- IBM will collaborate with online learning provider Simplilearn to offer four "master's programs" in data science and artificial intelligence. The programs will provide access to live virtual classrooms, access to teaching assistants and self-paced video instruction courses, Simplilearn said.
- The programs include data scientist and AI engineer roles, which were both released July 1 and which cost $1,299 to enroll. Two additional programs — one for data analyst and another for data engineer — will be released later in July.
- The programs will feature quizzes and projects that reinforce learning and proficiency at the end of every lesson, Simplilearn said. Participants will earn certificates from both Simplilearn and IBM upon completion of a program. The collaboration pairs Simplilearn's training and instructors with course content from IBM.
Rapid technological change has increased demand for skilled candidates in artificial intelligence and other tech disciplines. The Simplilearn collaboration isn't the first such foray for IBM, which recently announced a certification program for data scientists as well as an apprentice program for those interested in the field. The company's rivals are making similar plays: Microsoft announced in April it would create a training partnership in AI for students in the U.S., U.K. and France.
Such developments are part of a larger push by top companies to improve workforce access to education, thereby allowing employers to pick from a larger pool of skilled workers. While these may take the form of apprenticeships for some, others, like JetBlue and Walmart, instead seek to encourage employee skill development by funding workers' educational pursuits through grants, scholarships or tuition reimbursement.
Technology training in particular may be key to developing future company leaders. A 2018 LinkedIn report on the career paths of CEOs found that computer science was the most common field of study (driven in part by the prevalence of successful tech companies). Many also served as consultants at some point in their professional lives.