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Review of Coursera’s IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate

Looking to strengthen your skills in applying artificial intelligence? We’ve given IBM’s Applied AI Professional Certificate on Coursera a try – read on for our views on how this program combines theory and practice to help build your portfolio.

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Coursera Professional Certificate – IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate: Our Verdict (2024)

Course Rating

4.5 / 5

Dive into the realm of AI with the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate on Coursera. A beginner-friendly odyssey spanning seven courses, this program demystifies AI, from machine learning to building AI chatbots, all within a manageable three-month timeline. Perfect for those curious about AI's vast potential, it combines IBM Watson's cutting-edge technology with practical Python skills. Engage in hands-on projects and emerge with not just knowledge but real-world AI prowess. Ideal for career starters or upskillers, this certificate is your launchpad into the future of technology.


  • Professional-level training
  • Beginner level
  • IBM certificate and digital badge
  • Suitable for technical and non-technical backgrounds
  • Introductory Python course


  • Not included in Coursera Plus
  • No university credits
  • Limited advanced topics
  • Assessment rigidity

Time-limited offer
$100 USD off your first year of Coursera Plus Annual (expires 1 April 2024)

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping our world, offering innovative solutions across various sectors. The IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate on Coursera is a comprehensive program designed to introduce learners to the vast and evolving landscape of AI. This course stands as an entryway into understanding and applying AI technologies, offering valuable insights into how AI can learn, interpret data, and make intelligent decisions. It’s tailored not only for those with a technical background but also for beginners eager to explore the world of AI.

The IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate displayed on the Coursera platform
The IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate on Coursera

The program aims to demystify the complexities of AI. Delivered in collaboration with IBM, the focus is on using their Watson AI products, but much of the course material also has a wider applicability. It’s structured to provide a foundational understanding of AI principles and their practical applications, thus enabling a diverse range of learners to grasp the core concepts of AI. This course is a blend of theoretical knowledge and real-world applications, emphasizing how AI is transforming industries like healthcare, finance, and more and preparing participants for a future deeply integrated with AI technologies.

Table of Contents

Course overview

The IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate is a beginner-friendly program spanning over seven courses, designed to give a comprehensive overview of AI, starting from the basics and advancing to more complex concepts. Learners will explore a variety of topics, including machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, AI chatbots, and computer vision.

One of the key highlights of the program is its practical approach, leveraging IBM Watson AI services and Python programming to create AI-powered solutions with minimal coding. This aspect is particularly beneficial for those looking to apply AI in real-world scenarios without delving deep into the complexities of AI algorithms and coding. The program includes several hands-on projects, such as building AI chatbots, developing custom image classifiers, and creating computer vision applications, all aimed at reinforcing the learning experience.

In terms of time commitment, the program is structured to be completed within 3 to 6 months, with an estimated weekly engagement of 10 hours. This pacing allows learners to thoroughly absorb the material without feeling overwhelmed. The course sequence, while flexible, is designed to build upon each module, making it advisable to follow the recommended order.

Upon completion, participants will receive not only a Professional Certificate from Coursera but also a digital badge from IBM, recognizing their proficiency in applied AI. This certification can open doors to various career opportunities in the field of AI, such as AI developer, data scientist, machine learning engineer, and more.

The IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate is an ideal choice for anyone looking to gain a solid foundation in AI and its applications, whether they are students, developers, technology consultants, or simply AI enthusiasts. With its practical focus and industry-aligned curriculum, the course prepares learners to be at the forefront of AI advancements and applications.

Some of the course instructors listed for the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate
Some of the course instructors

Is the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate worth the cost?

The IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate on Coursera requires a three-month commitment with an estimated 10 hours of study per week. The monthly subscription cost is $49, totaling around $147 for the entire course. However, if you’re able to complete the course in less than three months, you can save on the course fees. This program offers a detailed AI curriculum and practical experience with IBM Watson and Python, catering to both beginners and those seeking to broaden their AI expertise, and as such, provides a good value for money.

Note that IBM Professional Certificates are not part of the Coursera Plus subscription. Individual courses within the certificate can also be purchased for lifetime access, though this option might increase the overall expense.

The course can be audited for free, providing access to most educational materials. While this is a good way of getting acquainted with the program, this option does not include hands-on exercises or a completion certificate. Full participation and certification require enrollment in the paid version, which should be considered based on personal learning objectives and the value you place on the certificate and hands-on learning.

Detailed review

The program comprises seven courses, each focusing on different fundamentals of AI, suitable for beginners. It is advisable to complete the courses in the suggested order to fully grasp the concepts. Next, we’ll examine the distinct features and educational outcomes of each course.

  1. Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Generative AI: Introduction and Applications
  3. Generative AI: Prompt Engineering Basics
  4. Building AI-Powered Chatbots Without Programming
  5. Python for Data Science, AI & Development
  6. Developing AI Applications with Python and Flask
  7. Building AI Applications with Watson APIs

Course 1: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)” course is the foundational pillar of the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate. It’s tailored for a broad audience, welcoming anyone from absolute beginners to those with some prior knowledge in the tech field. This course does an excellent job of demystifying AI by breaking down complex concepts into digestible segments. It covers the essential AI concepts and terms such as machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks, along with an exploration of AI use cases and applications.

