The boom in artificial intelligence this past year has stirred a flurry of activity in the working world. A lot of professionals are wondering how they can learn AI and apply it to their jobs, while others are considering switching industries entirely to dive deeper into the world of AI.
That’s where AI-related boot camps and courses come in. In some situations, employers are reimbursing their employees who want to upskill, and in others, workers are seeking and paying for these courses themselves so they don’t fall behind in the ever changing world of this new technology.
It makes sense – the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22% growth in employment for AI and machine learning professionals in the U.S. by 2030, which is nearly three times the average occupational growth rate. Additionally, this AI surge holds the potential to add a substantial $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2035. McKinsey research shows that generative AI could enable automation of up to 70% of business activities across almost all occupations by 2030 and could add up to $4.4 trillion a year to the economy in productivity gains.
Places offering these courses, like Coursera and Codecademy, have seen enrollment grow exponentially, and in most cases set records for most interest in a course ever.
For example, learning platform for tech teams O’Reilly found that ChatGPT, prompt engineering, and AI live events made up 8 of the top 10 most registered for events and courses. “Writing effective prompts for ChatGPT” attracted double the registrants of O’Reilly’s Software Architecture Superstream series, which has been one of the most popular live event series for the last few years.
On Coursera, less than a week in, “Generative AI for Everyone” from DeepLearning.AI already has over 40,000 enrollments. The course will teach anyone, even non-technical people, how generative AI works, how it’s transforming work, and how to use it ethically.
“People are really hungry to learn about it and how to apply it in everyday work tasks,” said Marni Baker Stein, Coursera’s chief content officer. “The content has really stricken a chord and is driving demand.”
There are over 35 pieces of generative AI content on the platform that have a total of 500,000 enrollments. Other top courses include Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT by Vanderbilt University, Generative AI with Large Language Models, by DeepLearning.AI and Amazon Web Services, and Introduction to Generative AI by Google Cloud.
Baker Stein even takes some of the courses herself, like Generative AI for Everyone. “I use generative AI every day, and I wonder how do I get the right result? These courses help me with rapid experimentation.”
But she says they also have an ongoing challenge of making sure that the courses offered remain relevant, especially when AI is developing so rapidly with new tools out daily.
“There’s so much content out there being produced, and people really want to know what is the best thing for me right now in my role to solve the problem in front of me,” said Baker Stein. “We have to think about how to keep it fresh because some of this doesn’t have a long shelf life. We want to make sure we are keeping up with the curve, but that’s a challenge because it’s moving so fast.”
Similarly, Skillsoft’s Codecademy’s self-paced Intro to ChatGPT course, which launched in the spring, has been the company’s most popular course launch in history, driving four times more enrollments in its first week than the next most popular course launch. Enrollment in Codecademy’s Machine Learning/AI Engineer Career Path is up 55% year over year, according to the company. Average monthly code submissions, which measure engagement, is also up 100% year over year for the Machine Learning/AI Engineer Career Path.
“It’s everyone from students in college to experienced professionals that are taking these courses,” said Kunal Ahuja, general manager of Skillsoft’s Codecademy. “There’s a lot of new technology out there and people want to learn about it.”
Most of the people heading to Codecademy and Coursera are doing so on their own, and then adding their certifications to their resume or LinkedIn pages. But management consultancy Booz Allen, the top AI provider for the federal government that employs over 33,000 people, offers its own internal courses. These have helped grow the company’s AI workforce by 20% this last fiscal year.
“We want everyone in the organization to be AI conversant, understanding what AI is and the capabilities we have in this space,” said Jim Hemgen, strategic talent development lead at Booz Allen.
In less than a year, Booz Allen had 6,400 of its employees enroll in its AI Aware course which helps people understand what AI can do for them. It’s the fastest-growing course with the highest enrollment that the company has ever had. By the end of the year, it expects to exceed more than 10,000 enrollments.
AI Practitioner and AI Expert are Booz Allen’s next courses due out for employees who want to learn more about AI. The company expects around 2,000 employees to get to that depth of proficiency. And employees have taken advantage of Booz Allen’s FlexEd stipend for additional AI training – the company has noted a 337% increase for AI training over previous the year with two months remaining.
“Our employees have been preparing and building in this space,” said Hemgen. “We’re seeing huge success, with those taking this course stating they feel highly valued in our engagement surveys.”