Here are 7 free AI classes you can take online from top tech firms, universities


Almost a quarter of global jobs is expected to change within the next five years thanks to AI, and with only a small percentage of workers with skills in this field, the rush to learn the ins-and-outs of AI is ever more important. 

“AI is providing people with on-demand learning anywhere they are at any time of day on any day,” says Jared Curham, a professor of work and organizational studies at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Curhan recently launched two new AI-powered courses focused on the world of strategic negotiation and says that the technology is overall making education more accessible with personalized feedback and coaching.

While there are an increasing number of full-fledged AI degree programs, including within business schools, some students may be looking for a simpler or self-paced route. If you’re interested in learning more about this in-demand field, several top tech firms and universities offer free online courses that serve as an introduction to AI technologies.

AWS Skill Builder

Amazon has more than 100 free and low-cost AI courses and learning resources available through AWS. Learners can obtain the basic skills in machine learning, generative AI, and foundational models. As a whole, the company has a commitment to provide free AI skills training to 2 million people by 2025.

The machine learning plan has nearly seven hours of free content in which individuals can learn the foundations of the technology, including relevant terminology, and decision-making processes. It also teaches users how to utilize Amazon SageMaker, the company’s machine learning platform used by companies like AT&T and LG.

Google: Google AI for Everyone

Google offers a beginner course for anyone who may be interested in how AI is being used in the real world. Google AI for Everyone, which is offered through online education platform edX, is a self-paced course that takes about four weeks to complete, assuming you dedicate two-to-three hours per week to the course. Participants learn about both AI and machine-learning principles and real-world applications of the technologies.

Google also covers what AI programming looks like and the process of teaching a computer how to learn. The course is taught by Laurence Moroney, who leads AI Advocacy at Google as part of the Google Research into Machine Intelligence (RMI) team. Nearly 12,000 people have enrolled in this free online course, according to edX.

Harvard University: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python

If you’re one of the 5.7 million people who has taken Harvard University’s CS50 Introduction to Computer Science course through edX, then the university’s introductory AI class might be the best option for you. CS50, which is one of the most popular free online courses of all time, is a prerequisite for Harvard’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python course.

This seven-week course covers AI algorithms, game-playing engines, handwriting recognition, and machine translation. Students have to commit between 10 and 30 hours per week to complete the course, which includes hands-on projects and lectures. The course is taught by David J. Malan, a renowned computer scientist and Harvard professor.

IBM: AI Foundations for Everyone

IBM, which is recognized as a revolutionary leader in emerging technologies, offers an AI Foundations for Everyone specialization through Coursera. The specialization includes three courses:

The entire specialization takes about three months to complete, assuming you dedicate two hours per week to coursework. Students will learn the basics of what AI is, as well as its applications and ethical concerns. They’ll also hear from experts about starting a career in AI. The program is taught by Rav Ahuja and Antonio Cangiano, who work for IBM’s Skills Network. Participants earn a certificate upon completion.


Intel has a goal to provide more than 30 million people with AI skills by 2030. As part of this commitment, the company provides dozens of free self-paced courses online on subjects such as deep learning for robotics, deep learning, and natural language processing. 

Intel also has several “AI Concepts” educational pages that will walk you through definitions, real-world examples, tools, and resources for topics such as generative AI, AI inference, and transfer learning. Additionally, the company provides free on-demand webinars on more advanced AI use cases such as optimizing transformer models, optimizing AI workloads, and AI performance tuning.

University of California—Davis: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics

As part of its Computational Social Science specialization through Coursera, the University of California—Davis offers a course focused on AI: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics. During this four-week course, participants learn about big data and its limitations, the history of artificial intelligence, and research ethics. The entire self-paced course takes about 12 total hours to complete.

The course is taught by Martin Hilbert, who is a professor at UC Davis and serves as a chair for computational social science. The course uses case studies to help participants learn AI concepts. More than 31,000 participants have completed this course, and those who do earn a certificate that can be shared on LinkedIn.

University of Pennsylvania: AI for Business

For someone who may be looking to break into AI or who wants to learn more about the applications of this new technology to different industries, the University of Pennsylvania offers a string of courses focused on artificial intelligence. The AI for Business specialization includes four courses:

These beginner courses take a total of about four months to complete and culminate in an applied learning project. Program participants complete peer-reviewed exercises to illustrate what they’ve learned about data analytics, machine learning tools, and people management. The specialization is taught by eight UPenn professors from the Wharton School, a top-ranked business school by Fortune Education, and other professors from the university. The courses are offered through online education platform Coursera, and students can earn a certificate that can be displayed on their LinkedIn profile.

Frequently asked questions

Which course is best in AI?

There is no one best course or program since AI is still so new. What ultimately matters is your curiosity to learn about AI, which you can do by working directly with prompt engineering or machine learning to gain hands-on skills.

Can I learn AI in three months?

You can certainly learn the foundations of AI in three months—especially if you already have a background in computer science. It is important to keep in mind that because AI is always changing and developing, you will need to keep up to date with the latest trends if you are looking to pursue a career focused on working with the technology.

How to learn AI for beginners?

Taking  free AI courses on platforms such as Udemy or Codecademy is a great place to learn AI if you’re a beginner. You can also learn AI by watching YouTube videos or reading through AI subreddits. The number of ways to learn AI are only growing, so there is ultimately no perfect path. Above all, just be curious, ask important questions, and don’t be afraid to dive down rabbit holes

Check out all of Fortune’rankings of degree programs, and learn more about specific career paths.

Sydney Lake contributed to this piece.


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