Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tech Giants Pledge to Train Millions of Workers in AI 


Getting workers up to speed on the latest artificial intelligence technology has become a priority for many of the world’s top companies. That includes the tech giants, which recently have announced new AI training and education initiatives aimed at getting workers ready to build AI apps and use AI tools in the workplace. The best part is many of the training programs are free.

IBM in September unveiled an ambitious plan to train 2 million workers in AI by the end of 2026. IBM aims to deliver the training through universities as well as SkillsBuild, its free educational program that aims to enhance tech skills of high school and adult learners in underrepresented communities.

Anybody can sign up for SkillsBuild classes, which span more than 1,000 courses in 20 different languages. IBM currently offers nearly 30 hours of AI training spread across several courses on the SkillsBuild website, including courses on AI fundamentals, a how-to course for building a custom chatbot, and a course on ethics.

Big Blue also is working with universities around the world to build and expand AI curriculum. The company says it’s making its network of AI experts available to universities to help build the courses. It’s also providing colleges with lectures, “immersive skilling experiences,” and “self-directed AI learning paths” to help accelerate the education of students. Certificates will be available upon completion, IBM says.

In October, a Microsoft UK executive announced plans to train an additional 1 million people in AI by 2025. Speaking at the Microsoft Envision event, Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, said:

Amazon plans to train 2 million people in AI by 2025 through its Skills Builder program (Image courtesy Amazon)

“By 2025 we will support one million people to gain the AI skills they need to start, or move into, a career in technology. And in doing so, we will open up the opportunities of AI to diverse talent across the UK.”

Microsoft UK plans to deliver the AI training through its Get On program, which it originally launched three years earlier.

Not to be outdone, Amazon in November announced plans to train 2 million people in AI by 2025. The ecommerce giant plans to deliver the training to both school-age students and adults through its AI Ready program.

Amazon currently is offering eight free courses on AI and generative AI topics on AI Ready, which is an extension of existing courses offered through its Amazon Web Services subsidiary. The courses are open to anyone and are free. The courses include:

The need for AI skills is plainly obvious, according to Amazon, which points out that 73% of people in a recent survey say hiring people with AI skills is a priority. However, three-quarters of these respondents say they are unable to meet their demand for AI skills.

This AI skills gap is helping to drive salaries upwards for folks with the requisite skills. Amazon says employers are paying people with AI skills 47% more than those who are not upskilled in AI.

Prompt engineers are currently among the highest paid workers in all of tech. A recent survey by EPCGroup found that the average salary for prompt engineers, who are experts at manipulating the prompts that are used as input to large language models such as GPT-4, is about $300,000. Other in-demand AI jobs include machine learning engineers, who earn an average of $160,000, and AI research scientists, who earn an average of $132,00, the study found.

About the author: Alex Woodie

Alex Woodie has written about IT as a technology journalist for more than a decade. He brings extensive experience from the IBM midrange marketplace, including topics such as servers, ERP applications, programming, databases, security, high availability, storage, business intelligence, cloud, and mobile enablement. He resides in the San Diego area.