By Melody Liu, Senior Product Manager, Coursera Labs

Demand for people with data science and artificial intelligence (AI) skills continues to rise. Data science roles are growing by 37% annually, and for artificial intelligence jobs, the annual growth rate is 74%. These are specialized skills that require hands-on learning to master, but fortunately, opportunities to build and practice in-demand data science and AI skills like PyTorch, SQL, and Python are more accessible than they’ve ever been before.

We’ve seen that with hands-on programming assignments, you can increase your skill development by up to 30%. The ability to practice the skills you’re learning in real-time—on real-world projects—can positively impact the rate at which you learn as well as the depth of your mastery. You’ll also build career confidence through knowing how to apply your newfound skills on the job.

Below we highlight three types of hands-on learning you can find on Coursera. We also share details on how you can get unlimited access to these learning programs with Coursera Plus and confidently grow your in-demand career skills.

Assess and advance your technical skills with Lab Assignments

You can develop your technical skills in courses that contain Lab Assignments. With Lab Assignments, you can work on a coding challenge in a pre-configured environment directly in your internet browser with all of the instruction files already uploaded—no additional setup required. You’ll get real-time feedback from autograders as you work on your assignment so you can easily track your progress and monitor your skill development. 

There are nearly 200 courses that feature Lab Assignments. Start exploring some of the Specializations below or view the list of all courses with Lab Assignments.

Here are a few of the most popular Specializations on Coursera with Lab Assignments 

Practice Programming with Lab Sandbox

Many top technical courses feature Lab Sandbox which is an in-browser cloud workspace pre-configured with the tools and packages that are relevant to the course. With Lab Sandbox, you can practice coding, work on programming assignments, run test cases, play with demo examples, and even build your own project. According to a survey on learners who used Lab Sandbox, 96% of learners were highly satisfied with the experience. Your work is not graded, there are no instruction files, and you don’t need to set up or configure a local coding environment—you just go straight to learning and practicing job-relevant skills. 

We’ve curated a collection of courses so you can easily identify which courses have Lab Sandbox. You’ll have access as soon as you enroll and pay for your course. We’ll continue adding Lab Sandbox to more technical courses in the coming year, so you’ll continue to have an expanded selection of opportunities to take advantage of this feature. 

Learn job-relevant skills in under two hours with Guided Projects

With Guided Projects, you can get hands-on practice with some of the most in-demand skills in under two hours. Whether you want to learn a new tool for a project you’re leading at work or quickly build a particular skill for an upcoming job interview, Guided Projects offer ideal hands-on learning experiences that are short, focused, and effective.

When you enroll in a Guided Project, you get access to a virtual cloud desktop with the required software and data pre-installed and configured. You’ll experience a side-by-side interface in a web browser where you can follow along with video instructions on one side of the screen as you practice the tasks in real-time in a virtual workspace on the other side of the screen. This enables you to seamlessly learn how to use everything from Tableau for data visualization and SQL for querying to TensorFlow for Machine Learning, and so much more.

To date, there have been more than 2.5 million enrollments across the 1700+ Guided Projects currently available on Coursera. Explore some of the most popular Guided Projects in the collections below: 

Get unlimited access to the largest volume of hands-on learning experiences with Coursera Plus

You can lock in unlimited access to most courses with Lab Assignments and Lab Sandbox—as well as nearly 2,000 Guided Projects—with Coursera Plus, now available as a monthly subscription. Try it for free with a 7-day trial. You can also choose an annual subscription plan to get the best value on hands-on learning to build job-relevant, technical skills. 

Whether you’re specifically honing your Python skills in a Lab Assignment, trying out SQL in a Guided Project, or taking advantage of Coursera Plus to build your skill set in multiple learning programs, you’ll always be able to practice and apply what you’ve learned as you develop new skills and build confidence in your career.

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