A video lesson providing an introduction to Artificial Intelligence concepts
Video lesson introducing AI

One of the strengths of this course is its emphasis on the ethical and societal implications of AI, including discussions on bias and job impacts. This broader perspective equips learners with a well-rounded understanding of AI beyond just the technical aspects. The course also includes a practical mini-project, allowing students to apply what they’ve learned.

However, beginners might find certain sections challenging due to the technical terminology used. It would be beneficial for learners to supplement their studies with additional resources to fully grasp these concepts. The course’s blend of videos, readings, and quizzes caters to different learning styles, ensuring a comprehensive educational experience.

Course 2: Generative AI – Introduction and Applications

“Generative AI: Introduction and Applications” is a fascinating exploration into the world of generative AI. The course is designed to be accessible to a diverse audience, including professionals, executives, students, and enthusiasts. It examines the fundamental principles and the evolution of generative AI, addressing its various capabilities in creating content across different domains like text, images, and audio.

The course shines in its ability to translate complex ideas into more understandable concepts. Learners are introduced to features and functionalities of trending yet generative AI models and tools, such as GPT, DALL-E, Synthesia, and Stable Diffusion. The practical aspect is a significant component, with hands-on labs that allow students to experiment with generative AI tools. This interactive approach helps solidify understanding and stimulates engagement.

While the course is well-paced and thorough, beginners in AI may find some sections to require a deeper dive. The course could benefit from additional explanatory content in these areas. Despite this, it remains an engaging and insightful course that successfully balances theoretical knowledge with real-world applications.

A hands-on lab session demonstrating text generation using generative AI techniques
Hands-on-lab on generating text using generative AI

Course 3: Generative AI – Prompt Engineering Basics

The “Generative AI: Prompt Engineering Basics” course offers a focused journey into the nuances of guiding generative AI models using effective prompt engineering techniques. This course is vital for anyone interested in maximizing the potential of generative AI tools. It provides a deep dive into the methodologies for crafting prompts, ensuring that AI models produce relevant and desired outputs.

The course content is well-structured, presenting a balanced mix of theoretical knowledge and practical application. The techniques and best practices for writing effective prompts are articulated, making complex ideas accessible. Learners are introduced to various prompt engineering approaches, such as Interview Patterns, Chain-of-Thought, and Tree-of-Thought, which are crucial for generating precise responses from AI models.

For newcomers to AI or prompt engineering, some segments of the course might be challenging. A slower pace in these sections or additional supportive material could enhance the learning experience. However, the inclusion of hands-on labs provides a tangible way to apply and understand the concepts, making it a comprehensive and instructive course for those looking to delve deeper into the art of prompt engineering in generative AI.

Course 4: Building AI Powered Chatbots Without Programming

The “Building AI-Powered Chatbots Without Programming” course is a remarkable addition to the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate, designed to make chatbot development accessible to a broader audience, including those without extensive programming skills. This course focuses on leveraging AI capabilities through intuitive tools and platforms, allowing learners to create functional and sophisticated chatbots with ease.

The course excellently navigates the basics of chatbot construction, emphasizing the use of AI-driven tools that simplify the chatbot development process. It combines theoretical knowledge with practical applications, ensuring learners can implement what they’ve learned in real-world scenarios. The course is particularly beneficial for those interested in exploring AI’s potential in customer service, marketing, or any sector where automated interaction can enhance efficiency and engagement.

A final exam featuring a graded quiz on constructing AI-powered chatbots
Final exam: Graded quiz on building AI-powered chatbots

While it excels in providing a solid foundation in chatbot development, the course might not delve deeply into the underlying programming concepts. This approach is great for beginners but might be less challenging for those with a strong technical background. However, its focus on practicality and application makes it a valuable learning experience for anyone interested in the field of AI and chatbot technology.

Course 5: Python for Data Science, AI & Development

“Python for Data Science, AI & Development” serves as a comprehensive introduction to Python and its applications in data science and AI. The course is meticulously structured to cater to beginners, offering an understandable and clear pathway into the world of Python programming. It covers the basics of Python and gradually moves into its application in data handling and simple AI algorithm implementation.

The course presents material in a user-friendly manner, using practical examples to enhance comprehension. It’s an ideal starting point for those new to programming or Python, providing a foundational understanding of one of the most important languages in data science and AI. The course is an excellent bridge for learners transitioning from a non-programming background, offering resources and teaching methods that make the learning curve less steep.

However, those with prior programming experience might find the initial modules somewhat basic. Similarly, learners seeking advanced insights into Python’s deeper capabilities in AI might need to supplement this course with additional resources. Nonetheless, for its intended audience, the course is a well-rounded introduction to Python in the context of AI and data science.

