How to Learn Machine Learning

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by Bethanny Parker

Published on March 29, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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As artificial intelligence (AI) grows in popularity, the demand for AI professionals increases. TechRepublic ranks machine learning as the most in-demand AI skill, followed by Python, R, and data science. Machine learning enables computers to study data and draw conclusions from it with minimal human intervention.

Machine learning and AI are frequently used in the financial services, eCommerce, marketing, education, and healthcare industries. AI is used to optimize advertising, power digital assistants, provide driving directions, and much more. Google CEO Sundar Pichai predicts that artificial intelligence will have a bigger impact on humanity than fire, the internet, or electricity.

In this guide, we discuss how to learn machine learning, including through online courses and coding bootcamps. Data science bootcamps often include the two most in-demand AI skills: machine learning and Python.

How to Learn Machine Learning

There are several ways to learn machine learning, including online courses, data science bootcamps, and college degree programs.

Online courses are great for independent learners, while college degrees are better suited to those who want a broader education that includes a range of computer science and general education courses. Data science bootcamps are intensive career-oriented programs that often include instruction in machine learning and usually take just a few months to complete.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps may follow full-time, part-time, or self-paced schedules, held either online or in person. Data science bootcamps typically cover data science, Python, and machine learning. Some may also cover R. These are the four most in-demand AI skills.

If you want to start a career in machine learning and AI, a data science bootcamp is a great way to learn the skills you will need to succeed. Some data analytics or software engineering bootcamps may also include a unit on machine learning.

You can see a list of popular data science bootcamps below.

Online Courses

Online courses typically allow you to learn at your own pace. They are great for self-directed learners, but it may be difficult to get your questions answered if you need help. The instructor may or may not engage with students on an ongoing basis.

Online courses range from free to thousands of dollars in price. More expensive courses typically offer more instructor engagement. Most online courses are self-paced, meaning you can log in whenever it is convenient for you. Online courses provide a free or low-cost option for those who are unable to enroll in a bootcamp.

Here are five popular providers of online AI and machine learning courses:

Pros and Cons

Online Courses
Pros Cons
  • Online courses are usually cheaper than bootcamps. In fact, many are free.
  • Most courses are self-paced, so you can learn on your own schedule.
  • You can often get help through online forums if you get stuck.
  • Depending on the course, there may be little or no interaction with course instructors.
  • It may be difficult to stay motivated since you don't have to log in at a specific time.
  • You won't learn how to work as part of a team, which is a necessary skill for many coding jobs.
Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • Bootcamp instructors typically engage with their students, answering questions as they arise.
  • You'll gain experience working in pairs or teams, a necessary skill for many jobs.
  • Bootcamps quickly prepare you for a job by focusing on the skills employers want and need.
  • Bootcamps typically cost much more than online courses.
  • If the bootcamp is in person, you'll have to commute.
  • Since the cost is higher, the risk is higher as well. Some bootcamps are better than others at placing graduates in jobs.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn Machine Learning

Codesmith true
  • Locations: Remote, Los Angeles, New York City
  • Programs Starting At: $19,950
  • Technical Disciplines: Software Engineering
  • Learning Formats: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
CIRR Member
Evening & Weekend Options
Start For Free

Codesmith's software engineering bootcamp starts with a foundation in computer science, covering algorithms, data structures, and system design. The course then moves on to front-end and back-end development featuring JavaScript, Node.js, and relational and nonrelational databases. The bootcamp includes a unit on machine learning.

According to data reported to the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, about 83% of Codesmith graduates from the July-December 2020 Los Angeles software development bootcamp were employed within 180 days of completing the bootcamp. These professionals reported a median salary of $116,500. The New York City bootcamp had similar results.

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Flatiron School true
  • Locations: Remote, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C.
  • Programs Starting At: $16,900
  • Technical Disciplines: Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software Engineering, UX/UI Design
  • Learning Formats: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Self-Paced

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Flatiron School's data science bootcamp takes 15 weeks to complete full time or 20-60 weeks as a self-paced course. It consists of five phases: data analysis and engineering, scientific computing and quantitative methods, machine learning fundamentals, advanced machine learning, and a data science project.

