Amazon opens its internal machine learning courses to all for free

It’s Cyber Monday and Amazon has one deal for its customers that’s a little unexpected. The company just announced that it has made available, for free, the same machine learning courses that it uses to train its own engineers.

It’s a lot of information to digest — from a programming standpoint. According to a newly released statement by Matt Wood, an eight-year veteran of Amazon and a general manager of deep learning and AI at the company, there are more than 45 hours across 30 different courses that developers, data scientists, data platform engineers and business professionals can take gratis.

As he explains them, each “starts with the fundamentals, and builds on those through real-world examples and labs, allowing developers to explore machine learning through some fun problems we have had to solve at Amazon. These include predicting gift wrapping eligibility, optimizing delivery routes, or predicting entertainment award nominations using data from IMDb (an Amazon subsidiary). Coursework helps consolidate best practices, and demonstrates how to get started on a range of AWS machine learning services, including Amazon SageMaker, AWS DeepLens, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Comprehend.”

The company says that in order to help employers hire more efficiently, it is also introducing its own machine-learning certification that customers can take right now for half price.

Part of the idea may be to enhance Amazon’s retail pages, as well as to potentially recruit more people into the company so it can accelerate its own growth, though the company suggests it has no such agenda.

If Amazon earns some much-needed goodwill along the way, so be it. As you may have read already, among the company’s other problems at the very moment are employees who walked off the job on Friday at the company’s fulfillment centers in Germany, Spain and France, some of them using the slogan “we are not robots.”

You can find Wood’s full statement here.

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