Kicking off the Black and Brilliant AI Accelerator

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Kicking off the Black and Brilliant AI Accelerator

Last month we shared that we’ve partnered with Black and Brilliant on an Artificial Intelligence Accelerator program in order to upskill the next generation of AI superstars. The course begins this week. Over the next ten weeks, participants will take part in the accelerated course, along with the assistance of industry coaches.

We’ll be sharing updates and progress throughout the 10-week accelerator program, but to kick things off we wanted to share a little more about what the participants will be covering. Plus, introduce you to some of the inspiring learners taking part.

The curriculum

The course is designed to be an on-ramp into the world of AI, machine learning, or data analytics. Over the course of 10 weeks, participants will spend time learning about four main areas — programming and data engineering, responsible AI, user experience and creative, and the business of AI.

You can learn more about each of these areas below, which will include panel discussions which will be recorded and shared publicly if you’re interested in following along. To stay in the loop, follow The Black and Brilliant Advocacy Network on LinkedIn.

Programming and Data Engineering

Learners will get training in the critical skills and insights necessary for careers in Data Science, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. This includes learning to analyze data, communicate findings, and draw predictions using machine learning.

In addition to making their way through Codecademy’s Data Science curriculum, learners will receive coaching from industry experts including Quincy Olatunde, Mahir Yavuz, Nana Yaw Essuman, Ruth Ikwu, Marc Maleh, Michael Horn, Steven Kaneti, Tokunbo Michael Hiamang, Femi Anthony, Bashir Mohammed, Yla Eason, and Sean Reed.

Responsible AI

Learners will learn how to navigate the ethical and moral dangers of AI, capitalize on the opportunities, and incorporate social justice into their work. They’ll gain insights into handling bias and fairness, making AI accountable to users and citizens, ensuring transparency, and more, coached by Michael Horn and Toju Duke.

User Experience and Creative

Learners will get a grasp of user experience and creative. This will start with a look at design essentials, exploring design principles for infographics and data visualizations. Learners will also dive into user research, design concepting and prototyping, and usability research.

Coaches in this area include Marc Maleh, Dr. Matthew Adeiza, and Sakinah Adebola Abdul-Ibiyeye.

The Business of AI

Last but not least, participants will explore the different business models and key players in AI, including advertising, eCommerce, B2B,  and more. In addition, participants will learn about what it takes to succeed in key areas, including Data Management, Product Management, and marketing, and learn how to land jobs in these areas.

Coaches include Quincy Olatunde, James Briggs, Kevin McFall, and Tony Effik.

The learners

We received applications from all over the world and we’ll be introducing you to learners as they make their way through the 10-week course. Participants include those currently working as data scientists and data analysts, lawyers, PhD candidates, healthcare professionals, and those just starting out on their career journeys.

Cierra Hall, a Data Scientist intern and Python enthusiast from Virginia, shares why she decided to apply for the program:

“I want to be able to use technology to bridge the treatment provided to African American women especially in the area of maternity mortality rates. I think data can help prove that African American women need  additional care and provide potential solutions through the data. I know there’s power in data through the information extracted from it.”

Siphu, a Data Scientist from Canada, made a career switch from advanced practice nursing to Data Science and Machine Learning. Siphu shares, “I would like to be an impactful practitioner in AI that can offer a diverse voice to the conversation. I also think that ethics in AI does not get enough attention in academic settings and this would give me the opportunity to fill those gaps in my learning.”

Leonard Paul Kamara, a data analyst and sales engineer from California, applied for the program because he aspires to become an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Engineer. “I want to use AI to positively impact lives,” he shared in his application. “I am keen on renewables and would one day like to leverage these skills to make a meaningful contribution to the development of clean energy.”

While many of our participating learners aspire to work as engineers, others are interested in learning more about AI in order to become more effective at their work in other areas. For instance, Michelle, a lawyer in New York, shares, “Biased AI in student disciplinary decisions has serious long term consequences. I think I will be a much more effective lawyer in this space when I know more about how the technology works.”

Terence, a PhD candidate in Alabama shares, “I am very interested in potentially utilizing AI to increase accessibility to mental healthcare.”

Yatisha Forde, a consultant in New Jersey, applied for the accelerator because she’s interested in introducing new skills into her tool set and to see if AI is a path she’d like to pursue. She shares, “I see a gap in Black, female talent in technical fields, where I could make a difference, if successful, by encouraging other people of color and women to undertake this career path.”

We’re excited to get to know these learners — and introduce you to others — as they make their way through the course!

How to follow along

We’ll be sharing updates over the next ten weeks, including recordings of panels and interviews with coaches and learners. Stay tuned for those updates here on the Codecademy blog. You can also follow The Black and Brilliant Advocacy Network on LinkedIn to stay in the loop. We hope you’ll follow along!