So You Want to Learn Machine Learning? Want to create Artificial Intelligence? Read this!

With Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning Technologies making such an impact on almost every industry in the world, it’s only natural to take an interest. While you’re at it, why not make a career out of it? That would be a smart choice, because not only employment and great salary is guaranteed, you will be solving many important problems and helping humanity reach a new level. No PHD or master’s degree required! You don’t even need to go to college if you are good at what you do!

So, when you want to learn and become better at something, one of the biggest problems is to find the right place to start. This is especially true today, as there are SO MANY tutorials, courses, degrees, papers… I don’t claim this article will provide you with all the info necessary to completely master Machine Learning (at least not yet – this article will be updated weekly and hopefully become the ultimate guide to learning ML!), but it will get you on the right tracks.

A few more introductory words of wisdom: You may not like the first course or tutorial you find. Perhaps you won’t like the second either. You may return to the first one after a month to find it more interesting than the first time you encountered it, and it’s perfectly normal. A process of learning has its ups and downs, and it has plateaus, meaning that you will experience periods of stagnations and periods of wasting your time. You should recognise those periods quickly and try a different approach in order to get the most out of the study-hours you put into learning.

Okay, let’s get started.

 

The answer might be in your neighbourhood

 

1. Find a local ML community

All humans need a tribe to survive! We are a bit past traditional tribe systems, but the idea behind it still stands – life sure is easier in a community. From time to time you may stumble upon a problem that seems impossible to solve, that might even discourage you from machine learning, but a new pair of eyes might solve that same seemingly spooky issue in a minute. Of course – it’s polite to give back when you receive, so when you see a question that might seem almost ridiculous – answer it politely and help a fellow adventurer in need!

You can join your local ML nerdy tribe by searching for your city or country on School of Ai website.

We are The School of AI, and our mission is to offer a world-class AI education to anyone on Earth for free. Our doors are open to all those who wish to learn. We are a learning community that spans almost over 700 cities across the world, dedicated to teaching our students how to make a positive impact in the world using AI technology, whether that’s through employment or entrepreneurship.

School of Ai Logo

Director of the School of Ai is Siraj Raval, and I will also link to some of his guides as a source for learning.

 

Apart from joining your local School of Ai chapter, you can find other meetups and communities on meetup.com or search for a Facebook group if you prefer social media.

 

2. Find a local ML company

I was surprised to find not one but three ML companies in my (relatively small) city. Many companies offer internship programs. Internship programs are a great opportunity to learn, and to start building your career. Some of those programs are paid, some are half-paid, some of them just offer you knowledge and experience. Still not a bad deal, although you should try and negotiate some compensation for your hard work! Of course, you can’t show up to them without any programming and math skills, so you better come prepared. If you are a beginner, worry not, because internet is here (next paragraph!)

 

Release the power of the Internets!

 

If it was year 1980, I would suggest you apply for Computer Science Degree program or go to a library. Lucky for us, we have a fast internet full of ML, programming and math tutorials these days!

Learn Machine Learning in Three Months is a collection of courses, tutorials, made into a nice list by Siraj Raval. It might not be your pace and it might take you 6 months, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t manage to follow the schedule set by this list.

There’s also a great course called Move 37 , again thanks to School of Ai. It’s completely free, waiting to be rekt by you. If you are a complete beginner to coding or not sure which language to use for ML, read on.

You can’t master machine learning without having hands-on experience with programming. Python is one of the best options if you are starting from scratch, but if you already know JavaScript, C or C++, you can either choose to stick with the language you already know or switch to R or Python (because of pandas, native tensorflow etc).

I recommend CodeCademy’s Python course to anyone who wants to learn programming, as it is just perfect for absolute beginners. However, if you are not a beginner it will bore you to death, so I’d suggest you take a look at this complete 5 months plan on learning Computer Science.

 

Last, but not least: Learn how to learn!

You may have found the course that best fits your skills and availability, but you need to learn how to get the most out of it. As already mentioned, there are periods of stagnation in learning, and they are not your friends.

I can tell you what worked for me, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you – you have to find your own way of making a progress in learning. We are all different and you have to know yourself in order to know other things. My problem with learning is I lose attention quickly and I procrastinate when I find myself unable to solve a problem within a minute.

futuristicon_logo_by_Seanbatty_pixabay

I thought about it a lot, and I figured out that the best method for me to learn is the spiral method. There’s a “spiral method” term in education, but my spiral method differs a bit: I take one course  (or start listening to one video tutorial series), and I get the basics of the subject. The course I’m watching offers more than basics, but I just get the basics, with an “I will get to it later” attitude. Then I take some other, a bit different course and learn the basics there, but this time I achieve a bit more than I did with the first one. After three or so courses, I return to the first one, for the second round. And I see my progress – I now understand a bit more than I did when first listening to it.

Again, this is what works for me. It may not be ideal, but for me personally it may be the best way to learn.

One more thing about learning I found out – learning by doing is way better than learning by watching someone else do something. Even if a course isn’t interactive, open that notepad* and write your own code.

Find a problem to solve, maybe a non-profit project to work on, don’t be a passive learner. Which problem should you solve? YOUR PROBLEM! You are less likely to lose motivation and will to learn if you are working on a problem that affects you. Good luck!

I will update this article soon, and give you more links and study materials, but for now do take a look at the links above. I’m sure you will make a good use of them.

Feel free to share your thoughts about learning! Which method suits you the best? Why are trying to learn programming, ML/Ai in the first place?

Leave a comment bellow and make sure to subscribe to this blog to be informed as soon as I publish something.

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*While notepad is awesome and supercool, it’s better to use Atom! But that’s just my opinion, perhaps nothing can beat the tidiness of notepad!

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