intelligence applications such as games and linear regression models.
Columbia University’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) course is all-inclusive, and it contains lots of useful hands-on exercises for the students. While this course is not a good suit for students who have no experience with Python, it IS a great resource for all those who feel comfortable in Python, and want to learn to build AI applications. It’s one of the best artificial intelligence courses for building Python-based applications.
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (edX)
A Microsoft-led AI class that's free to take. NOTE: this online program has been discontinued as of 2020.
Anyone who’s ever wanted to refine their programming skills by learning Microsoft’s very own cloud computing program can benefit from this course. While it’s introductory in nature, a basic familiarity with programming languages (especially Python) is still recommended.
One of the most important things you’ll learn from this course is the different avenues through which machines and humans can interact with each other. It starts off by teaching you the foundational mechanics of how people and computers behave. Then, it uses that overview to help you build a framework for making your AI more human-like, and uses that framework to create basic programs and bots that can communicate with people. A large part of the course revolves around machine learning and using that to apply to things like text, audio, and video, helping your AI program communicate effectively with a human user.
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence by edX is an excellent AI course for those who want to build AI programs on the Microsoft Azure platform. It’s extremely handy when it comes to building websites and databases that need some sort of digital assistance without having actual staff on call. The course is free and assistance is provided to help you get used to the Azure platform, giving you a clear path to follow even after the course is complete.
Google AI Education
A free Google-led AI training program for beginners.
Anyone who’s ever wanted to get their start in artificial intelligence can take this course. Specially crafted by Google’s engineers to be as accessible as possible, it slowly provides you with compounding knowledge on coding AI, eventually leading you to the point of being able to code artificial intelligence programs by yourself.
This is a series of courses, guides, and concept overviews created by Google which aim to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge in artificial intelligence and all topics related to it.
Google’s had a long track record of using artificial intelligence within its services, and they’ve made the framework behind that technology accessible with this course. Learn artificial intelligence online with Google’s top engineers in courses that cover everything from the code to the ethics behind using AI programs.
All the courses contain sample codes, quizzes, and helpful examples which are designed to make artificial intelligence as easy to grasp for beginners as possible.
If you’re looking for a free artificial intelligence course that gives you a running-start, then Google AI Education is where you want to be looking. They’re a good mixture of lectures, hands-on programming exercises, and quick guides that you can use long after the course is done. This AI course also earned the #1 top spot in a review by Forbes, and for good reason. It truly is one of the best free artificial intelligence courses currently available.
Artificial Intelligence: Reinforcement Learning in Python (Udemy)
A top AI online course for reinforcement learning algorithms.
Those who already have a strong grasp of the basics of the theoretical and technical aspects of AI are best suited for this course. Students are also required to have prior knowledge in calculus, probability, object-oriented programming, Python, Numpy, linear regression, and gradient descent. The course material covered here is highly technical, and there are no introductory .
If you already have prior knowledge in AI, then this is a course which will help you take your expertise even further. This AI course moves straight into the technical details, while also expanding on the psychology of what makes AI achieve such a human-like learning capacity. You’ll understand the different ways that AI’s can learn and evolve based on different situations. And, you’ll learn to use that to model a program that can be self-sufficient. The course also dives deep into the two other directions of A.I: machine learning and deep learning.
Artificial Intelligence: Reinforcement Learning in Python is an excellent expert-oriented AI course designed for programmers looking to improve their knowledge of Python-based AI reinforcement learning. The course covers all the essential building blocks of creating smarter and better AI systems while skipping the introductions. As one of the more intensive technical courses on this list, this is not a good AI tutorial for the inexperienced. However, it is one of the best artificial intelligence courses you can take if you already have a solid background in programming and want to develop complex applications which show that a self-learning AI is more than a simple machine.
The Beginner's Guide to Artificial Intelligence in Unity (Udemy)
A unique program that focuses on the applications of AI in game development.
Students who are familiar with C# and Unity and are interested in game development are perfect for this AI course.
The Beginner’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence in Unity will teach you:
- A general overview of AI and its uses in gaming
- How to create artificial intelligence programs in the Unity engine
- Programming artificially intelligent non-player characters in games
- Implementing A.I-related Unity Asset plugins into gaming projects
As you can see, all the material covered in this artificial intelligence course relates to gaming. By the end of the course, you will be able to program a variety of different AI applications into your Unity game projects, and you will have a comprehensive overview of the top options available to you.
This AI course is very niche-specific, as it only focuses on gaming-related artificial intelligence applications. If you’re a budding game developer who wants to add a touch of AI into your games, then this will be the best artificial intelligence course for your needs.
How do I Choose a Good Artificial Intelligence Course?
There are obvious differences in the requirements and goals of each course, and it’s recommended that you adjust your picks according to those differences. Of course, it’s always possible to start with the basics and move your way upwards from there, but it’s also important to keep in mind how much knowledge you actually need, amongst other choosing factors.
Before buying any of the best artificial intelligence courses on this list, try to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my learning goals?
- Do I prefer theoretical or practical learning?
- What is my experience level?
- Which online course platform suits me best?
What is the primary knowledge or skill that you wish to take away from the artificial intelligence online course?
Is it knowledge about the fundamentals of AI?
Perhaps it’s the ability to build real-world AI applications?
Or, maybe it’s how to build non-player characters through artificial intelligence in video games?
