Instructor Spotlight

Learning AI at DigitalCrafts with Mohammad Azam

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Jennifer Inglis

Edited By Jennifer Inglis

Last updated on April 2, 2024

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As AI rapidly evolves, DigitalCrafts has created two artificial intelligence certificate programs with experienced professionals at the helm to help learners upskill. We caught up with Mohammad Azam, a Lead Instructor at DigitalCrafts with over seven years of experience training bootcampers in in-demand skills like software development, AI, and machine learning. Mohammad sheds light on how he guides students through DigitalCrafts’ Artificial Intelligence Certificate programs, plus his advice on making the most of the online training.

How did you get started in artificial intelligence, Mohammad? 

I’ve been doing iOS development since 2010, creating lots of different apps and courses on iOS. I worked on Apple’s vision framework, which can run on iOS devices, MacOS, watchOS, and tvOS. In 2017, I started working with AI with Core ML Framework for Apple. 

What motivated you to teach artificial intelligence?

I'm always trying to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. I learned AI skills by watching videos and documentation provided by Apple, but I mostly learned by teaching what I was learning to others. I learned Core ML and Vision Framework, then started teaching it on YouTube and Udemy and giving workshops and live presentations on it. I'm also very involved in augmented reality applications for Vision Pro devices using the RealityKit framework and have given workshops on how to build augmented reality applications.

What makes DigitalCrafts unique from other programs?

I've been teaching full stack Software Development at DigitalCrafts for the last seven years. The thing I really like about DigitalCrafts is the trust and faith they have in their instructors and the freedom they offer. They hire instructors with industry experience —Our technology stack is designed to be industry-relevant and we have the option to dynamically change it when we see something news that fits in our curriculum! 

There are two AI Certificate programs at DigitalCrafts. Do you teach both of those programs?

I teach both programs: the Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals Certificate program and the Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Engineering Certificate program

The AI Fundamentals Certificate program is a beginner program covering the theory behind AI, how it is used in real life, and the different concepts of AI. Projects are theoretical, including critical thinking to design beneficial systems that use AI, as well as essay writing and participation in discussions.  

The AI & ML Engineering Certificate program is more advanced. There is hands-on coding with Python, TensorFlow, Keras, algorithms, scikit-learn, and Matplotlib to train and implement AI and machine learning models in real-life scenarios such as image recognition and cost analysis. Projects include real-life scenarios like image detection, tabular data, object detection, handwriting detection, and more!

How would you describe your teaching style?

I encourage my students to get their hands dirty. My teaching style is hands-on, live coding. I also like to do round-robin sessions, where I start something, like building a page or writing Python code, and immediately ask the student what to do next. They will dictate the next line or write the next line in a collaborative session. Once they have written that line, I will randomly ask another student what to do next. This keeps students on their feet, knowing they could be called next and coming to class prepared. 

How do you assess student progress in the AI Certificate programs?

We encourage students to attend the live lecture. There are four live lectures on Zoom every week, which is where I show them the code and we talk through any issues. If they're unable to attend the live lecture, then they can always summarize by watching the recording and submitting that. Apart from that, there will be discussion board questions on Canvas and interactive assignments that are graded. There will be engagements with an instructor and actual assignments, all of which contribute to their final grade.

Each of the learning paths for these programs is composed of six courses. Each course is 5 weeks long and has five modules. Each module is one week long. We encourage students to keep up with the pace! If you're in module one, make sure you submit all of your assignments before the end of the week. You’ll have until the end of the course to submit your assignments, but if you don’t submit or if your grade is below passing, you’ll have to repeat the class. 

AI is constantly evolving! How are you staying up-to-date with its new product and platform releases?

AI is a moving target as it updates weekly. Whenever we see something that is instrumental and important to our students, our team discusses how to incorporate new content and new tools in the market into the curriculum. Since updates have to go through an approval process, often I’ll mention the tool in the live lecture to put it on people’s radar to research on their own.

Is there an ideal student for either of the AI Certificate programs? 

The DigitalCrafts programs are for everyone! After teaching for so many years at DigitalCrafts, I believe that anyone and everyone can become a developer if they are passionate about what they are learning and willing to put in the hard work. 

Students who are successful in these programs:

  • Are comfortable with their computer and OS before attending the class. 
  • Do the pre-work. 
  • Are willing to commit about 27 hours a week.
  • Are curious.
  • Read the recommended textbooks.
  • Have a research-oriented mindset. 

Do you recommend total tech newbies self-teach before applying to DigitalCrafts’ AI Certificate programs?

First, get comfortable with your machine. You should understand how to use the basic operations of your computer. Then, it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with any of the course content early. If you see the course is going to cover Python, read some articles or watch a few videos on Python to get familiar. The more prepared you are, the better chance you’ll have of being successful in the class.

Other courses at DigitalCrafts expect students to commit 27 hours per week to their studies. Is that the same for the AI Certificate programs?     

Yes, we recommend committing to 27 hours a week on these courses. It takes time and practice to understand these frameworks, so the more time you commit to practicing the better you’ll be! 

What are the goals for students who complete the AI Certificate programs? 

The AI Certificate programs can be used for upskilling:

  • For employees or developers who have no idea about machine learning, the Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals Certificate program is an introduction designed to provide a sense of critical thinking regarding what kind of machine learning solutions can be created and how they impact people and organizations. 
  • The more advanced Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Engineering Certificate program covers the actual machine learning tools being used in the industry. It’s designed to help students with basic to intermediate software development skills learn how to design and develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems. By the end of the program students should be able to architect an AI system and implement AI functionality through programming and service connections.

What resources or meetups do you recommend for students who want to start their career path in AI?

  • Look up the local meetups in your area, whether physical or remote, and try to make connections with people. In the end, it's all about connections!
  • Subscribe to newsletters. Save your time and energy by subscribing to newsletters that will offer AI insight right to your email. 
  • Find conferences. There are a lot of conferences on artificial intelligence to attend, but it’s even better if you can present at them! Conferences often allow a special quota of individuals who are presenting for the first time. Even if your topic is beginner-level, they really encourage students to present!

What is your advice to incoming students on making the most of the AI Certificate programs at DigitalCrafts? 

  • Work hard. There are no shortcuts — you have to put in the hard work to get the most out of the program. 
  • Be hands-on. Don't just try to read the code or watch a video without implementing it yourself. If you’re in the advanced AI & ML program, you will be writing code, seeing the result, and revising it.
  • Be curious! Programming is all about trying things out to see what happens. 
  • Be research-oriented. If you face a problem, don't immediately give up. Look for the solution by doing your research.
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Find out more and read DigitalCrafts reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with DigitalCrafts.

DigitalCrafts cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ2027384.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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