You’re asking the exact same question I was asking myself about a year ago. I was working at the Apple Store and I wanted a change. I wanted to start building the tech I was servicing.
I started looking into Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
There’s so much going on in the field.
Every week it seems like Google or Facebook are releasing a new kind of AI to make things faster or improve our experience.
Don’t get me started on the number of self-driving car companies. This is a good thing though. I’m not a fan of driving and roads are dangerous.
Even with all this happening, there’s still yet to be an agreed definition of what exactly artificial intelligence is.
Some argue deep learning can be considered AI, others will say it’s not AI unless it passes the Turing Test.
This lack of definition really stunted my progress in the beginning. It was hard to learn something which had so many different definitions.
Enough with the definitions.
How did I get started?
My friends and I were building a web startup. It failed. We gave up due to a lack of meaning. But along the way, I was starting to hearing more and more about ML and AI.
“The computer learns the things for you?” I couldn’t believe it.
I stumbled across Udacity’s Deep Learning Nanodegree. A fun character called Siraj Raval was in one of the promo videos. His energy was contagious. Despite not meeting the basic requirements (I had never written a line of Python before), I signed up.
Three weeks before the course start date I emailed Udacity support asking what the refund policy was. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to complete the course.
I didn’t get a refund. I completed the course within the designated timeline. It was hard. Really hard at times. My first two projects were handed in four days late. But the excitemeaint of being involved in one of the most important technologies in the world drove me forward.
Finishing the Deep Learning Nanodegree, I had guaranteed acceptance into either Udacity’s AI Nanodegree, Self-Driving Car Nanodegree or Robotics Nanodegree. All great options. I was a little lost. “Where do I go next?”
I needed a curriculum. I’d built a little foundation with the Deep Learning Nanodegree, now it was time to figure out where I’d head next.