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4 Simple Tips to Prepare Your Students for Careers in AI

Jun 26, 2019 3:10:00 PM / by Mark McNasby

As the age of automation unfolds, employers seek to fill a growing number of positions that support artificial intelligence. Systems that leverage Machine and Deep Learning help companies improve their performance, but they present a unique challenge. While hiring managers value relevant experience, it can be difficult to find experienced candidates when the technology is so new. Likewise, young adults entering the workforce must overcome the age-old challenge of how to gain experience. Having the right information in your career center can help solve both of these challenges at once.

Kickstart Your Students’ AI Careers with These 4 Steps

1. Provide External Resources for Information
Your students may be enrolled in courses designed to reinforce their understanding of AI, or they might not be. Either way, they can broaden or deepen their knowledge and understanding of the exciting new field of AI by leveraging access to literature, free coursework, and the internet.

Some examples of books to offer your students include:

 

  • Grokking Deep Learning, Andrew W. Trask
           Emphasis - Developing Neural Networks with Limited Libraries
  • The Hundred-Page Machine Learning Book, Andriy Burkov
           Emphasis - Machine Learning through Data Science
  • Machine Learning, Tom Mitchell
           Emphasis - Understanding Machine Learning Theorem Algorithms

 

You can also direct your students to free courses that refine their understanding. Andrew Ng offers free course work via Coursera on Deep Learning (www.deeplearning.ai), as well as a free subscription to Machine Learning Yearning. Additionally, Stanford offers a series of free courses via Coursera, such as Machine Learning and Structuring Machine Learning Projects.

Your students can also find a wealth of information through informal means such as Siraj Raval’s and Andrew Ng’s YouTube channels. In addition to being super informative, their content is often highly entertaining.

2. Promote Personal Projects and Portfolio Building

Recruiters will ask for examples of your students’ work. Personal projects help to separate the best candidates from the rest, and also help develop the skills of aspiring AI professionals. When discussing personal projects with your students, remember to relay the following general rules:

 

  • Spend no more than a month on each project

  • Ensure that code is modular, clean, and commented

  • Include a Read Me for references, assumptions, dependencies

  • Include unit tests against the code base

From there, students just need to decide how to demonstrate their skills. Will their project feature sentiment analysis, image classification, or something else? Offer guidance to ensure that their selection helps to refine a useful skill.

3. Plug Students Into the AI Network

You can connect your students with other aspiring professionals, as well as influential members of the workforce, all while expanding their expertise. If your institution does not host the following events, stay up-to-date with organizations that do so you can keep your students in the loop.

 

  • Open Source Projects

This is a great way to gain exposure to production-level code. Participants gain experience debugging and versioning. They will also be required to work with others to find solutions using Machine Learning.

  • Coding Challenges

This is a fun, competitive way for individuals to demonstrate their understanding of coding principles. Competition can be a motivating factor for many, and victories can add coveted feathers to their caps.

  • Hackathons

These events are good for growing CV and portfolios, but they’re also a great way to meet experienced coders. If you can’t find AI focused hackathons in your area, encourage students to attend general software hackathons with the intent of adding an AI spin to their work. You can search for events in your area using websites like MeetUp.

 

4. Reinforce the Importance of Academic Success

Finally, remember that prospective candidates are measured against one another, and oftentimes recruiters examine a candidate’s entire body of work. While some argue that a college education is not a critical component of building a career in AI (and they may be correct), a lackluster GPA can unceremoniously remove a candidate from the selection pool. Provide counseling to help balance responsibilities, leverage extracurricular opportunities, and reinforce effective techniques for studying.

An intelligent chatbot from Ivy.ai helps you provide the support your students need to excel. Our chatbot fields thousands of questions in a simple, conversational exchange, providing your students with better access to information and reducing the strain on your most valuable resource - people. You can learn more about how our chatbots work here. If you think an intelligent chatbot could be helpful to your department, click here to schedule a free demo.

 

These tips will help to differentiate your students from the rest on paper, but more importantly, they’ll make your students more proficient in the workplace. After all, isn’t that the objective?

Mark McNasby

Written by Mark McNasby

Mark McNasby is CEO of Ivy.ai.

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