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Review of Coursera’s IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate

Discover the power of machine learning with Coursera's IBM Machine Learning Certificate, from the basics to deep learning. Check our review to see if this might be a good option for you!

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Coursera Professional Certificate – IBM Machine Learning: Our Verdict (2024)

Course Rating

4.8 / 5

The IBM Machine Learning is an intermediate-level professional certificate on Coursera, offering a comprehensive curriculum to prepare you for a career in machine learning. Over six courses, you will gain practical skills and theoretical understanding in AI, Python programming, and statistical analysis. Dive into topics like supervised, unsupervised, and deep learning with hands-on projects to reinforce your learning. Upon completion, you will earn a Professional Certificate from IBM (issued by Coursera), along with valuable career resources to support your job search. With a focus on applied learning and real-world skills development, this program equips you with the expertise needed to excel in machine learning roles.


  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Affordable cost and flexible schedule
  • IBM-issued certificate
  • In-demand skills
  • Career support


  • Intermediate level
  • Python, statistics, and linear algebra knowledge required
  • Not included in Coursera Plus
  • No university credits

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

Machine learning (ML) is the backbone of much of the recent technological advancement, allowing computers to learn from vast datasets and make data-driven decisions on their own. As a subset of artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms analyze patterns in data, enabling systems to evolve and improve over time without explicit programming. In today’s world, this is a vital area for engineers in diverse fields when navigating the complexities and possibilities of artificial intelligence. It helps us understand big data, decipher patterns, and make smart systems that learn and grow on their own.

The IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate on Coursera focuses on essential machine learning concepts and techniques. From supervised and unsupervised learning to regression, classification, and deep learning, you will explore the foundational principles that underpin this rapidly evolving field. Through hands-on projects and practical exercises, you will gain proficiency in industry-standard tools like Jupyter Notebooks and libraries such as Pandas, NumPy, and TensorFlow.

Join us on this transformative journey as we explore the limitless possibilities of machine learning together. In this review, we will look at what the course covers and how well it prepares you for working in this field.

The IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate available on Coursera
The IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate on Coursera

Table of Contents

Course overview

The IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate, available on Coursera, offers an immersive exploration of machine learning fundamentals and practical applications. Spanning six comprehensive courses, this program equips learners with the tools and techniques needed to excel in the dynamic field of machine learning.

Participants will be taught a range of topics such as supervised and unsupervised learning, regression, classification, and deep learning, gaining hands-on experience with industry-standard tools and libraries. Through a series of projects and assignments, learners hone their skills and culminate their journey with a capstone project, applying their newfound knowledge to solve real-world challenges and key algorithms, including KNN, PCA, and non-negative matrix collaborative filtering.

Upon completion, participants receive a Professional Certificate from IBM, validating their expertise in machine learning. Whether you are a student, developer, or consultant, this program provides a solid foundation for success in machine learning roles, with a focus on practical, real-world skills development. Join us and unlock the endless possibilities of machine learning today.

With access to career resources, including mock interviews and resume support, the course aims to leave you well-equipped to pursue exciting opportunities in machine learning roles.

Is the IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate worth the cost?

This certificate is priced at a monthly subscription of $49; the total cost would normally range from $98 to $147, depending on how fast you complete the course – it can normally be done in 2-3 months. This investment grants access to practical, hands-on projects with tools like IBM Watson and Python, key skills for machine learning. As with any course, the value of this investment depends on your professional goals and the importance you place on practical experience and certification. Consider if the skills and knowledge gained align with your career trajectory in machine learning.

Note that IBM Professional Certificates are not part of the Coursera Plus subscription, so you need to purchase access to this specific certificate. Individual courses within the certificate can also be purchased for lifetime access – depending on how fast you are planning to complete the program. This might end up saving you money, though for those with more time on their hands to complete it, it will likely increase the overall expense.

Note that there is also a free audit option, allowing prospective learners to access the course content without any financial commitment. However, this excludes hands-on exercises and the certificate.

Some of the course instructors

Detailed review

The program includes courses covering various aspects of Machine learning in six courses:

  1. Exploratory Data Analysis for Machine Learning
  2. Supervised Machine Learning: Regression
  3. Supervised Machine Learning: Classification
  4. Unsupervised Machine Learning
  5. Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning
  6. Machine Learning Capstone

Each course focuses on different fundamentals of machine learning and practical applications, suitable for beginners and experienced learners alike.

Course 1: Exploratory Data Analysis for Machine Learning

In the foundational course, “Exploratory Data Analysis for Machine Learning,” learners embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of data preparation and preliminary analysis. This course serves as a pivotal starting point in understanding the significance of quality data in machine learning endeavors. Through a blend of theoretical concepts and practical exercises, learners are equipped with essential skills in data retrieval, cleaning, and feature engineering.

Course 1 includes a video lesson covering machine learning and deep learning concepts
Course 1: Video lesson on machine learning and deep learning

The course curriculum encompasses various techniques to retrieve data from multiple sources, including SQL databases, NoSQL databases, APIs, and cloud platforms. Learners gain insights into common feature selection and engineering techniques, allowing them to handle categorical and ordinal features effectively. Moreover, the course delves into outlier detection and management, emphasizing the importance of data integrity in machine learning models.

