Course spotlight: Coursera’s Google AI Essentials

Our assessment: Best for beginners

Coursera’s Google AI Essentials stands out as a flexible, beginner-friendly course that shows how to use generative AI to speed up everyday work tasks such as writing emails, summarizing meetings or solving math problems.

  • Learn prompt engineering techniques such as few-shot prompting.
  • Identify generative AI’s potential biases and see how to reduce harm.
  • Determine whether generative AI is right for the tasks you need to do.
  • Plan ahead on how to keep up with the rapidly developing field of generative AI.

Earlier this year, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang predicted that generative AI is “closing the technology divide” in part because of prompt engineering, or the ability to call information and actions from the AI model through natural language. Programming remains an important skill, he said, but “We all need to learn how to prompt AIs.”

What is prompt engineering?

Since generative AI interprets natural language, prompt engineering is the process of structuring and choosing the right words for the model to interpret. Prompt engineering can be deceptively simple, sometimes involving directly telling the AI model what audience it should write for, or emphasizing when an element of the prompt is “really, really important.” Prompt engineering can seem mysterious, but there often isn’t much of what is typically thought of as engineering involved at all. However, prompt engineering does intersect with a lot of other elements of working with generative AI, all of which involve a lot to explore and learn.

SEE: We’ve curated the best courses for learning about AI generally.

While there are a lot of courses on prompt engineering, we’ve chosen modules that specifically result in certificates of completion. You can use these certifications to work toward your professional goals. Certifications can be included on your resume to show initiative and continuing education. We based our selections on reviews, community sentiment, the depth and variety of topics offered and the practicality of the information.

Other good resources for exploring prompt engineering, which may or may not include options for receiving a certification, are Learn Prompting and DeepLearning.AI.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Coursera.

Best prompt engineering certifications: Comparison table

Skill level
Google AI Essentials (Coursera)
$49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.
9 hours
The Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp (2024) (Udemy)
About 17 hours
Generative AI for Data Engineers Specialization (Coursera)
$49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.
25 hours
Prompt Engineering Specialization (Coursera)
$49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.
36 hours
Generative AI with LLMs (Coursera)
$49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.
15 hours

Google AI Essentials: Best for beginners

Google AI Essentials course screenshot.
The enrollment date will always be the current date. Image: Coursera/Screenshot by TechRepublic

One of the elements this course covers is to “Write clear and specific prompts to get the output you want,” but this course is also a good overview of generative AI and results in a certificate of completion. This course and certification were produced as part of ​​Grow with Google, a workforce training initiative; therefore, you can be reassured Google quality assurance applies to the material.

This course consists of these modules:

  • Introduction to AI.
  • Maximize Productivity with AI Tools.
  • Discover the Art of Prompt Engineering.
  • Use AI Responsibly.
  • Stay Ahead of the AI Curve.


This certification requires a Coursera account, which for an individual costs $49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial, depending on the course and plan.


Coursera states the course takes 9 hours to complete.

  • Google approved.
  • Doesn’t take long to complete.
  • Covers a wide range of topics.
  • Doesn’t focus on only prompt engineering.
  • Not very technical.


This course has no prerequisites.

The Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp (2024): Best for established professionals

The Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp (2024) course screenshot.
Udemy occasionally has sales; the pictured sale price ends June 27. Image: Udemy/Screenshot by TechRepublic

The Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp (2024) is one of the most up-to-date prompt engineering courses we found on Udemy. The instructors most recently updated it in May 2024, adding information about the ChatGPT desktop app and other information. This is a hands-on course for coders — it includes how to use Python, Langchain, the Stable Diffusion manager AUTOMATIC1111 for image generation and more to get the most out of generative AI, as well as instructions on how to refine prompts, teach an AI to perform a role and more.


This course typically costs $109.99, but it will sometimes be on sale.


This course includes 17 hours of video, as well as assignments you will need to complete at your own pace.

  • Thorough and hands-on.
  • Course materials are updated often.
  • Instructors work in the field of prompt engineering.
  • Lists of example prompts are included in course materials.
  • Some reviewers say the content can be repetitive.
  • Relatively expensive.


To take this course, you should be able to read and write in Python.

Generative AI for Data Engineers Specialization: Best for data engineers

Generative AI for Data Engineers Specialization course screenshot.
This certification involves three courses, all managed by IBM professionals. Image: Coursera/Screenshot by TechRepublic

This specialization results in a certification proving you’ve completed three courses:

  • Generative AI: Introductions and Applications.
  • Generative AI: Prompt Engineering Basics.
  • Generative AI: Elevate Your Data Engineering Career.

All of the courses were developed by IBM. We recommend all three courses to get the most value out of the certification, but you can choose which topic and time span work best for you.


All three courses can be accessed through a Coursera subscription at $49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.


The materials for this certification span 25 hours total.

  • Taught by IBM professionals.
  • Get up-to-date on tools used in prompt engineering.
  • Covers generative AI from a data engineering perspective, which is good for adding to an existing skill set.
  • May be too general for people looking only for prompt engineering or who are not interested in data engineering.


People taking the data engineering section should have some experience in data engineering. The introductions to generative AI and prompt engineering do not require prerequisites or experience.

Prompt Engineering Specialization: Best for people who work with ChatGPT

Prompt Engineering Specialization course screnshot.
Completing this specialization requires taking three courses: Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT, ChatGPT Advanced Data Analysis and Trustworthy Generative AI. Image: Coursera/Screenshot by TechRepublic

The Prompt Engineering Specialization from Vanderbilt University on Coursera includes three courses:

  • Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT.
  • ChatGPT Advanced Data Analysis.
  • Trustworthy Generative AI.

We chose this specialization because it focuses on the specifics of prompt engineering with one popular AI application — ChatGPT — but also covers how to produce results that are as accurate as possible from generative AI in general.


All three courses can be accessed through a Coursera subscription at $49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.


The materials for this certification span 36 hours total.

  • Includes sections on AI trustworthiness and hallucinations.
  • Includes hands-on assignments.
  • Covers mostly ChatGPT.
  • Some content between courses may be repetitive.
  • May not have been updated recently or thoroughly (it still refers to Google Gemini as Bard).


For the ChatGPT Advanced Data Analysis portion, a ChatGPT+ subscription and access to Code Interpreter are required. If you’re taking the Trustworthy Generative AI course, you should have some familiarity with other generative AI applications like Google Gemini or Anthropic’s Claude.

Generative AI with LLMs: Best for people who use AWS

Generative AI with LLMs course screenshot.
This course was created in part by AWS. Image: DeepLearning.AI/Screenshot by TechRepublic was founded by Andrew Ng, who also co-founded Coursera, and offers a wide variety of free courses — some of which, like this one, are co-hosted on Coursera. This course focuses on using AI with AWS. It includes “advanced prompting techniques” and configuration parameters for generative AI. It may be especially suitable if you already know your way around AWS and want to build and deploy AI with it.


A Coursera subscription costs $49-$79 per month with a 7-day free trial.


15 hours.

  • DeepLearning.AI instructors are generally regarded to provide practical information without fluff.
  • Focuses on specific, practical skills that may be useful if you use AWS in your work.
  • Some reviews point out the “lab” sections used entirely pre-built code and do not require the learner to build their own.


This course is appropriate for people already working as data scientists, research engineers or machine learning engineers. You should have some experience working in Python if you want to take this course.

Best overall certification

While which certification is right for you will depend on your specific experience and goals, our pick for the best overall certification is The Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp because it covers a broad range of topics and contains updated information.

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