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Microsoft Rolls Out Free AI Training With Professional Certification


Microsoft has recently launched an AI Skills Initiative under its Skills for Jobs program, with the objective of making AI skills accessible to people all around the world. This initiative addresses the increasing demand for AI skills in the digital economy and aims to empower individuals to effectively utilize AI to its full potential.


Generative AI Skills Rank Among The Top Three Training Priorities For Companies

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, AI skills are ranked as the third most important priority for companies when it comes to training strategies, right after analytical and creative thinking skills. In response to this demand, Microsoft's AI Skills Initiative is taking several steps, such as providing free coursework in collaboration with LinkedIn, introducing an open global grant challenge in partnership with data.org, and offering free digital learning events and resources to enhance people's fluency in AI. The ultimate goal is to equip individuals with the knowledge and expertise needed to embrace and succeed in the world of artificial intelligence.


Microsoft's response to a common workplace issue, where employees spend a significant amount of time searching for information, is through their new AI Skills Initiative. This program aims to address the growing demand for AI skills in the workforce, empowering individuals to use AI effectively and reduce their workload.


The Work Trend Index by Microsoft revealed that 62% of workers spend excessive time searching for information during their workday. Despite some concerns about AI replacing jobs, 70% of people would willingly delegate tasks to AI to ease their workload. The AI Skills Initiative aims to close this gap by enabling workers to leverage AI technologies to adapt to emerging skills requirements.


One distinctive aspect of skills training specific to generative AI is the concept of prompt engineering, as pointed out by Shravan Goli, the Chief Operating Officer at Coursera, in an email to TechRepublic.


Goli explained that unlike other enterprise software, generative AI tools require users to train the tool itself. Having effective prompts is crucial for these tools to significantly enhance productivity for employees, making increased productivity one of the most promising benefits of generative AI for workers today.


A key element of the initiative is the Generative AI Skills Grant Challenge, which encourages the development of training strategies for generative AI. In collaboration with data.org, Microsoft's AI for Good Lab, and GitHub, this challenge targets non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and research or academic institutions. The focus is on promoting fair and community-led implementations of generative AI, especially within historically marginalized populations. Participants will receive financial support, access to Microsoft events, Azure-based cloud computing resources, and technical guidance from Microsoft and GitHub experts. The overall goal is to foster the responsible and inclusive adoption of generative AI.


As part of its ongoing Skills for Jobs program, Microsoft is taking further strides to democratize AI skills globally. They have teamed up with LinkedIn Learning to launch the first-ever Professional Certificate on Generative AI in the online learning market. This course will equip learners with essential AI concepts, emphasizing responsible AI frameworks. Successful completion of the course will earn learners a Career Essentials certificate, and it will be available in multiple languages for free until 2025.


What Is In This AI Training Course?


The course titled "Career Essentials in Generative AI by Microsoft and LinkedIn" comprises five instructional videos, totaling approximately four hours in duration. These training videos cover the following topics:


  1. Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

  2. What is Generative AI?

  3. Generative AI: The Evolution of Thoughtful Online Search

  4. Streamlining Your Work with Microsoft Bing Chat

  5. Ethics in the Age of Generative AI


To obtain the professional certificate in Generative AI, participants are required to watch all the instructional videos in their entirety. The exam becomes available only after completing the entire training.


After successfully passing the exam, learners will promptly receive their certificate. They can then showcase it on their LinkedIn profiles and share the achievement with their professional network.


Another aspect of the initiative is the introduction of a trainer toolkit designed for teachers, trainers, and facilitators. This toolkit aims to provide local communities with valuable skilling resources and training. Additionally, Microsoft is rolling out the Microsoft Learn AI Skills Challenge, which offers free technical training starting on July 17th.


Microsoft's Skills for Jobs program has already made significant progress in bringing digital skills to people worldwide, particularly focusing on new and in-demand jobs in the digital economy. The AI skills training initiative is the next step in this effort, leveraging the transformative potential of AI. Brad Smith, Microsoft's President and Vice Chair, emphasizes the immense potential of AI for the betterment of humanity. However, realizing this potential depends on equipping people with the skills to use AI responsibly and effectively. Microsoft's latest initiative marks an encouraging first step on this exciting journey.



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