One of the course’s strengths lies in its emphasis on hands-on learning, with learners actively engaged in applying learned techniques to diverse datasets. By the course’s conclusion, learners emerge with a solid understanding of feature scaling techniques and their significance in machine learning applications.

Ideal for aspiring data scientists and AI enthusiasts, this course lays a robust foundation for subsequent explorations in machine learning. While familiarity with Python programming and basic mathematical concepts is recommended, the course accommodates learners with varying backgrounds, ensuring accessibility for all. Upon completion, learners are well-equipped to tackle real-world machine learning challenges with confidence and proficiency.

Course 2: Supervised Machine Learning: Regression

In the immersive course, “Supervised Machine Learning: Regression,” learners delve into one of the main pillars of supervised machine learning: regression. The course offers a comprehensive exploration of regression models, empowering learners to predict continuous outcomes and compare models using error metrics effectively.

Through a combination of theoretical insights and practical exercises, learners gain proficiency in linear regression models and regularization techniques. The course emphasizes best practices in model evaluation, and the incorporation of various error metrics enables learners to evaluate model performance effectively, including train-test splits, and fosters an understanding of the role of regularization, such as using Ridge, LASSO, and Elastic net in preventing overfitting. Through clear explanations and practical examples, learners acquire the necessary knowledge to differentiate between classification and regression tasks and understand the nuances of linear regression models.

Course 2 offers a demonstration lecture on cross-validation techniques
Course 2: Demo lecture on cross validation

Accessible to learners with a foundational understanding of Python programming and data analysis, this course provides a stepping stone for aspiring data scientists seeking hands-on experience with regression techniques. By course completion, learners emerge equipped with the skills necessary to tackle real-world regression problems effectively.

Course 3: Supervised Machine Learning: Classification

The “Supervised Machine Learning: Classification” module within the IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate is an intermediate course for students with knowledge of Python and basic concepts in data cleaning, exploratory data analysis, and mathematics. Consisting of six modules, it offers a comprehensive exploration of classification algorithms, equipping learners with the skills necessary to tackle real-world business challenges effectively.

The course begins by differentiating between various uses and applications of classification and classification ensembles, setting the stage for a nuanced exploration of logistic regression models. Logistic regression, a cornerstone of classification algorithms, is dissected thoroughly, allowing learners to extend their understanding from linear regression to the realm of classification.

It covers a wide range of topics, including K Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machines, and Decision Trees. Each module provides theoretical insights accompanied by hands-on demonstrations, enabling learners to grasp the underlying principles and practical applications of these algorithms. One of the highlights of the course is the exploration of ensemble models, which enhance the robustness and generalization capabilities of classifiers. Learners gain a deep understanding of popular tree-based ensembles and the theory behind ensemble methods, paving the way for advanced applications in predictive modeling.

Moreover, the course addresses the challenge of handling unbalanced classes in datasets, introducing learners to techniques such as stratified sampling and novel approaches to model data effectively. By course completion, learners emerge equipped with a diverse toolkit of classification techniques, ready to tackle diverse business problems with confidence.

Course 4: Unsupervised Machine Learning

The fourth course in the professional certificate, ‘Unsupervised Machine Learning,’ is an intermediate-level course that uncovers insights from unlabeled data. It offers a comprehensive exploration of clustering and dimensionality reduction algorithms, empowering learners to extract meaningful patterns from complex datasets effectively.

Unlike supervised learning, where data comes with labeled outcomes, unsupervised learning deals with raw, unlabeled data. Through a blend of theoretical insights and practical exercises, learners gain proficiency in common clustering algorithms like K-means and hierarchical clustering, as well as dimensionality reduction techniques such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (t-SNE).

One of the key challenges in unsupervised learning is evaluating the performance of models since there are no ground-truth labels. This course addresses this challenge by providing learners with a deep understanding of metrics relevant to characterizing clusters. Learners also explore the curse of dimensionality and its implications for clustering, gaining insights into techniques for handling high-dimensional data effectively.

Course 4 features a graded quiz focusing on dimensionality reduction techniques
Course 4: Graded quiz on dimensionality reduction

Overall, this addition, of course, is for aspiring data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts by helping students gain the skills necessary to uncover hidden patterns in data and derive actionable insights. By course completion, learners emerge with a solid understanding of unsupervised learning techniques and their applications in real-world scenarios.

Course 5: Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning

In ‘Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning,’ students are offered insights about two of the most sought-after disciplines in machine learning. This course offers a comprehensive exploration of deep learning architectures and reinforcement learning techniques, empowering learners to tackle complex AI challenges effectively.

Deep learning, a subset of machine learning, has revolutionized various fields with its ability to learn complex patterns from large amounts of data. Learners gain proficiency in neural networks, convolutional neural networks (CNNs), and recurrent neural networks (RNNs), among other architectures. Additionally, the course introduces reinforcement learning, a type of machine learning where agents learn to make decisions by trial and error.

