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Your Questions, My Answers on Stanford’s Graduate AI Certification

Your Questions, My Answers on Stanford’s Graduate AI Certification


I have been asked a lot of questions lately about Stanford’s online course offerings and why somebody would choose them over myriad of options online. This is my attempt to bundle them together to help a broader audience.

1. How do you choose classes?
It depends on your goals and interests. Here are some questions to ask.

  • Goal: 
    • What do you want to achieve out of a particular course? 
    • Are you learning for fun or do you want to apply the knowledge to build something?
    • Do you want to extend/switch careers to become a Deep Learning practitioner?
    • Do you think these tools will help you solve a real-life problem?
  • Interests:
    • Read through the course page, find out the topics they cover and search for applications/projects related to it. Do these topics interest you? Here is my review on some of the classes to help you get started.

2. Reference Materials for classes?

  • Most classes at Stanford are self-contained but you are welcomed to read and research resources, there is tons of literature on most topics as it’s an active field of research. 
  • Teaching staff usually provides references for each topic which help you consolidate concepts.

3. Are there any forums to discuss doubts? Is there any form of Mentorship provided?

  • There are Course Assistants for every class and there is also a forum setup per class where you can discuss doubts and ask questions to help solidify your understanding. 
  • You are also assigned a Mentor for your project which is one of the course assistants for the class. They help give feedback and suggestions to help you navigate and sketch out scope of a project.

4. What can you get out of a class project?

  • A class project can be an open research problem, your attempt at reproducing ideas presented in a paper or simply applying fundamentals to a real-life problem. This is one of the most interesting parts of the courses which helps you exercise what you have learnt and even explore beyond the class. 
  • Choosing challenging course projects helps you explore and become better at applying concepts and figure out how to use these tools in real-life problems.

5. What Programming Language is preferred?

  • Most classes require you to code in Python. 

6. Why is it still worth taking the course when you have online courses at a much lower cost?

  • These are actual “Graduate” courses taken by students at Stanford. I have found them to be quite challenging but at the same time rewarding in ways that broaden your horizon and knowledge with State-of-the-Art (SoTA) literature and techniques. 
  • I would suggest using other online courses as basics to build upon with these Graduate level classes. 

7. Why one shouldn’t one be judgmental about this course since it is a “Graduate Certificate” unlike a full time Master’s course?

  • Graduate level courses are more abstract compared to their undergraduate counterparts. Again, It depends on what your goals are, if you have a Master’s you can update yourself with these classes. 
  • On the other hand, my understanding is that the same courses can be taken as part of an online Master’s program.


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