Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How IBM is supporting developers with AI education [Q&A]


In May of last year, IBM launched watsonx, its enterprise-ready AI and data platform, and made it generally available in July.

Alongside this it has launched some new free generative AI educational courses and content to help developers and IT practitioners build their AI and open source skills. We spoke with Savio Rodrigues, vice president, ecosystem engineering and developer advocacy at IBM to learn more.

BN: Tell us a bit about your role at IBM?

SR: I’ve been with IBM for more than two decades and currently serve as vice president of ecosystem engineering and developer advocacy. In this role, I lead a global team of engineers, data scientists, and developer advocates focused on helping IBM Ecosystem partners adopt IBM technology through hands-on engineering assistance and co-creation. Additionally, I also oversee IBM Developer, IBM’s external platform that helps developers build new skills and adopt hybrid cloud and AI by providing access to open source technologies and IBM products.

BN: IBM has a history of supporting developers and working with open-source communities. Can you tell us about the mission of IBM Developer and how your approach has evolved?

SR: We’ve been involved with open source for several decades, backing influential communities like Linux, Apache, and Eclipse, pushing for open licenses, open governance, and open standards. IBM continues to be a strong technical contributor to open source projects, with contributions in the areas of scalability, robustness, and security.

What has evolved is the breadth of resources and the technology including hybrid cloud, AI and Quantum open source projects. Today, we provide accessible world-class code, community, and content with a focus on hybrid cloud and AI technology like IBM watsonx, which is built with several open source technologies.

BN: Can you tell us more about the generative AI content and courses that you published earlier this year?

SR: With the launch of watsonx, IBM’s data and AI platform, we’ve published a variety of new courses and content, including free, hands-on training, to help developers learn the fundamental concepts for AI and generative AI, including prompt engineering and large language models. 

The free Generative AI educational courses are designed to help developers and IT practitioners build their AI skills. Courses available include:
Natural Language Processing with Hugging Face Transformers
Create a Voice Assistant with OpenAI’s GPT-3 and IBM Watson
Create Your Own Chatbot Website with Open Source LLMs

Earlier this year, our TechXchange conference provided developers and other technologists with the opportunity to engage in deep technical and experiential learning sessions designed to advance their skills, including around generative AI. You can watch several on-demand sessions from TechXchange here.

BN: What do these courses offer developers looking to learn new skills such as AI and Cloud?

SR: Our IBM Developer community provides developers with rich, technical content on technologies, programming languages, development practices, architecture and deployment models. Our focus is on providing content that is based on open source and deployable to the cloud, including learning paths, tutorials, articles, code patterns, and videos.

From students in need of learning coding fundamentals all the way to experienced developers interested in the latest AI development trends — IBM Developer offers resources to help speed AI for Business and hybrid cloud adoption.

Learning paths are available for developers wanting to get started with artificial intelligence, enforce data governance, start coding with Node.js, modernize applications, migrate to OpenShift, or many other technical topics. Courses and content can be accessed via our Cognitive Class platform and our developer website.
BN: IBM watsonx launched last year. How does IBM Developer support the rollout of IBM’s data and AI platform?

SR: Our new content is the latest example of how IBM is helping developers more easily and quickly learn about, build, and bring to market AI-powered solutions impacting their business or client’s business. We are putting watsonx in the hands of developers and are helping them adopt the technology, learn about the open-source technology underpinning watsonx and better understand industry-specific use cases so they can apply AI to their business. 

Through IBM Developer, developers can explore watsonx, view live demos of the products and sign up for free trials that allow them to train, validate, tune and deploy AI models, as well as test drive the open data lakehouse on IBM Cloud.

BN: Where should students and new developers who are interested in learning about today’s most influential AI-specific open-source communities and projects go for more information?

SR: Building on our leadership and contribution to open source, IBM Developer helps developers explore and contribute to prominent open-source communities and technology, many of which are used in watsonx, including PyTorch, CodeFlare, Caikit, Ray/KubeRay, KServe/ModelMesh, and Hugging Face to help accelerate the impact of AI on their own business. Developers can learn about leading open source communities, AI for Business strategy, hybrid cloud infrastructure, and DevOps best practices.

BN: Is there any other advice you can offer to those interested in learning more about how to get involved in new technology like AI and Cloud?

SR: Beyond visiting IBM Developer, our Call for Code Challenge provides a great opportunity to access free watsonx training, to put newly found generative AI skills to work and win cash prizes. Since its launch in 2018, Call for Code has become an annual rally call for developers around the world to come together and think creatively about how to solve the world’s largest problems with AI.

Those interested can find inspiration from previous Call for Code winning projects like Project OWL, Agrolly, and GardenMate, and find out how to contribute to each project’s code via The Linux Foundation.

Image credit: Vadymvdrobot/

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