One good thing I really like about this course is that learners will be taught to develop a deep understanding of the theory behind neural networks and reinforcement learning algorithms, with a blend of theoretical concepts and practical exercises. The course’s hands-on approach ensures active engagement, with learners applying learned techniques to real-world applications such as image recognition, natural language processing, and game playing. Moreover, it is a pretty good course on its own or as a part of a professional certificate, and ideal for aspiring data scientists and AI enthusiasts by providing a solid foundation in deep learning and reinforcement learning techniques. By course completion, learners emerge equipped with the skills necessary to develop and deploy cutting-edge AI solutions.

Course 6: Machine Learning Capstone

In the culminating course, ‘Machine Learning Capstone,’ learners put their newfound skills to the test, tackling real-world machine learning projects with confidence. This course offers a comprehensive exploration of machine learning concepts and techniques, empowering learners to apply their knowledge to solve complex problems effectively by utilizing various Python-based machine learning libraries such as Pandas, scikit-learn, and TensorFlow/Keras to tackle real-world challenges in machine learning.

Throughout the course, participants engage in hands-on projects focused on building a course recommender system and analyzing course-related datasets. They learn to calculate cosine similarity, create similarity matrices, and develop recommendation systems using techniques like KNN, PCA, and non-negative matrix collaborative filtering. The capstone project serves as a culmination of the IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate program, allowing learners to showcase their expertise and creativity. Learners compare and contrast different machine learning algorithms, create recommender systems, and develop final projects using machine learning methods.

Course 6 includes a lab session demonstrating the implementation of a content-based course recommender system using user profiles and course genres
Course 6: Lab on content-based course recommender system using user profile and course genres

Additionally, students will gain experience in predicting course ratings by training and practicing on neural networks by constructing regression and classification models, along with the opportunity to build a Streamlit app to showcase their work and evaluate their performance. The course’s emphasis on real-world applications ensures relevance, with learners actively applying learned techniques to diverse projects. By course completion, learners emerge equipped with a portfolio of projects and a professional certificate, ready to embark on meaningful endeavors in the field.

What do others say?

Feedback on the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate is limited on Reddit, but Coursera users find it valuable. They appreciate its thorough explanation of data engineering principles and practical exercises in areas like Linux commands and ETL processes. However, some learners, especially newcomers or those with limited time, find it challenging due to its intensity and duration. Overall, it is seen positively for its comprehensive coverage but requires commitment and additional resources for those with time constraints.

Alternatives and complements to this certificate

If you think this course is not for you or if you are seeking to further enhance your machine learning skills beyond the IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate, several alternatives and complementary resources are available.
  • Demystifying Artificial Intelligence on Skillshare: If you are completely new to the field of artificial intelligence, you may benefit from this brief introductory course on Skillshare to get you better situated.
  • Other IBM Professional Certificates on Coursera: IBM offers several machine learning and AI-related Professional Certificates on Coursera that might be a better fit for you. I would recommend that you look at the IBM AI Engineering Professional Certificate and the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate.
  • IBM Deep Learning on edX: If you’re not a fan of Coursera’s platform, IBM also offers a related professional certificate on edX. The cost will likely end up being somewhat higher, but the resources and tools might be a better fit for you.
  • Professional Certificate in Machine Learning on Udemy: If looking for a cheaper alternative, this Udemy course provides a passable introduction to Machine Learning, including topics such as natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and reinforcement learning, although the quality of the instruction cannot be compared to the above options (nor does it feature much in the way of interactivity)
  • Google Machine Learning Engineer Professional Certificate on Coursera: For those who are working in Google’s environment rather than IBM, this is a good option for advanced learners.
  • Complementary literature: Books such as “Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning” by Christopher M. Bishop or the more recent “Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras, and TensorFlow” by Aurélien Géron offer in-depth theoretical insights and practical examples to supplement the knowledge gained from the certificate program.
  • Additional practice: Lastly, for individuals interested in gaining practical experience, participating in machine learning competitions on platforms like Kaggle or engaging in open-source projects can provide valuable hands-on learning opportunities and exposure to real-world challenges.


The IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate is a transformative journey into the heart of one of the most exciting fields of our time. Embarking on this educational journey will equip you with a multitude of skills in algorithms and data, unlocking the potential to shape the future.

With its comprehensive curriculum and hands-on projects, this certificate equips you with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of machine learning. It is a testament to your commitment to growth and innovation, and it opens doors to a world of possibilities. As you navigate the complexities of machine learning, it is important to recognize that this certificate signifies more than just skill acquisition. It embodies a mindset of curiosity, adaptability, and perpetual learning. Whether you are a seasoned professional seeking to maintain a competitive edge or an aspiring data scientist aiming to leave a lasting impact, take pride in the journey you are undertaking.

The certificate’s true merit lies in its capacity to align with your career aspirations. If you are serious about mastering machine learning and willing to invest the requisite time and dedication, this program holds significant potential for professional growth. Equipped with practical skills and theoretical understanding, graduates are poised to make meaningful contributions in a landscape where machine learning proficiency is increasingly indispensable across diverse industries.

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