Curriculum Spotlight

Learning AI Skills at DigitalCrafts

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on January 17, 2024

Course Report strives to create the most trust-worthy content about coding bootcamps. Read more about Course Report’s Editorial Policy and How We Make Money.

As artificial intelligence technology becomes more ubiquitous in a variety of fields and industries, many are looking either to upskill or make a career pivot into AI. DigitalCrafts is set to launch two, new programs to help people gain an understanding of the fundamentals of AI. From programming with Python to improving your prompt engineering skills, find out what you can learn in the Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals Certificate program and Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Engineering Certificate program at DigitalCrafts!

Meet our DigitalCrafts experts:

  • Max McChesney is the Co-Founder and Vice President of DigitalCrafts, which is included in the American InterContinental University System.
  • Edward Lavieri is the Dean of School of Information Technology at American InterContinental University (AIU) and Chief Academic Officer for DigitalCrafts. DigitalCrafts is a member of the AIU System. 

How is DigitalCrafts thinking about AI right now? How do you see AI impacting tech (in a way that it hasn’t before)?

Max: We have been teaching software development since our inception in 2015 and cybersecurity for the past few years. With AI, it’s the first time in a while that I feel like there's an exciting technology trend that's new and has almost limitless potential! I think DigitalCrafts is uniquely at the forefront with a variety of educational programs geared specifically toward AI. We're excited to get it off the ground, and have our first two cohorts starting in early 2024. 

Ed: AI is a technology that has been around since the 1950s, but it hasn't been accessible to the common person or businesses until recently. I liken the emergence of AI back to when a calculator was the new device 40 years ago. People thought if you used it, you were cheating since you didn't do math by hand. That's old thinking — our line of thinking is that AI is a new tool. Let's find out ways that we can not only use it, but teach students how to use it to help them better prepare for whatever track they're in. 

DigitalCrafts covers many tech verticals with its bootcamps – which career path tracks do you feel are most susceptible to change from AI? 

Max: People have asked me if I think that software developers are going to be out of a job due to AI, and I think the answer to that is no. People have been saying software developers will program themselves out of a job since the computer began. Programming languages used to be zeros and ones, and then barely intelligible languages. 

With each generation, what's essentially happening is the programming language is just getting more and more like English. It's more readable and understandable, but you still have to know how to manage memory and how to design systems appropriately. I predict developers will be just as in demand as they ever were, but the tools that they use are going to be so much easier for them to use that I think their productivity will be multiplied pretty significantly.

DigitalCrafts is launching new, dedicated AI programs in 2024! What can students expect to learn in these AI programs?

Max: We will be offering two, new programs:

  1. Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals Certificate - In this program, we’ll cover AI and machine learning basics, generative prompt engineering, AI for business and data science, AI in the cloud, modern applications of AI, where AI is headed, and how you can best leverage it in your career path. 
  2. AI & Machine Learning Engineering Certificate - In this program, students will get an introduction to Python, machine learning, data science programming with Python, deep learning, natural language processing, Computer Vision, and architecting AI systems. This will be our more technical hands-on AI offering. 

Is there an ideal student for these AI programs? Will incoming students need to know how to code or other technical skills to enroll in either AI program? 

Max: These programs will be for both upskillers and career path changers. I think the programs will appeal to a lot of existing marketers, executives, and people in any job function that could benefit or be touched by AI. It'll hopefully arm them and equip them with the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to take AI and use it in their favor.

All of our programs stick to the approach of making everything beginner-friendly. We start from square one with Python and everything else. It wouldn’t hurt if somebody is a graduate of a bootcamp, whether DigitalCrafts or others, or has taken a coding program — that would give them a solid head start. Even if somebody has just messed around with Python or something in freeCodeCamp could be helpful as they learn AI. We still start both AI programs from square one and for those people who come in a little bit more prepared, they'll just see that as reinforcement. 

Ed: We're preparing for students who have never programmed at all. We're not making it a prerequisite that you have to have programming experience, but we know that some people take to programming a little bit slower than others, so we're preparing some additional materials for that.

The Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals program is the broader program, but there are areas where we go into great depth. One course is specifically on prompt engineering and students get good hands-on experience. They don't need to know any programming — they don't even need to know what AI stands for!

The AI & Machine Learning Engineering program is more in-depth and we start by teaching them how to program in Python. We teach Python because it's one of the easier languages to learn and has very specific libraries and frameworks for machine learning and AI. We're not expecting people to take six courses and then be machine learning engineers because that takes years to achieve. But we've created a good experience with hands-on learning and demonstrations to show how to do things in depth. 

Who is developing these two AI programs? Do you have AI experts or enthusiasts on the curriculum or instruction team?

Ed: I have a team that is building these programs and they're building specific courses based on their experience and knowledge. They're all current Software Developers or have that recent experience, and a couple of them are Data Science Engineers. 

AI tools are emerging rapidly – how will the curriculum iterate over time?

