Microsoft Launches a Series of 44 Short Videos to Learn Python on YouTube

IBL News | New York

Microsoft has launched a video series to learn Python for beginners on YouTube.

It consists of 44 videos of three-to-four minutes taught by two developers at Microsoft: Christopher Harrison, a senior program manager at Microsoft, and Susan Ibach, a business development manager from Microsoft’s AI Gaming unit.

The course focuses on Python version 3.x, but Microsoft says the lessons should still be valuable to users on Python 2.x.

A page on GitHub titled “Getting started with Python” contains additional resources.

There are many reasons why Microsoft is investing in Python courses. First, it is an opportunity to expand the population of Python developers using Azure for building AI applications. Second, Microsoft’s own Python extension for Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is its most popular extension in the company’s marketplace for developers.

More Python Courses

In the newest annual ranking of popular programming language by IEEE Spectrum, Python is seating in top place, just ahead of Java, C and R.

Last month announced new editions of Python courses: Introduction to Python Programming with Georgia Tech and Analytics in Python with Columbia University.


Google Expands Its IT Support Certificate Program to 100 Community Colleges

IBL News | New York

Google announced on Thursday plans to offer through a $3.5 million grant its IT Support Professional Certificate program to 100 community colleges by the end of 2020 in eight new states: Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Virginia and West Virginia.  Those states come in addition to schools in Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, and Wisconsin, which have offered the course since earlier this year.

The online program consists of six modules, costing $49 each. It takes an average of six months to complete and is designed to prepare learners without a degree or tech experience for an entry-level job in IT support –which has a median salary of $53,000.

Launched at Coursera in January 2018, the program is part of the Grow with Google initiative.

More than 95,000 learners enrolled in these classes and thousands of people have found jobs in large companies such as Wal-Mart, Ricoh, GE Digital and Google.

Leah Belsky, Senior Vice President of Enterprise at Coursera, wrote a blog post analyzing the first year’s impact of the program.

Speaking at an event on October 3rd in Dallas, Texas, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company’s goal is to “make sure that the opportunities created by technology are truly available to everyone.”

Along with Pichai, President Trump’s senior advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump was on hand to discuss the importance of retaining workers in the U.S. During the event, Pichai signed a pledge to the White House to help retain workers in the American tech industry.


IBL News, Sept 22: Google and CompTIA Create a Dual Credential for Learners Seeking for Entry-Level Jobs in IT
IBL News, June 15: Coursera’s Google IT Support Certificate Program Gets a Good Response

AWS and Udacity Launch a Scholarship to Participate in the World’s First Autonomous Racing League

IBL News | New York

Udacity announced yesterday the DeepRacer Scholarship Challenge from Amazon Web Services (AWS), a new program that will enable students to expand and test their skills in machine learning by participating in the world’s first autonomous racing league.

The 200 top-performing students in the DeepRacer League will also have the opportunity to earn their way to a full scholarship to Udacity’s Machine Learning Nanodegree program.

A part of the program, students learn to create, train, and fine-tune a Reinforcement Learning model in the AWS DeepRacer 3D racing simulator.

The AWS DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale race car which gives students a hands-on way to get started with Reinforcement Learning (RL). RL is an advanced machine learning (ML) technique and is broadly useful when the reward function of the desired outcome is known but the path to achieving it is not and requires a lot of iteration to discover. Applications open on August 1.

The Scholarship program incorporates a brand-new free course, AWS DeepRacer: Driven by Reinforcement Learning.

“There simply aren’t enough people, who are equipped with machine learning skills. That’s why AWS and Udacity share a commitment to train machine learning talent. I’m confident that the DeepRacer Scholarship Challenge from AWS will empower learners to master Reinforcement Learning and land some of the most exciting and in-demand jobs in the field,” said Sebastian Thrun, CEO at Udacity.


Code with Google, a New Computer Science Resource for Educators

IBL News | New York

Google has launched an initiative called “Code with Google” to train teachers in Computer Science (CS). It brings together Google’s free curriculum and programs that build coding skills.

Educators can integrate CS First into their classroom, guide their high school students through the learning app Grasshopper to learn JavaScript, and share CS scholarship, summer programs, and internships opportunities.

Alongside these resources, also announced a grant of $1 million to the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) to expand the CS learning.

Currently, many schools don’t offer CS courses that include programming.

“Code with Google is the next step in our ongoing commitment to closing equity gaps in CS education,” wrote Google VP of Education and University Relations, Maggie Johnson, in a blog post.

With this initiative, Google continues its education strategy for schools. Affordable Chromebooks, free resources and cloud-based software is is how the giant company is trying to solidify its position among educators and students.

Amazon Will Invest $700 Million to Retrain 100,000 Employees Over Six Years

IBL News | New York

Amazon will invest $700 million over six years to provide upskilling, post-secondary job training for 100,000 of its employees (one in three) across the U.S.

This massive corporate retraining initiative breaks down to about $7,000 per employee or about $1,200 a year through 2025.

This way Amazon’s programs will help employees across corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retails stores and transportation networks to move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.

The training will be voluntary and mostly free for workers. In addition, it won’t obligate participants to remain at Amazon.

