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Why foray into machine learning?


Mac and Mobile – how it all started 

Big Nerd Ranch has made our name in Mac and mobile. We were the first to have a comprehensive method for teaching Mac programming, iOS programming, and Android programming. Our deep knowledge of these technologies, forged through real client experience, coupled with our deep empathy for students and how they learn, has allowed us to help thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies to build their own native mobile applications. We think of ourselves as a friendly guide, helping our students solve problems one-by-one until they eventually develop a deep and comprehensive understanding of how to build a quality application that will hold up over the long term. 

The transition to mobile involved a massive shift in capabilities and mindset. Designing and building for the small screen was new to most, so they needed comprehensive and high-qualiity training to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by this new technology. Big Nerd Ranch was able to train digital staff from across the spectrum, showing them what was possible with this new technology and giving them the confidence to build and explore more. 

It worked. We have been able to train and guide digital companies that have gone on to become household names: Nextdoor, Facebook, just to name a couple. These companies, and many like them, leveraged our training to catapult themselves into the mobile and digital age, often seeing incredible results from their efforts. 

Still mobile – now machine learning  

Mobile continues to be a critical component of every company’s digital strategy, and we continue to dedicate ourselves to enabling individuals, teams, and organizations in the mobile space. Over the past few years, we have seen that machine learning and artificial intelligence have become the latest frontiers in the digital landscape. Aside from all of the recent news about AI and ML, we know they are prevalent because our clients have increasingly looked to incorporate these technologies into their digital products. Like mobile technologies, machine learning offers an entirely new set of tools with which designers, product owners, and engineers can bring their ideas to life. And like mobile technologies, there is currently a wide gulf between the promise the technology holds and the knowledge and skills organizations have to capitalize on that promise. 

That’s why we created our Explore Machine Learning course. We want to serve a similar role as we have in the mobile space: acting as the friendly guide helping individuals, teams, and organizations to unlock the potential of machine learning for their digital products and services. We felt that we were uniquely positioned to guide teams and organizations into this new world, having done so with the last major technology wave and because we continue to keep up with new and emerging technologies. 

Machine Learning – what you will learn 

We built the course with three key things in mind: 1) demistify machine learning by defining key terms and explaining how the pieces fit together 2) enable students to determine if machine learning is an appropriate tool for their problem space 3) empower students to understand how to integrate machine learning solutions into their current projects. We wanted to show teams the range of machine learning approaches: some can be implemented relatively easily, others not so much. We know that there are entire advanced degree programs on this topic, so our focus was not on replacing them. We wanted to give students an accessible entry point to the technology and as we always have, show them what’s possible, and give them the confidence to explore more. 

So whether you are a product owner or software engineer, a business leader or a designer, this course was designed to demistify the world of machine learning and help you understand what it really takes to implement a machine learning solution. Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • The basics of machine learning and begin to understand what’s important in the world of machine learning. You learn what the ‘magic’ of machine learning is so that you can converse fluently about it. 
  • How to leverage existing machine learning solutions to solve your own product and development problems. Explore platform APIs, frameworks, and pre-built models to solve common machine learning problems. 
  • About data collection and key factors to consider, and gain experience collecting and manually labeling data. 
  • How to get started on a machine learning project. After seeing the fundamental building blocks and learning how to leverage existing systems, get a taste of what it’s like to build your own simple model. 

If these applications of ML pique your interest, we would love to help you, your team, or your organization level up on machine learning. Reach out to us if you are interested in attending a bootcamp or want to set up a course for your team. Happy coding! 

Eric Wilson

Big Nerd Ranch

Eric joined Big Nerd Ranch in the spring of 2019 to lead the training initiatives and brings a wealth of experience in both training and consultancy work.

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