In the machine learning fundamentals phase, students learn about ensemble methods, decision trees, grid search, hyperparameter tuning, and pipeline building. The advanced machine learning phase covers recommendation systems, text classification, natural language processing, and neural networks.

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Bloom Institute of Technology true
  • Location: Remote
  • Programs Starting At: $30,000
  • Technical Disciplines: Data Science, Web Development
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time

Career Services

The Bloom Institute of Technology (formerly Lambda School) offers an intensive six-month online data science bootcamp. The curriculum includes Python, SQL, data visualization, linear algebra, and statistical analysis. It also covers machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing.

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Springboard true
  • Location: Remote
  • Programs Starting At: $11,900
  • Technical Disciplines: Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Data Science, Software Engineering, UX/UI Design
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-Paced

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options
Money-Back Guarantee

Springboard offers a six-month online machine learning bootcamp for individuals with experience in data science and software engineering or advanced knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and Python. This program includes weekly calls with a personal mentor.

The curriculum includes data processing for machine learning, foundations of machine learning, regression analysis, deep learning, and anomaly detection. It also covers image processing and natural language processing. Students complete a capstone project that includes projects for their portfolios.

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University of Texas at Austin true
  • Locations: Remote, Austin
  • Programs Starting At: $12,495
  • Technical Disciplines: Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, UX/UI Design, Web Development
  • Learning Formats: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

The University of Texas at Austin offers a 24-week part-time data analysis and visualization bootcamp. The curriculum covers Python, R, machine learning, and fundamental statistics. Students also learn intermediate Excel, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL. Graduates earn a certificate from UT Austin.

This online course includes weekly content that you can go through at your own pace as well as interactive live lessons. There are weekly assignments that allow you to apply your knowledge to real-world situations.

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Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at cirr.org.

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.

Methodology

Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

Machine Learning Jobs

According to Indeed, the most in-demand machine learning jobs are machine learning engineer (344% growth from 2015-2018), robotics engineer (128%), computer vision engineer (116%), and data scientist (78%).

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers create artificial intelligence algorithms capable of analyzing data and using it to make predictions. They often work as part of a team that includes data analysts, data scientists, data architects, and data engineers.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, March 2022)
$112,130

Robotics Engineer

Robotics engineers are mechanical engineers who design and maintain robots, including their electronic systems. They spend a lot of time researching the latest breakthroughs in robotics in order to apply them to their work.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, March 2022)
$84,740

Computer Vision Engineer

Computer vision engineers use software to help computers process visual data. They use technology to enable computers to visualize images and determine the purpose of those images. Computer vision can be used for gene editing and skin cancer detection.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, March 2022)
$114,460

Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze data, looking for actionable insights. They identify the data science problems that are most important to their companies, collect large amounts of data related to the problem, and analyze that data to find a solution.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, March 2022)
$97,140

Frequently Asked Questions About Machine Learning

Is machine learning easy to learn? true

Learning any new skill can be challenging, but machine learning may not be any more difficult than other computer science concepts. If you have a background in programming or computer science, you shouldn't have too much trouble learning machine learning concepts and skills. You will find it easier if you have a solid grasp of statistics, math, and data structures.

If you have trouble following a self-paced online course, you might want to enroll in a bootcamp, where you will have instructors who can guide you and answer your questions. Some even offer one-on-one mentorship for additional support.

Where can I learn machine learning for free? true

Many massive open online course (MOOC) providers, such as Coursera and edX, offer free courses in machine learning. Examples include Coursera's machine learning course offered in partnership with Stanford University and edX's machine learning fundamentals course by the University of California, San Diego.

Google also offers some free online courses in machine learning, such as an introduction to machine learning problem framing and a machine learning crash course. If you are an independent learner, these self-guided courses are a good option. If not, a bootcamp may be a better choice for you. However, bootcamps are not generally free.

What is the best way to learn machine learning? true

The best way to learn machine learning depends on your personality and learning needs. If you learn well through a self-paced online course, that is probably your best option since it is the cheapest way to learn machine learning. There are many free online courses available that allow you to learn at your own pace.

If you require the ability to ask your instructor questions, a bootcamp is probably a better choice for you. Bootcamps can help you gain the skills and professional portfolio you need to qualify for an entry-level job in the field.

Feature Image: Xuanyu Han / Moment / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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