Ed: In the world of AI, we’re learning every day. That's one of the great things about these programs — they have to be dynamic. You can't just build the courses and go back next year and check on it. Almost week to week we're going to have to stay on top of it, which is why we love higher education in the computer science arena. Our courses are based on new technologies, new practices, new frameworks, and also student and instructor feedback. 

At the same time, we are very sensitive about tinkering with courses that grant college credit, so we have to be careful. You can't just add a bunch of things that put you over the credit limit for students and overloading them. The continual process of improvement is our mindset, especially with courses like this. We not only have to be on top of it, we want to be on top of it. 

Will these AI programs be flexible for students?

Ed: Each of these programs will include six courses, and each course is five weeks long. Every week, there will be a single instructor assigned to each course. We cap the courses at a certain number of students and there are four live sessions every week. In addition to that, there's an opportunity for one-on-ones with a faculty member. 

The classes are designed for working adults. They consist of 27 hours of average student time per class per week — that includes live sessions, activities, working on assignments, and labs. We find that working adults who are taking one class at a time do very well. 

Which generative AI tools or skills will DigitalCrafts start with in these programs?

Ed: For the Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals program, we're focusing on ChatGPT as the primary tool, because it’s helpful for new roles like prompt engineer. It has an easy interface and introduction, and it was the first on the market. We're also looking at different tools and systems that all the major cloud service providers offer, such as Amazon/AWS, Microsoft, Azure, and Google Cloud platform.

In the AI & Machine Learning Engineering program, we focus on Python for the first five weeks. The second course takes that one step further and we start using frameworks and libraries that work with Python that are specific to machine learning and data science. We'll also have some real-world case study datasets to explain or use. The next three courses are intense: we’ll cover deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), and reinforcement learning models. There are so many tools out there that we don't want to overwhelm students. We're looking at some open-source learning models and tools that are associated with them. The ones we're planning to use are prevalent in the industry and are at no additional cost to students. 

What kinds of projects will AI students work on?

Ed: For the AI & Machine Learning Engineering program, there's a lot more hands-on work because they're developing software, building models, testing those models, and refining code that we're sharing with them. There's a lot of interactive lab content.

Do these AI programs offer college credit?

Ed: Yes. Both programs offer college credit. Each course in both programs equates to 4.5 quarter credit hours. So, a student successfully completing all six courses in either program would earn 27 quarter credit hours. 

Were these programs created so students could go from the AI Fundamentals program to the AI & Machine Learning Engineering program?

Ed: We didn't design it that way, but I think that's pretty natural. If you’re a Fundamentals student and you catch the bug, the next step is enrolling in the AI ML Engineering program! 

How are the AI programs different from other bootcamps offered at DigitalCrafts?

Max: I would say they are very similar to our coding bootcamp. The workload, educational delivery, and classroom experience are all the same. The AI and Machine Learning Engineering bootcamp is going to be the most reminiscent of our software development bootcamp. 

Both AI programs involve programming. The Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals program is the least programming-heavy curriculum that we offer today, which I think will appeal to a different audience than if you looked at a lot of our alumni. 

Is AI being integrated into the DigitalCrafts’ bootcamps?

Ed: We’re figuring out how to add more AI to our two existing certificate programs, Cybersecurity and  Software Development: Full Stack. We want the Cybersecurity curriculum to include AI since it’s already used for threat analysis and vulnerability analysis. We're taking the same approach with our Software Development: Full Stack certificate program where software developers are using AI to write, modify, and enhance code. We want to inculcate it throughout because AI will be a tool you can use in every step. 

Max: In the meantime, we've created a 3-week Intro to AI bonus course that students in our existing bootcamps can access after they complete their program. It doesn't get into machine learning and deep learning, but it's a good introductory course into AI fundamentals. 

What is your advice to folks who are interested in enrolling in these AI programs? Anything they should know to make the most of their experience?

Max: Keep up with the news. If you're trying to get into a new field, the first thing I would tell anybody to do is figure out who writes about that field. Subscribe to their newsletters and read what they put out. The sooner you are familiar with all the players and terminology and what's going on in the industry and niche that you've chosen, the better prepared you can be. I think DigitalCrafts is worth taking a look at for an accelerated path to either goal. 

I tell a lot of prospective students that this material is out there, you just have to search for it. The reason DigitalCrafts exists and does such a great job for our students is it's similar to using a personal trainer versus going to the gym by yourself. You can scour YouTube or go to the library and read books and learn this stuff on your own, but I don't think you can do it in the same condensed amount of time with support. For instance, in web development, you could hit your head against the wall for three days trying to figure out why your code doesn't work, only to realize you're missing a semicolon somewhere. In the classroom environment, you can raise your hand or schedule some time with your instructor to figure that out in 30 minutes. Get out there and learn and figure out what you want to do! 

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. REQ2005294.

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.

Also on Course Report

Get Free Bootcamp Advice

Sign up for our newsletter and receive our free guide to paying for a bootcamp.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive email marketing from Course Report.

Get Matched in Minutes

Just tell us who you are and what you’re searching for, we’ll handle the rest.

Match Me