Given the whole Covid situation we all spend some more time at home. As for me, a normal week I would spend a few hours traveling for work. So, I tried to take that time and put it aside to learn some stuff. Over the first few weeks I spend that time on something I would have never would have dared to do a few years back. I did a Google Cloud course.
Machine Learning for Business Professionals
If you do not know Coursera yet, they provide you with online training. And they provide both payed and free courses around a host of topics. Due to Covid they decided to release a set of free courses and I picked the Machine Learning for Business Professionals by Google. The course focusses on an introduction to machine learning. The main goal for me was to get a bit more familiar with what Google is offering. The AI stuff Microsoft provides in Azure is something I get to use in my daily job, but I never have looked at the other cloud providers. For me it made sense for me to pick a somewhat familiar topic to make it easy for myself.
The course is split into four modules of around two to three hours. The topic itself is not to hard to follow along, and I loved the labs to play around. I was impressed by the way you get a set of keys to play around with the Google Cloud stuff for an hour for each lab. I have been using the Microsoft learning paths and there it does require an active Azure Subscription. For the Google course that was not required and that does bring down the complexity to start.
From a comparison perspective I could not really find a difference between what you can achieve with Azure vs Google. But the labs only walk through some of the basic stuff. One of the things I liked was the Data Masking demos. It explains how to prepare your data and scrub identifiable stuff from the data set to make sure you are compliant. Something I have not seen in the Microsoft stack. All in all, I can recommend trying one of those courses by Google. The learning experience is pretty much the same as the Learning Paths Microsoft offers. And for me it was fun to play around and see the approach Google is taking. The Machine Learning for Business Professionals by Google is not focused on technology but does provide some challenges in the labs. It does also challenge you to think about practical applications of AI in real life, so definitely worth it.
Now the hard part is to pick another topic and commit to spend some hours a week on another course. And just to prove that I did finalize the course, you can view my certificate.