The 7 best AI courses for beginners

The 7 best AI courses for beginners

Upskilling in AI is just about the most productive thing you could do with your free time right now. 

With every day that passes, AI technology is making strides, and the demand for AI-related skills increases along with it. To help close the knowledge gap, big tech companies have been publishing high-quality AI learning content.

Whether you’re looking to upskill in a particular AI-related area or you just want a better understanding of where we are now and where we’re heading, investing time to learn this stuff will unequivocally pay off. 

The problem: there’s also a lot of not great AI content out there. So I spent time sifting through swaths of online AI courses available right now to pull out the best, most actionable ones on offer. The courses on this list are meant for beginners who want to introduce AI into their work, so check your impostor syndrome at the door, and start learning.

The best AI courses for beginners at a glance

Course name


What you’ll learn

Time to complete


AI for Everyone


Introduction to AI, building AI into business, AI’s impact on society

Under 10 hours

7-day free trial, $79/month

Building Generative AI Skills for Business Professionals


How to generate prompts, using generative AI for writing, research, and AI-generated images

Around 15 hours

Free for 1 month, $39.99/month (or $14.99/month, paid annually)

Generative AI Learning Path


Overview of generative AI, large language models, using AI responsibly

5 days recommended

Free; $29/month after one free month

AI for Business Specialization

University of Pennsylvania

AI fundamentals, AI applications in marketing finance, and people management, AI strategy and governance

Around 1 month

7-day free trial, $79/month

AI Foundations for Everyone


Introduction to AI, IBM Watson, creating a chatbot with Watson

7 days recommended

7-day free trial, $79/month

The Ethics of AI

University of Helsinki

AI ethics, accountability, transparency, and human rights



Increase productivity using AI


How to craft powerful prompts, pairing automation with AI, building an AI chatbot

Under 30 minutes


Why learn about AI?

Instead of spending your time asking Google “will AI take my job?” you’re better off learning how to use AI to your advantage. Because if you don’t, the answer will likely be a hard yes.

Regardless of how you feel about AI, it’s a tool that every knowledge worker can use to do their job better. That’s true for writers, coders, project managers, HR professionals, marketers, sales people—and everyone in between.

The good news: you don’t have to be tech-advanced to be able to learn how to use AI. AI is having its moment because of how powerful new models are, but part of the reason AI it’s been so headline-y is that it’s so accessible. If you have access to the internet, you can use AI.

So learn how to embrace AI at work—these seven classes can help.

1. AI for Everyone (DeepLearning.AI)

DeepLearning.AI is an ed tech company dedicated to educating the world on AI. The company is headed up by Dr. Andrew Ng, who’s pretty much the global leading voice in artificial intelligence. Any courses you enroll for with him, you know you’re in good hands.

As you can imagine, there’s a whole load of different AI courses available through the DeepLearning.AI website since that’s literally their business model. I was surprised to see how affordable the courses are too: they range from around $39 to $79, even for the more specialized courses. 

Andrew Ng also happens to be the co-founder of Coursera, so you can access a lot of his course content through a Coursera subscription (which is free for the first seven days). His course AI for Everyone is by far the most popular online AI course I’ve come across. More than a million people have taken the course so far, and it’s had over 40,000 positive reviews. 

The course itself covers a whole lot of introductory ground across its four modules, including how to build AI into your business and how AI is impacting society.

While the course information says you should be able to complete the course in under 10 hours, there’s a lot of content to get through. Modules include 8-10 videos, and there’s a quiz at the end of each block, so it could easily take a lot longer to complete. If you’re looking for something shorter, keep scrolling.

Price: 7-day free trial; $79/month after that

2. Building Generative AI Skills for Business Professionals (LinkedIn)

The homepage for Building Generative AI Skills for Business Professionals, one of the best AI courses

If there’s one platform that knows the value of upskilling, it’s LinkedIn. So it’s not surprising that if you run a search on LinkedIn Learning, you’ll see there’s a whole bunch of educational AI video content already available on the platform.

I’ve watched a lot of the free AI video content over the last few months and found most of it really useful for providing top-level context to using AI in the workplace. It’s all general enough that you can apply it to most industries. Helpfully, LinkedIn has organized a lot of the content into cohesive learning paths. 

If you’re very new to AI, there’s a Career Essentials in Generative AI path that focuses on what generative AI is and how you can use it in the workplace. But Building Generative AI Skills for Business Professionals is the one I found to be the most practical. There’s content in there that will show you how to generate the best prompts, use generative AI to write content, perform solid research, and create AI-generated images on Midjourney. Everything that will help you leverage AI in your job.

Making your way through this content path will take around 15 hours, and if you take the exam at the end, you’ll get a Professional Certificate from Microsoft that you can display on your LinkedIn profile too. 

A subscription to LinkedIn Learning is free for the first month, so you could do one of these courses (or both, depending on how much free time you have) within the free month trial.

