New Year's Resolution - Learn AI
Written by Janet Swift   
Monday, 01 January 2018

Artificial Intelligence constantly figured in our news in 2017 and we can confidently predict that this trend will continue into 2018 and beyond. It therefore comes as no surprise that AI is an area that many developers are keen to move into.

This finding comes from cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean which initiated a quarterly survey of developers in 2017. Questions about involvement with artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) technologies was included in its second survey, which had more than 2,500 respondents from around the world, and was published in December 2017. 

Only 17% of those surveyed had worked with AI or ML technologies during 2017 and this graphic summarizes their responses:


TensorFlow was clearly the most frequently encountered, with Natural Language Processing, Sentiment Analysis and Python at the next level. Neural Network comes in the fifth of six bins. It is obvious that little or no processing went into this analysis - for example NLP appears at least twice in the smallest sized text instead of being added to to the Natural Language Processing count.

Although 83% of developers who responded did not work with AI or machine learning in 2017, 73% of this group said they plan to learn about these technologies in 2018, with Machine Learning topping the popularity poll of skills they wanted to acquire in 2018. Respondents also cited programming languages they wanted to learn and JavaScript, Python and Golang were all at the second level of popularity.skill

With regards to the languages already used and favored by respondents, PHP was the top:



With regard to operating system use, Linux was overwhelmingly the choice for the server with 89%. While this was unsurprising, Linux was also the OS chosen by almost a third of respondents for the desktop, with Windows coming in a poor third:



Interestingly, two thirds of those who wrote code did so in both a professional and hobbyist capacity and only around 15% considered it a work-only activity. The split between open source and closed source was more or less 50/50. AI, of course, has a big open source presence as well as being important to all commercial activities.



So how should developers learn more about AI? There are lots of freely available resources and if you are a beginner Microsoft's newly launched AI School website has links to plenty of relevant, freely availble material, much of it on the edX platform. If it's TensorFlow you want to learn about, Google has course material on Udacity. The DigitalOcean blog is another starting point, where the company's Head of R&D, Alejandro (Alex) Jaimes has written a three-part series on artificial intelligence. The first post outlined the state of AI, and the second installment was about how data and models feed computing and the third one looks at AI as a service.

More Information

DigitalOcean Currents quarterly report

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Last Updated ( Monday, 01 January 2018 )