Artificial intelligence and machine learning are in buzz these days and more and more people are interested to learn about it. It got a major breakthrough when Google made AI history by creating an algorithm that mastered Go. And the technological advancement is creating more jobs as companies need high-skilled AI talents to develop and maintain a wide range of applications.
If you are interested in becoming a machine learning expert but don’t know where to start from? Don’t worry we got you covered. In this article, we will show you the top-down approach for getting started in applied machine learning.
Here’s What You Should Do Before You Get Started With Machine Learning
ML is all about applying statistics and computer science to data. You really do not need to be a professional programmer, mathematician to learn ML, but to master it, one has to be good at maths, programming and have some domain knowledge.
There are many programming languages which provide ML capabilities. But Python and R are most commonly used languages. So, before entering into the world of ML, choose one of these two programming languages – Python or R.
Python is naturally disposed towards machine learning and is preferred by tech companies where they need end-to-end integration and develop analytics-based applications, leveraging analytics-friendly libraries. If you want more theoretical knowledge about different machine learning algorithms, you can also read Python Machine Learning Edition 2 written by a machine learning researchers Sebastian Raschka and Vahid Mirjalili. The book also covers large varieties of Practical Algorithms with Python, as well as using it with sci-kit-learn API and replaying it with Tensorflow API.
R as a language for statistical inference has made its name in data analysis and is preferred by companies which are primarily focused on advanced analytics and pretty much become a lingua franca for data science.
Learn Statistics For Machine Learning
It is good to have some understanding about statistics, especially the Bayesian probability, as it is essential for many machine learning algorithms. And to learn the basics of statistics, you can sign up for descriptive statistics and inferential statistics courses offered by Udacity. Both the courses are free of cost.
ML Courses To Sharpen Your Knowledge
To build a strong machine learning foundation, soak in as much knowledge and theory as possible. There are various courses available to learn about machine learning:
It is a course for beginners that provides a broad introduction to machine learning, data mining and statistical pattern recognition. This course is taught by Andrew Ng and covers all basic algorithms. Topics include:
- Supervised learning (parametric/non-parametric algorithms, support vector machines, kernels, neural networks)
- Unsupervised learning (clustering, dimensionality reduction, recommender systems, deep learning)
- Best practices in machine learning (bias/variance theory; innovation process in machine learning and AI)
The course will also draw from numerous case studies and applications so that you’ll also learn how to apply learning algorithms to building smart robots (perception, control), text understanding (web search, anti-spam), computer vision, medical informatics, audio, database mining, and other areas.
In this course, you will learn the foundation of deep learning and also teaches you how deep learning actually works. If you are looking for a job in AI, after this course you will also be able to answer basic interview questions. Once you enrol for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). This course is also taught by Andrew Ng.
This is an introductory course in ML that covers the basic theory, algorithms and applications. This ML course also balances theory and practice and covers the mathematical as well as heuristic aspects. However, this course is quite heavy on maths and requires more programming knowledge. The course is loaded with 8 homework sets.
Google’s Machine Learning crash course (MLCC) with TensorFlow APIs is a 15 hours online course that includes real-world case studies, interactive visualisation, video lectures, 40+ exercise to help teach machine learning concepts. Google originally designed this course for its employees as a part of a two-day boot camp aimed to give a practical introduction to machine learning fundamentals. More than 18,000 employees have already enrolled in MLCC, to enhance camera calibration for Daydream devices, build VR for Google Earth, and improve streaming quality at YouTube. Now, Google is making MLCC available to everyone.
Books To Go From Novice To Expert
Apart from the online courses, there are few good books available for machine learning. You can download the PDFs for your future use/reference:
It recommended for machine learning researchers and it gives a treatment of machine learning theory and mathematics.
This book presents approximate inference algorithms that permit fast approximate answers in situations where exact answers are not feasible. It uses graphical models to describe probability distributions.
It introduces a broad range of topics in deep learning. The text offers mathematical and conceptual background, covering relevant concepts in linear algebra, probability theory and information theory, numerical computation, and machine learning. It describes deep learning techniques used by practitioners in industry, including deep feedforward networks, regularisation, optimisation algorithms, convolutional networks, sequence modelling, and practical methodology; and it surveys such applications as natural language processing, speech recognition, computer vision, online recommendation systems, bioinformatics, and video games. This book is not available in PDF format but can order on Amazon.
Putting Theory Into Practice
Machine learning is more of an art, you can become good only by practising. For advanced level, you need to spend a lot of time working on various machine learning and deep learning problems. And you need datasets to practice building and for tuning models. You can start with UCI Machine Learning Repo or Kaggle.
This contains 429 different datasets specially curated for practising machine learning. it has been widely used by students, educators, and researchers all over the world as a primary source of machine learning data sets. You can search by task, industry, dataset, size and more.
Kaggle is a great source of competitions and forums for ML hackathons and helps get one started on practical machine learning. It is an active, engaging and competitive platform and is more famous for hosting data science competition. Once you join Kaggle, don’t go on to expect to win competitions, but look at them as a way to gain real experience and mentoring from the community.
Build A Machine Learning Portfolio
Building a machine learning portfolio will go a long way in establishing how you can complete projects. It will also equip with the confidence to take on more interesting projects as you apply your ML learning and show your skills and capabilities to recruiters once you start looking for a job.
Here are a few project ideas:
- A project where you had to collect the data yourself, e.g. scraping products reviews from a website
- A project where you dealt with missing or messy data, e.g. cases where some people provided their location and some didn’t
Master In Specific Area That Will Help You Score A Job
Since machine learning is a broad field, it will be better to select a specific area of study and a Masters can help in landing a job interview as well. If you are geared towards a Post Doctorate which is also a good idea, there are a few application areas you can focus on. From Natural Language Processing to Computer Vision (think setting up GPU instances in AWS) and Deep Reinforcement Learning, there are several areas of application in ML for research.
And if you want to become more technically strong, deepen your Neural Network knowledge with a course or free resources that talks about artificial neural networks and how they’re being used for machine learning, in areas such as speech recognition, image segmentation and object recognition.