Price: Free for 1 month; $39.99/month (or $14.99/month, paid annually) after that

3. Generative AI Learning Path (Google)

Generative AI Learning Path, one of the best AI courses

To no one’s surprise, Google is also offering a whole load of different AI-related online courses and educational content. If you’re looking for something super top-level, Google offers an AI for Everyone course through EdX that takes around 12 hours to complete. But of all Google’s AI material I’ve found, the Generative AI Learning Path seems to be the best value in terms of the amount of course material involved. 

This is an introductory course that will give you a good overview of generative AI, large language models, and using AI responsibly. The learning path is made up of five courses, offered through Google Cloud’s Skills Boost program. 

Google recommends you dedicate one day per course, as you make your way through various videos, reading material, and quizzes. Some blocks involve more material than others, and completing a course will earn you 300 credits. 

You can consume all the content for free, but to take a “Lab” (to test your knowledge and earn a completion badge that will go on your Google profile), you need to subscribe or have earned enough credits. Google Cloud’s Skills Boost subscription is free for the first month, then $29/month thereafter. 

Price: Free; to get a completion badge, $29/month after one free month

4. AI for Business Specialization (University of Pennsylvania)

The homepage for AI for Business Specialization, of the best AI courses

The University of Pennsylvania offers an AI for Business Specialization course through Coursera that covers a broad spectrum of interest areas within it. The course is made up of four modules: 

  • AI Fundamentals for Non-Data Scientists

  • AI Applications in Marketing and Finance

  • AI Applications in People Management

  • AI Strategy and Governance

The course is suitable for beginners, but the content is aimed at business leaders and managers. It focuses on providing a holistic overview of these different areas of AI and how they relate to each other. The content also gives guidance on how you can best implement AI across different areas of your organization and use it to your advantage. 

This course is taught by professors at the Wharton School, one of the top-ranking business schools in the world. Completing the entire course should take around one month, assuming you’re able to dedicate 10 hours per week to the content. You’re also expected to take part in peer-reviewed assessments for each module, and if you complete them, you’ll come away with a certificate that’s shareable on your LinkedIn profile.

Coursera has a free seven-day trial, in which time you could complete one of the modules (around 10 hours) to be sure it was worth your time. After the free trial, a Coursera subscription is $79/month. 

Price: 7-day free trial; $79/month after that

5. AI Foundations for Everyone (IBM)

The homepage for AI Foundations for Everyone Specialization, one of the best AI courses

IBM offers a few different beginner-level AI courses through online learning platforms. One great example is its AI for Everyone: Master the Basics course on EdX, which offers a pretty comprehensive overview of AI in just eight hours of content. 

But my pick here is IBM’s AI Foundations for Everyone course on Coursera. It’s also a beginner’s course, but the modules are a bit more practical and specialized, meaning you’ll come out with slightly more actionable knowledge. 

It’s delivered in three blocks. The first is an introduction to AI and its uses in the workplace. The second two blocks are more practical, but they’re also specific to IBM’s own product. You’ll get an introduction to IBM’s generative AI product, IBM Watson, then learn how to use Watson to create a chatbot code-free. It’s a sales tool, but it’ll also give you insights into how big tech companies are developing these tools and how you would potentially bring them into your organization.

Similarly to UPenn’s course above, you can complete this course for free if you complete it within Coursera’s seven-day free trial. 

Price: 7-day free trial; $79/month after that

6. The Ethics of AI (University of Helsinki)

The homepage of The Ethics of AI, one of the best AI courses

While AI technology promises to bring huge benefits to businesses and society as a whole, it involves using data on a scale we’ve never seen before. As we enter totally new technological territory, it’s more important than ever to have an awareness of the ethical risks involved in some technologies and consider how to use AI responsibly as an organization. 

If you’re a business owner, or at least in some sort of decision-making role, taking a course in AI ethics would be a responsible move. 

The University of Helsinki offers an online course on the Ethics of AI, hosted through their own MOOC (massive open online course) center. The course is made up of seven core blocks, including chapters on accountability, transparency, and human rights in relation to AI. You can also take part in practical exercises that help you learn how to combine ethical concepts and theories related to AI. 

There’s no certification of completion, but the course is completely free, and you can complete it at your own pace. 

Price: Free

7. Increase productivity using AI (Zapier)

The homepage of Increase productivity using AI, one of the best AI courses

Increase productivity using AI by Zapier introduces you to powerful generative AI tools and showcases ways to use them in your work. In under 30 minutes, you’ll learn how to craft powerful prompts, how to pair automation with AI, and even how to build your own AI chatbot (even if you’ve never touched an app builder in your life).

If you’re more hands-on—looking to get a quick crash course in the basics and then dive right into using AI—this is a great course to start with. Once you’re done, you can stay on Zapier to experiment with AI tools and connect them to all the other apps you use at work.

Price: Free

Learn about AI—and then put it to work

Regardless of which course you go for, any time you spend educating yourself on AI is going to be a smart investment. If you have a particular area of interest in relation to AI that’s not covered in this list, it’s worth running a search to see if there’s learning content already available on that topic. 

And for every hour you spend learning about AI, spend an hour tinkering with it too. ChatGPT and Zapier’s AI Chatbot tool are two easy places to get started.

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