Speech and Language Processing Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Speech and Language Processing?

Speech processing addresses various scientific and technological areas. It includes speech analysis and variable rate coding, in order to store or transmit speech.

Natural language processing refers to the branch of artificial intelligence concerned with giving computers the ability to understand text and spoken words in much the same way human beings can.

Natural language processing helps computers communicate with humans in their own language and scales other language-related tasks. For example, NLP makes it possible for computers to read text, hear speech, interpret it, measure sentiment and determine which parts are important.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Speech and Language Processing in the following subject areas:

  • Speech and Language Processing (M.Phil.) – An introduction to Speech and Language processing.
  • Natural and Artificial Intelligence – Explore one of humanity’s oldest dreams, the creation of intelligent machines.
  • CPD in Applied Machine Learning Using Social Data – This programmed will be of interest to individuals who wish to progress their careers through acquiring valuable social data analysis skills that are widely sought after in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
  • Master of Science (MSc.) Artificial Intelligence -This course is designed to meet the growing needs in AI throughout the workforce which will create added value and wealth to Irish businesses.
  • Python Machine Learning Projects – Improve your knowledge of machine learning by taking this wonderful machine learning course with Python.
  • Advanced Machine Learning with R – Gain an insight into the advanced aspects of machine learning.
  • Machine Learning: Linear & Logistic Regression – This course will introduce you to applied machine learning. You will learn the methods and techniques of logistic regression, connecting dots in linear regression, and applying multiple regressions using Excel.
  • Higher Diploma in Science in Artificial Intelligence Applications – Develop knowledge, skill and competence to remain competitive and employable in the ever-advancing sector of Artificial Intelligence.

Studying Speech and Language Processing

There are many courses in Speech and Language Processing that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Undertaking an internship or placement during your degree will give you an advantage. However, taking the initiative to learn the required coding and programming skills on a personal level, will also be helpful to your application.

Career options

After completing a Speech and Language Processing course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of machine learning, software engineering and data analysis.

As a machine learning engineer, working in this branch of artificial intelligence, you’ll be responsible for creating programmed and algorithms that enable machines to take actions without being directed.

A key feature of this work is that you’re providing computers with the ability to learn automatically and improve from experience, without being programmed.

There may be some cross-over with other disciplines, including computational statistics, mathematical optimization, data mining, exploratory data analysis and predictive analytics.

There is a demand for machine learning engineers in a range of sectors. For example, you could be working for a large technology company, in the medical profession, an engineering company or within internet security.

While a career in machine learning engineering is relatively new, it’s proving popular and engineers are in high demand. There are almost limitless possibilities with this technology, so employment opportunities are possible in many fields.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Working hours are usually 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. You may need to work extra hours or at weekends depending on the project you’re working on.

Contract work on projects is possible, which can be on a part-time or freelance basis. There may be some opportunity for remote working.

Related jobs include:

  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Artificial Intelligence Developer
  • Application analyst
  • Applications developer
  • Cyber security analyst
  • Data analyst
  • Database administrator
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Game designer
  • Games developer
  • Information systems manager
  • IT consultant
  • Software engineer
  • Systems analyst
  • UX designer
  • Web designer
  • Web developer
  • IT sales professional
  • IT trainer
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Network engineer
  • Supply chain manager
  • Telecommunications researcher

Further study

After completing a course in Speech and Language Processing you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as computer science, statistics, electrical engineering, mathematics or physical sciences.


What is the importance of Speech and Language Processing?

Audio, speech, and language processing help bridge the gap between human and machines by creating more personalized interactions.

For many of our interactions with businesses, from retailers and banks to even food delivery providers, we can complete our transactions by communicating with some form of AI such as a chatbot or virtual assistant. Language is the foundation of these communications, which makes it a critical element to get right when building AI.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Speech and Language Processing?

Careers in the Artificial Intelligence industry generally require exceptional mathematical skills, in order to perform computations and work with algorithms, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

You will likely also need to have the ability to explain complex processes to people who aren’t programming experts, strong analytical skills, high attention to detail, innovation and creativity and the ability to work with large, complex datasets.

Where can I study Speech and Language Processing?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • If you ask Siri, Alexa or your bank’s voice assistance a question, most likely you will be answered by a pleasant and polite woman’s voice. Studies show that males and females are more attracted to a woman’s voice.
  • Some researchers expect artificial intelligence systems to be only one-tenth as smart as a human by 2035. But around 2060 it is expected that AI could start performing nearly all the tasks humans do and do them much better.
  • A robot built in the late 1990s called Kismet can recognize emotions through human body language and voice tone.
  • A robot wrote an article on an earthquake in California on the Los Angeles Times website, gathering data from a seismograph.
  • In January 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai claimed that artificial intelligence would be more transformative to humanity than electricity.

Mariza Halliday

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