It can often feel like a computer has a “brain,” especially given modern machines’ abilities to run complex calculations and handle instructions. But all of those machines need people behind them to program algorithms and help them to learn based on explicit instructions. That’s where machine learning comes in.
This branch of artificial intelligence brings a machine’s “brain” closer to the real thing than ever before. It’s all about teaching the machine how to do more than simply execute, as machine learning is all about making a machine “think” (based on instructions and algorithms) so it can improve over time. That ability to “think” is crucial in modern business because it gives companies the ability to analyze patterns – both operational and consumer-based – enabling them to make smarter decisions.
But these businesses need people who understand how to create machine learning models. That’s where you come in. With the right machine learning tutorial under your belt, you set yourself up for a career in a field that has only just started to show glimpses of its potential.
The Best Machine Learning Tutorials
Finding the best online tutorial for machine learning isn’t easy given the sheer volume of options available. Analyzing each one based on what it teaches (and how useful it will be to your career) takes time, though you can save yourself that time by checking out the three tutorials highlighted here.
Tutorial 1 – Intro to Machine Learning (Kaggle)
As tempting as it may be to run before you can walk, you need an introduction to the basic concepts of machine learning prior to focusing on more practical applications. Enter Kaggle’s machine learning tutorial. This seven-lesson course takes about three hours of self-guided learning to complete and will leave you with a solid grounding in machine learning that you can take into more industry-focused courses.
The majority of the seven lessons – barring the first – is split into two parts. First comes a tutorial where you’ll learn about the concepts that the lesson introduces, with the second part being an exercise that tests your new skills. Along the way, you’ll learn the basics of how machine learning models work and why you need them to explore large datasets. Other lessons focus on building and validating a model, with the later lessons introducing more complex algorithms, such as random forests, and giving you a chance to test your skills in competitions.
Though this is a beginner-focused tutorial, you’ll need a solid understanding of Python before making a start. Without experience in this programming language, you’ll feel like you’re truly lost in a random forest before you ever get to learn what that term actually means. On the plus side, the tutorial has an active discussion community (which includes the course instructor Dan Becker) that can help you along and point you in the direction of other courses that supplement this one.
Tutorial 2 – Making Developers Awesome at Machine Learning (Machine Learning Mastery)
This machine learning tutorial is less a structured course and more a series of articles and step-by-step instructional lessons that take you from the foundations of machine learning to more advanced concepts. That method of breaking the course into multiple stages is ideal for students of all experience levels. Complete beginners can start with the “Foundations” level and work their way up while those with more experience can dip into specific subjects that give them trouble or will build on their existing skills.
The course is split into four sections – Foundations, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. At the Foundations level, you’ll learn about the statistical concepts and models that underpin machine learning, giving you a solid basis to move into the Python programming taught in the Beginner section. Once you have a grasp of Python, the Intermediate section teaches you about deep learning and how to code machine learning algorithms. By the time you hit the Advanced stage, you’ll be working on complex subjects like computer vision and natural language processing.
With its less structured nature, this tutorial is great for people who want to dip in and out and those who need to hone in on a specific aspect of machine learning. It’s also a good choice for beginners because it covers practically everything you’ll need to know. Unfortunately, the lack of structure means you don’t get an official certification from the tutorial. Some students may also not like the “hub” nature of the tutorial, as it links you to tons of different web pages that can lead to confusion over time.
Tutorial 3 – Machine Learning Crash Course With TensorFlow APIs (Google)
If you already have a mathematical foundation (as well as some basic understanding of machine learning), Google’s tutorial helps you take your skills to the next level. You’ll need to understand algebra, statistics, and basic trigonometry, in addition to having some understanding of Python, to get started. But assuming you have all of that, this machine learning tutorial exposes you to real-world examples of the technology in action.
It’s a 25-lesson course that contains 30 exercises covering topics like model development and testing, data representation, and building neural networks. According to Google, it takes about 15 hours of self-guided study to complete, though your time may vary depending on how much you already know before you start the course.
The biggest advantage of this tutorial is the name attached to it. Google is a major player in the tech industry and the presence of its name on your CV instantly shows employers that you know your stuff. The course material is also delivered by lecturers who work at or for Google, allowing them to bring their real-world experiences into their lessons. On the downside, the tutorial’s prerequisites make it unsuitable for beginners, though Google does offer more basic courses (both in machine learning and Python) to help you build the required foundation.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Machine Learning Tutorial
The three options presented above all make a solid case for the best online tutorial for machine learning, though each offers something different based on your current skill level. To make the best choice between the three (and any other tutorials you find) you should consider these factors before committing yourself.
Your Current Skill Level
Diving into neural networks before you even know how machine learning works is like trying to row upstream without a paddle. You’re going to get stuck in rough waters and the end result won’t be what you want it to be. Be honest with yourself about your current skill level to ensure you don’t start a tutorial that’s too difficult (or too simple) for your abilities.
There’s no getting away from the fact that you’ll need to feel comfortable with programming before taking a machine learning tutorial. Specifically, you’re likely to need some knowledge of Python, though how much depends on the course you take. Other languages can help, at least in the sense of ensuring you’re familiar with programming, but you need to check the language the course uses before starting.
Though the basic idea of building a machine “brain” is simple enough to understand, the machine learning waters run deep. There are tons of topics and potential specializations you could study, and not all are useful for your intended career path. Check what the course covers and ensure those topics align with what you hope to achieve once you’ve completed the tutorial.
If a tutorial takes an hour or two to complete, you don’t really need to worry about how you’ll fit it around your other commitments. But if it takes you down a machine learning rabbit hole (i.e., the Machine Learning Mastery Course), you need to get serious with scheduling. Figure out how much time you can commit to your course per week and choose a tutorial that fits around your commitments.
On the plus side, many machine learning tutorials are available free of charge. But if you’re looking for more official certification, or you want to take a more formal course, you’ll usually have to pay for the privilege. Weigh up the course’s cost against the benefit you get out of the backend.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Machine Learning Tutorial
Anybody can start a machine learning tutorial, but only the truly committed will complete and actually get the most out of the materials. Follow these tips to ensure you’re spending your time wisely on the tutorial you choose:
- Set clear goals from the outset that define what you want to achieve with the tutorial and where it’s supposed to lead you.
- Dedicate time to learning every week because regularity is the key to making the information you absorb stick in your mind.
- Engage with any communities related to your tutorial to learn from your peers and ask questions about the tutorial’s content.
- Apply what you learn to real-world problems, either via the course itself or by searching for examples of what you’ve learned being put into action.
- Update your knowledge and skills regularly with further tutorials because what you learn today may be out of date tomorrow.
Find the Best Online Tutorial for Machine Learning for You
There is no single “best” machine learning tutorial on the web because each approaches the subject differently. Some assume you have no knowledge at all and will start with basics before moving you into deeper subjects. Others require you to understand the computing concepts (mathematical and programmatical) that underpin machine learning before you can get started. Understand what the course offers, and what it needs from you, before you get started.
Regardless of your choice, getting started is the most important thing you can do. Once you’ve chosen a tutorial, commit yourself to it fully to take your first step (or potentially a giant leap) into a career that’s only going to grow as machine learning models become more common in business.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.