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Essential training for IT pros

These courses can prepare your team for new roles and new realities

By Christopher Null

There’s another option for businesses struggling to hire people with experience in fast‑growing disciplines like machine learning, deep learning, data analytics and cybersecurity: teach the skills to existing employees.

Training is front and center at ServiceNow’s Knowledge18. The event, which begins May 6 in Las Vegas, features more than 30 two‑day workshops on a range of topics, including cloud management and HR tech.

For those not attending this year, there are still many training options available. Below is a brief selection of resources for some of the most in‑demand tech skills.

Free courses

Artificial Intelligence: A Free Online Course From MIT. This introductory course consists of 30 video lectures and numerous interactive demonstrations.

California Institute of Technology–Learning from Data. Geared toward students with a strong math background, this course will teach you the basics of how computers “learn” through video lectures, homework assignments and a final exam.

Applied Data Science: An Introduction. This self‑paced course, designed by Syracuse University professors, covers basic statistics, algorithmic models and R.

Mining Massive Datasets. This introductory course from Stanford focuses on the algorithms and technical processes used to mine big data. You’ll apply these techniques in practical case studies such as web search and online advertising.

Low-cost courses

Neural Networks and Deep Learning. This course, from AI innovator and former Baidu chief scientist Andrew Ng, offers a technical introduction to deep learning and neural networks. Cost: $49 monthly Coursera subscription for a 4‑week course.

Data Science A‑Z™: Real‑Life Data Science. Kirill Eremenko, a data scientist with a background in management consulting, teaches this challenging, hands‑on crash course for beginners. Students learn how to clean data, model it and present findings to an audience. Cost: Discount rates start at $12.99.

The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed. Station X CEO and heavyweight corporate consultant Nathan House teaches students how to defend any Windows, Mac or Linux system against malware, exploit kits and much more. Cost: Discount rates start at $10.99.

Introduction to Cyber Security. Offered through NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, this course covers cyber‑attack countermeasures, threat detection and mitigation, and enterprise security. Cost: $49 a month Coursera subscription (4‑week course).

Certificate programs

Deep Learning by Google. Developed with Vincent Vanhoucke, principal scientist at Google, this three‑month course teaches students how to train and optimize neural networks, convolutional neural networks, and short‑ and long‑term memory networks. Cost: Free.

Stanford Advanced Computer Security Certificate Program. If you’re looking to beef up your cyber security skills, this advanced certificate program covers everything from securing networks to protecting customer privacy. It’s a six‑course program; three required plus three electives. Cost: $495 per course, plus a one‑time $75 document fee.

Microsoft Professional Program for Artificial Intelligence. Microsoft’s 10‑course certificate program in AI equips students with skills in Python, computer vision, natural language processing, ethics and more. Courses run three months and start at the beginning of each quarter. Cost: $99 per course; $990 for entire program.

Christopher Null is a longtime technology and business journalist who contributes regularly to TechHive, PCWorld, Wired, and other publications.

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