The announcement, made last Thursday, highlighted that “employee upskilling investment builds on Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits including medical insurance, 401k savings plan, and generous parental leave.”

Most of this training will be built by Amazon alongside external experts.

Amazon’s fastest-growing highly skilled jobs over the last five years are data mapping specialist (832% growth), data scientist (505%), solutions architect (454%), security engineer (229%) and business analyst (160%). Within customer fulfillment, highly skilled roles have increased over 400%, including jobs like logistics coordinator, process improvement manager, and transportation specialist within our customer fulfillment network.

Through its Upskilling 2025 pledge, Amazon -with more than 630,000 employees worldwide- is focused on creating pathways to careers in areas such as healthcare, machine learning, manufacturing, robotics, computer science, cloud computing, and more.

Programs include:

  • Amazon Technical Academy, a training and job placement program that equips non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers. It combines instructor-led, project-based learning with real-world applications.
    This tuition-free program was created by Amazon software engineers for Amazon employees who want to move into the field. More here.
  • Associate2Tech, a fully-paid 90-day program that trains fulfillment center associates to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience. It pays for their A+ Certification test, a widely recognized certification. Learn more here.
  • Machine Learning University (MLU), an initiative that offers employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program.
    Divided into six-week modules, the program requires only half to one full day of participation a week. MLU is taught by more than 400 Amazon Machine Learning scientists who are passionate about furthering skills in the field. Originally launched as a small cohort, the program is on course to train thousands of employees.
  • AmazonCareer Choice, a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center associates in high-demand occupations of their choice. Amazon will pay up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study, leading to in-demand jobs. Since launching Career Choice in 2012, over 25,000 Amazonians have received training for high-demand occupations including aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, and nursing. The company is investing in expanding the program by building additional classrooms in its fulfillment centers globally and expects to have over 60 on-site classrooms by the end of 2020.
  • Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon.
    Providing a combination of immersive learning and on-the-job training, the Amazon Apprenticeship program has already created paths to technical jobs for hundreds of candidates working to break into careers including cloud support associate, data technician and software development engineer.
  • AWS Training and Certification, a program that provides employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge and discounted AWS Certification exams to validate cloud expertise.



Billionaire Mark Cuban Takes Online Coding Classes to Sharpen His Investment Skills

IBL News | New York

Billionaire investor, host of “Shark Tank” and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban takes online courses to stay up-to-date on programming languages and evolving technologies and make him a savvier investor.

“I’ve been on Amazon doing the Machine Learning tutorials, I’ve taken Python online classes, and I just started JavaScript neural networks,” disclosed Cuban on an interview with Andy Serwer at Yahoo Finance’s Influencers space.

“I’m not trying to be great at that [coding or machine learning], but I want to understand it so I understand all the nuanced elements of it and how it works so that I have an advantage,” he explained.

Mark Cuban has poured his money into more than 120 tech startups over the years.

Watch the interview below.

Yahoo Finance: Why Mark Cuban Is Taking Coding Classes

Amazon Partners with George Mason University to Launch a Cloud-Based Degree

IBL News | New York

George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Community College (NOVA) are partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer students a pathway to earn a Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree and pursue a career in cloud computing.

Both institutions worked with AWS Educate curriculum designers to create a degree program which will be mapped to in-demand technical skills required by Amazon and other employees in cloud services, cybersecurity, software development and DevOps.

Students will first earn an Associate degree at NOVA and transfer to George Mason to complete a four-year Bachelor’s degree.

“This degree pathway marks the beginning of a ground-breaking initiative that will deliver innovative educational opportunities to students across the commonwealth. The collaboration with AWS helps give our students, and our region, a competitive edge,” said Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University, at Campus Technology.

“We are delighted to be working with George Mason University and NOVA to turn the growing demand for cloud skills into pathways in technology for students from all backgrounds,” stated Teresa Carlson, vice president for worldwide public sector at AWS.

Amazon, which is building its second corporate headquarters in Northern Virginia, expects to bring 25,000 jobs to the region by 2030.

AWS Educate Free Courses

On the other hand, AWS Educate released three new credentialed, 25-hour, free courses. Campus Technology reports.

These courses are AWS RoboMaker, Amazon Sumerian and AWS DeepRacer.


Master’s Degrees which Can Be Completed Online

Over 36 degrees can be completed online through a MOOC platform, while several others have been announced but are not yet open for enrollment, reports, which has classified these programs into six categories.

In most cases, the final degree doesn’t indicate that the credential was earned online.



Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS), Georgia Tech via Udacity
Total Cost: $8,000
Duration: 24-60 months

Master of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera
Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 12-36 months

Master’s Degree in Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin via edX
Total Cost: $10,000
Duration: 18-36 months

Master of Computer and Information Technology, University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
Total Cost: $26,300
Duration: 24-40 months

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder via Coursera
Total Cost: $20,000
Duration: 24 months

Master of Computer Science, Arizona State University via Coursera
Total Cost: $15,000
Duration: 18-36 months



iMBA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign via Coursera
Total Cost: $22,000
Duration: 24-36 months

iMSA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign via Coursera
Total Cost: $22,050 – $27,170
Duration: 18-36 months

MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, HEC Paris via Coursera
Total Cost: $22,600 (20,000 EUR)
Duration: 18 months

MBA (various areas of focus), Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $20,511 (15,900 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months, part-time only

Master’s Degree in Accounting, Indiana University via edX
Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 15-36 months

Master’s Degree in Marketing, Curtin University via edX
Total Cost: $18,926
Duration: 18-36 months

Global Master of Business Administration, Macquarie University via Coursera
Total Cost: $23,430 ($33,000 AUD)
Duration: 12-18 months

Master’s Degree in Leadership: Service Innovation, University of Queensland via edX
Total Cost: $17,914
Duration: 24 months

MSc Business and Organisational Psychology, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $17,222 (13,350 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Construction Management with BIM, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $19,415 (15,050 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Construction Project and Cost Management, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $19,415 (15,050 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months



Online Master of Science in Analytics, Georgia Tech via edX
Total Cost: $9,900
Duration: 12-36 months

Master of Computer Science in Data Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign via Coursera
Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 12-36 months

Master of Applied Data ScienceUniversity of Michigan via Coursera
Total Cost: $31,688 – $42,262
Duration: 12 months minimum



Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity, Georgia Tech via edX
Total Cost: $9,920
Duration: 24-36 months

Master of Cyber Security, Deakin University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $18,659 ($26,280 AUD)
Duration: 24 months

MSc Cyber Security, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $19,425 (15,050 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months (part time only)

Master’s Degree in IT Management, Indiana University via edX
Total Cost: $21,000
Duration: 15-36 months



Master of Public Health, University of Michigan via Coursera
Total Cost: $44,520 (maybe lower for Michigan residents)
Duration: 20-22 months

Global Master of Public Health, Imperial College London via Coursera
Total Cost: $25,000 (lower for UK residents)
Duration: 24 months

Master of Development and Humanitarian Action, Deakin University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $8,158 ($11,490 AUD)
Duration: 12 months (full time)

MSc Nursing, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $16,125 (12,500 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Disaster Management and Resilience, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $17,222 (13,350 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months

MSc Emergency Management and Resilience, Coventry University via FutureLearn
Total Cost: $17,222 (13,350 GBP)
Duration: 24-60 months



Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, University of London via Coursera
Total Cost: $13,014 – $19,520 (10,088 – 15,132 GBP)
Duration: 36-72 months

Bachelor of Arts (Multiple Subjects), University of Newcastle via FutureLearn
Total Cost: est. $77,280 (24 Programs x $3,220/Program)
Duration: 36 months or more


Class Central: 35+ Legit Master’s Degrees You Can Now Earn Completely Online

MITx Granted 1,277 Credentials on its Supply Chain MicroMasters

The flagship MIT’s Supply Chain Management MicroMasters on released new numbers:

  • 279,310 learners enrolled
  • 18,789 learners verified
  • 28,231 certificates issued
  • 1,277 credentials granted

This program, priced at $1,080, includes five online courses and a final comprehensive exam: Analytics, Fundamentals, Design, Dynamics, and Technology and Systems. These courses offer the same rigor and relevance as the material taught on the MIT campus. It represents the equivalent of one semester of coursework at MIT, from January through June.

The data above, disclosed during a talk at the Learn Launch conference last week in Boston, and exclusively reported by IBL News, reflects the success of this blended initiative.

The first class on the Supply Chain Management five-course MicroMaster program on was finalized by 1,900 students in 2018, according to data released in July 2018. A total of 622 students successfully completed the final exam, and 42 started the residential semester at MIT’s Cambridge campus in January 2018 to earn a full master’s degree.

This year another 40 students have been accepted to complete the full MIT Master’s degree on-campus.

Dr. Chuck’s MOOC on Python Is Now Also on

Is your course hosted on Coursera or edX? Well, it can be on both platforms.

Take Charles Severance (Dr. Chuck)’s Python for Everybody. This course has been a hit in Coursera for years, with over a million enrollments. Last week, it was posted on edX.

In both cases, it is a paid course. In Coursera it is part of a Specialization, and the free trial goes for seven days. In, an upgrade to the verified certificate level, at a price of $49, is needed to access graded exercises and to keep it open after two months.

The creator of the course offers some free options on his page, although these seem mostly oriented to computer science instructors who want to use the materials after setting a learning environment. This course content, including a free textbook and support materials, is also available on GitHub.

The Python for Everybody course was one of the first successful MOOCs in this computing language. Almost ten years ago, Charles Severance, who teaches at the University of Michigan, created the course aimed at beginners with no technical training or math knowledge.

“I created a course that does not try to teach Computer Science using Python but instead teaches a subset of Python that represented the essentials of programming. When I was originally building the course (in Python 2.0 at the time), I would not have predicted the exciting growth of Python and the success of the MOOC movement. Ten years later, PY4E [Python for Everybody] has reached more than 2 million learners to become the largest Python course in the world, graduating thousands of new Python programmers every week,” wrote Professor Severance on’s blog site.

• Course on edXProgramming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) and Python Data Structures
• Course on Coursera: Python for Everybody Specialization