Course 6: Developing AI Applications with Python and Flask

“Developing AI Applications with Python and Flask” is an insightful course that blends Python’s AI capabilities with Flask’s web development tools. It offers a hands-on approach to building functional AI applications with web interfaces, making it an invaluable resource for those interested in the intersection of AI and web development.

The course is well-structured, guiding learners through the process of integrating Python’s AI functionalities with Flask’s features. It’s particularly beneficial for those looking to create AI-driven web applications, providing practical insights into the development process. The course covers the basics of Flask and demonstrates how to effectively use Python for AI applications within a web framework.

While the course is comprehensive in its scope, individuals seeking a deeper exploration of AI algorithms or advanced Flask functionalities might find it somewhat introductory. Additionally, those new to Python or Flask may require supplementary learning materials to fully grasp the more complex aspects of the course. Nevertheless, it serves as a practical guide for combining AI with web development, offering valuable skills for modern web and AI developers.

Course 7: Building AI Applications with Watson APIs

The course “Building AI Applications with Watson APIs” is an engaging exploration into the world of IBM’s Watson AI services. It focuses on utilizing Watson APIs to integrate AI functionalities into various applications, covering a wide range of areas, including natural language processing and visual recognition.

This concluding course is structured to provide a practical understanding of how to leverage Watson’s suite of APIs effectively. It guides learners through the process of building AI-powered applications, offering insights into the potential applications of these technologies in various contexts. The course includes hands-on projects, such as creating a chatbot and integrating it with Watson Discovery, providing learners with a real-world application of the skills acquired.

Hands-on lab on adding discovery to the chatbot

The course is ideal for those looking to understand how to apply AI in practical settings, especially using IBM Watson’s capabilities. However, it may not explore deeply the technical intricacies of each API or the advanced aspects of AI algorithm development. For learners without prior experience in using IBM Watson or similar platforms, some additional learning resources may be beneficial. Overall, the course offers a valuable opportunity to gain practical skills in AI application development, making it a significant addition to the professional certificate program.

What do others say?

Feedback on the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate paints a picture of appreciation mixed with a few challenges. Coursera users praise its in-depth coverage of IBM Watson and the practicality of hands-on exercises, especially for skills like chatbot development. Yet, some find the course demanding, noting that its intensity and length can be challenging, particularly for AI novices or those with time constraints.

Reddit contributors echo these views, lauding the course’s relevance in AI but advising additional resources for a fuller understanding and real-world application. They recommend industry materials and practice exercises to enhance learning, especially for those eyeing professional or certification pursuits.

In essence, the program is seen as comprehensive and insightful in AI and machine learning. However, it demands significant commitment, and supplementary learning resources are often suggested for a more rounded grasp of the subject, especially for those newer to the field.

Alternatives and complements to this certificate

While the “IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate” on Coursera offers a comprehensive journey into AI, there exist alternative routes and complementary resources for learners eager to expand their understanding. For those with pre-existing knowledge in the area, a more advanced program that can help you bring your expertise to another level is the “IBM AI Engineering Professional Certificate,” also on Coursera.

Self-study using industry-specific documentation, research papers, or additional online courses could complement this certificate. Platforms like Udemy host courses such as “Deep Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Artificial Neural Networks” that provide focused insights into specific AI applications, though they might lack the comprehensive structure and practical exercises and portfolio projects of a Coursera program.

Additionally, Pluralsight offers an array of AI-related courses that could supplement learning. Their “AI Foundations” learning path covers various AI topics, providing diverse content but potentially lacking the structured progression found in a Coursera professional certificate program.

However, for learners seeking a course that balances comprehensive content, practical application, and alignment with industry standards, the “IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate” stands as a strong choice. Its structured curriculum, hands-on projects, and industry-aligned approach offer a robust foundation for those aiming to delve into AI with a structured learning path.


The “IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate” emerges as a useful educational option in the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence. With its structured curriculum and a practical approach, underscored by hands-on projects and real-world applications, the program stands out as a robust foundation for anyone looking to delve into or expand their knowledge in AI.

It’s important to recognize, however, that embarking on this journey requires a substantial commitment, not only in terms of time but also in dedication to assimilating and applying the concepts. The course’s in-depth exploration of AI, from fundamental principles to advanced applications using tools like IBM Watson, caters well to a range of learners – from those just starting to professionals seeking to enhance their skills in this dynamic field.

The true value of this Professional Certificate lies in its alignment with individual career goals and aspirations. For those dedicated to mastering AI principles and applications and willing to invest the necessary time and effort, this program can be a pivotal step in their professional development. It offers a pathway not just to understand AI but to actively participate in and contribute to the field, opening doors to numerous opportunities in a variety of industries where AI is increasingly indispensable.

In summary, the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate is a well-rounded and intensive program that can provide significant benefits to committed learners, setting a strong foundation for a career in the burgeoning world of artificial intelligence.

Time-limited offer
$100 USD off your first year of Coursera Plus Annual (expires 1 April 2024)