The days when artificial intelligence was the stuff of science fiction are long gone. Whether it’s the virtual assistant on your mobile phone or the recommendations you get on Netflix, much of our everyday lives are dominated by AI.
But while its impact continues to grow, education and training around it hasn’t followed suit. 55% of businesses have reported an AI skills gap, while 67% anticipate that their need for these skills will only grow in the future.
“The UK is already facing important skill shortages in a series of occupations,” a report by PwC on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy states. “Our estimates of the net effect of AI on occupations suggest that these shortages may tend to increase further unless appropriate action is taken to develop the relevant skills of current and future workers.”
Appropriate action in this case clearly means an increase in education, but what exactly should that education look like? For many, the question is a daunting one. AI conjures images of complicated coding and intimidating algorithms. Providers looking to deliver AI training can be forgiven for fleeing in fear!
It doesn’t need to be like this though. While artificial intelligence can seem difficult, providers simply need to think about three key factors when considering qualifications dedicated to the subject.
When approaching a subject you’re unfamiliar with, it’s important to find credible collaborators who can fill any knowledge gaps. The qualification you run should be crafted by organisations who have been there and done that, knowing the subject inside out.
That’s a given, but in the case of a growing sector like AI, success is about more than just knowing your semantic annotation from your sentiment analysis. Understanding the industry – its needs, its future, its current gaps – is also of vital importance.
This knowledge is critical context, allowing you to understand not just what needs to be taught, but why, what it all leads up to. Without this expert insight, any AI education lacks direction and therefore its necessary impact.
One of the biggest challenges related to anything involving digital technology is identifying the correct language. And no, we’re not talking about English, Spanish, French or anything related to geographical regions!
Have you ever heard of Lisp? How about Java? Maybe C++? If these are completely alien to you, that’s absolutely fine. They’re languages that programmers use to write the code that dictates how the digital platforms and devices we use every day work.
However, the most important one – at least in the context of artificial intelligence – is Python. Created long before the dawn of AI, Python has become the most prominent language for AI because it’s perfect for large-scale data analysis and many AI frameworks now in operation have been built around it.
Python is by no means the only language used for AI, but those looking for a career in the sector will find it cropping up time and time again, so any education that uses it sets learners up for a bright future.
Those looking to learn skills in AI are likely to have some level of existing digital skills. They’ll be well versed in the world of cloud computing, digital communication and online learning, so it’s important to provide their education on those terms.
That means platforms that allow them to log on, communicate through chat functionality and learn at their own pace. By going either fully digital or taking a blended approach, providers can meet learners of digital qualifications in their environment and provide them not only with the right kind of curriculum, but also the right kind of delivery.
It’s this line of thinking that’s informed Training Qualifications UK’s approach to our latest qualification. Set for launch in early 2022, the ‘TQUK Level 3 Certificate in Artificial Intelligence Programming with Python’ is the first qualification of its kind in the UK and allows learners to AI skills with the Python programming language.
The qualification has been created in conjunction with Udacity and marks the start of a long-running partnership between the two companies. Through Udacity’s online learning platform, learners can take advantage of a curriculum shaped by industry experts and progress under the mentorship of mentors who have real-world experience in the sector.
We’re really proud of the work we’ve done with Udacity and think you’ll be as excited as we are. You can find out more about it on our website or get in touch with us on [email protected] to find out more.