Artificial Intelligence (AI) conjures thoughts about robots and computers taking over the world. I find that AI and Machine Learning will frequently infiltrate into discussions with clients, customers, or around the watercooler with peers. It is definitely time that I at least become familiar with the talking points and specifically those that benefit my customers or my company moving forward. Additionally, AI appears to be a recurring theme in "Gartner Top Strategic Technology Trends or 2022" also.
Say "hello" to the Microsoft Exam AI-102 exam from Microsoft and a path to the Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate Certification. That is a mouthful. AZ-102 is a convenient way to follow a structured learning path, gain the knowledge in question, and learn certification along the way.
My plan for tackling this subject matter is to start the free online Microsoft Learn Collection detailed on the exam page. I have also decided to follow "AI-102 Microsoft Solution Complete Exam Prep" from Udemy and Scott Duffy. I find Scott Duffy's material to be presented in a style that is easy for me to follow and specific to the exam. I have used his courses to pass AZ-204, AZ-303, and AZ-305 previously.
Along The Way
I found that there are many coding opportunities in the training material and specifically the Udemy video. This made the learning more interesting and appealed to my coding side. This is the fist time that coding exercises in the video where presented in Python as well as C#.. More fodder for the coding brain.
Setting up Azure Cognitive Resources required for lab work or sandbox testing is simple, fast and and inexpensive. There are "Free" pricing tiers on many of the resources and others have minimal costs (i.e. $1 for 1000 API calls). Azure regions may differ in costs from one location to another. Some services (i.e. Vision Face API) are not available out-of-the-box and require special permission to be enabled. This requires a form stating reason for use and asking for permissions.
An unexpected surprise in my AI journey was the subject of "Responsible AI". I learned about the policies and practices around designing AI solutions that help ensure the people, organizations, and society are responsibly impacted in a positive way by our solutions. This was not something I saw coming when studying for a technical certification, but understand the need and reasons for its inclusion.
AI-102 is specifically around Cognitive Services and no entry into the Machine Learning World. Know what services are available and when to use a specific service. My coding background was beneficial by just understanding conventions when calling SDK or understanding API routes. Everything else was new to me and learned over the coarse of studying for this certification
I am fortunate enough to say that I passed the exam with a score of 870 and very happy that I invested the time and effort to learn this material. I am looking to utilize this new found knowledge in future projects. At the very least, I now feel comfortable (invaluable as a consultant) in meetings, or customer design sessions where AI topics are on the table.
I see the basic premise of AI and specifically Azure Cognitive Services. I have come to realize many instances where AI is incorporated around me everyday. We adapted to it and interact with it without ever realizing it. I understand Gartner's claims for 2022 trends and believe my new knowledge and understandings will benefit me, my customers, and my company moving forward. I am just not ready for AI to take over the world, just yet...…!
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