There are plenty of good reasons for choosing to study artificial intelligence online, and no reason is better than the other. What’s important, though, is that you identify your learning goals as soon as possible – before deciding on any specific course. All the courses on this list have vastly different learning goals from one another, despite all of them being called AI courses. It’s highly important that you find a course which correlates to your personal learning goals – otherwise, you will end up with knowledge you can’t use.
Theoretical vs. Practical Learning
It’s also critical that you pick a course that aligns with the way you prefer to learn. All of us have different styles of learning that can make certain courses easier or harder than others, and picking the right kind of instruction method can make all the difference. Some of these Al courses are more bent to media presentation while others stress hands-on learning, so it’ll be up to you to decide which learning method suits you best.
This point also closely correlates with the previous topic – your learning goals. If your ultimate goal is to develop your very own AI programs, then a hands-on type of practical learning approach will suit you best. If, however, your primary goal is to become familiar with the basics of AI without diving deep into the technical side of it, then you might prefer a beginner-oriented theoretical artificial intelligence online course. Think about what you really need from your course – and choose a course accordingly.
Naturally, your level of experience also plays a huge role in choosing an artificial intelligence online course. Many of the AI courses on this list are suitable for beginners, but not all of them. Some of them are designed from the ground up specifically for programmers, and those students who have no prior experience in programming will find themselves lost from the very beginning of the course syllabus.
Even if your end goal is to become a hands-on expert in the field of artificial intelligence who can build complex AI applications, then still try to choose a course which matches your CURRENT level of knowledge. If you have no prior experience in AI or programming, then start off with a basic course. You can always supplant your knowledge with more advanced courses. You wouldn’t start studying the basics of Spanish from a Ph.D. level Spanish linguistics course, would you?
Online Course Platforms
As you’ve probably already noticed, there are a vast number of online course platforms to choose from nowadays. None of them are “better” or “worse” than the other, but they all serve slightly different purposes.
Springboard, for example, focuses on online courses which are highly in-depth and cover absolutely all material related to a topic (in this case, artificial intelligence). They have very few courses available, and being admitted to these courses can be difficult. However, those who do manage to graduate from their courses will be as knowledgeable in the subject as any university graduate.
Udemy, however, is on the other side of the spectrum, as it focuses mostly on shorter online courses. These shorter courses often teach very specific niches of a single larger topic, such as the gaming-related AI course in this article. While Udemy does also have some lengthy courses available, their main target audience is students who wish to learn a topic quickly, affordably, and efficiently.
There are many more excellent platforms to choose from besides these two, but introducing them all is a topic for another time. Just keep in mind that each online course platform has strengths and weaknesses, and try to get a good understanding of the types of courses they have available before deciding on any specific platform.
Reasons to Learn Artificial Intelligence Online
There are plenty of excellent reasons to study artificial intelligence with online courses:
- AI is the future of technology
- Specialists of AI are in high demand
- Courses in AI are cheaper than a degree
AI is the future of technology
In the coming years, we may very well see a future where AI seeps into almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives. You could argue that it’s already happening. Many of our rudimentary processes today—the technology that powers our smartphones, our transport systems, and even our medical technology—are all influenced by the small advances and shifts in artificial intelligence.
Learning exactly what makes this field so fascinating and so useful to our problems today can be the key to unlocking the vast possibilities that technology has always provided. Using tech to make our machines more human has a wide variety of implications but at the end of the day, these machines still remain tools for our use.
Specialists of AI are in high demand
Artificial intelligence specialists are becoming the cornerstones of modern tech companies, and we don’t see this changing anytime soon. On the contrary – AI is still in the initial stages of growth, and we will see more and more companies starting to take advantage of it in the coming years. This is why right now is one of the best times to start studying artificial intelligence.
If you focus the next 10 years of your career on AI, you will become a true expert in the field, and you will have more job opportunities to choose from than anyone else in the information technology sector. And, of course- your salary will reflect this demand as well.
Courses in AI are cheaper than a degree
The average cost of an artificial intelligence degree is up to $42,917 for out of state residents, not taking into account all of the additional fees which come included with studying at university.
The most expensive artificial intelligence online courses, on the other hand, will only set you back a few thousand dollars. And, another advantage they have is saved time – even the lengthiest AI course on this list can be completed 3-4x quicker than a regular university degree.
People often say that students who graduate from an online course are not on the same level of knowledge as university graduates, but that is simply not the case. The best artificial intelligence course on this list packs 400 hours of content, together with extensive student projects, opportunities for further course progression, and a guaranteed job proposal.
Learning artificial intelligence online will save you both time and money, so think twice before going into student debt over a traditional university degree in AI. If you are ever looking for a place to learn artificial intelligence online, then take a look through this list of the best AI online courses.
At the end of the day, picking where to study artificial intelligence is entirely up to what you intend on using it for: either as a supplement to already existing knowledge; a primer on entering a new and exciting world of opportunities; or simply to inform your business decisions moving forward. The beautiful thing about artificial intelligence and online courses is there’s something for everyone, no matter their background or purpose.
Choosing any of the courses above gives you an artificial intelligence certification once you complete your training, allowing you to expand your business opportunities, make you more employable, and generally add to your skill set. While it’s still a very niche industry, taking an artificial intelligence course is an investment that will pay off in the long run, considering how fast the technology is growing and the potential for implementation in so many career fields.