Answer by Andrew Ng:
The Stanford machine learning on Coursera was designed to help a broad audience get started in machine learning. If you're familiar with basic programming (in any language), I'd recommend starting there.Many people have gotten jobs in machine learning just by completing that MOOC. There're other similar online courses that help; for example the John Hopkins Data Science specialization. Participating in Kaggle or other online machine learning competitions has also helped people gain experience. Kaggle has a community with online discussions from which you can learn practical skills. Attending local meetups or academic conferences (if you can afford it) and talking to more experienced people will also help.But the most important thing is to keep on learning. Not just for a few months, but for years.Every Saturday, you will have a choice between staying at home and reading research papers/implementing algorithms, vs. watching TV. If you spend all Saturday working, there probably won't be any short-term reward, and your current boss won't even know or say "nice work." Also, after that Saturday of hard work, you're not actually that much better at machine learning. But here's the secret: If you do this not just for one weekend, but instead study consistently for a year, then you will become very good.There's a lot of demand today for ML people; once you get a job in ML, your learning will only accelerate further.The world needs more machine learning people to help solve its problems. Our society has so much data and compute resources that ML is now a superpower that lets you create amazing things; but there just aren't enough of us around to do this work. I hope many readers will work hard and become great in ML!