Artwork by: Anastasia Kraynyuk
Career paths in artificial intelligence are one of the hottest trends going. If you are into technology and want to be on the cutting edge, then an artificial intelligence career path may be for you. We’ll cover why this is a great area to get into and what the latest and greatest jobs in artificial intelligence are.
Information technology has always been a huge industry with lots of jobs and tremendous opportunities, but within the IT realm is the area of artificial intelligence (AI) and it is driving huge advancements. If you are in the IT world or are interested in getting into technology, then there is no better area to consider than AI.
The artificial intelligence field is growing rapidly across many business sectors and domains. There are an ever-increasing number of companies incorporating artificial intelligence into their products to differentiate themselves and carve out more market share. AI drives many innovations and has created a lot of new and advanced products. It is also used to make processes like design, development, and production more efficient.
The AI field is still relatively new and is perfect for people just starting out or people that are looking to get into a new career. We’ll go into a little more about what AI is and why this is a great field to be in, as well as provide details about some great roles in the field. This article is broken out into the following topics:
What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
Why is AI a good career choice?
What does it take to have a career in AI?
Top 10 AI career paths
We’ll start with a very short and simple explanation of what AI is. Artificial intelligence is the ability of a digital or computerized system to perform tasks commonly associated with human intelligence.
It uses computer algorithms to simulate cognitive behaviors like learning and decision-making through training. Training the system is a process of repeating data inputs, running statistical analyses, and pattern formations to understand the behavior and generate or predict results and responses. You encounter common uses of AI every day when you use a Google search, ask Alexa a question, or follow a GPS-guided mapping program. Just to name a few.
Artificial Intelligence is a revolutionary and continuously evolving technology and is way too complicated a topic to cover completely. You can find tons of material posted on this topic. We’re going to focus on why AI is a great and exciting career to pursue.
We’ve already noted that AI is a huge growth industry, but we can’t overstate how hot the market is for good people with AI skills. It’s used for many things including search engines, social media, education, geospatial analysis, healthcare, robotics, telecommunications, and many new things that are just being thought up.
Expected growth in the artificial intelligence industry.
Globally, the artificial intelligence (AI) industry in 2022 was estimated to be over 119 billion USD and is expected to be over 1.5 trillion by 2030. That is an annual growth rate of over 33%.
Artificial intelligence is spreading rapidly across all areas and almost every industrial sector. Business models and processes have been transformed dramatically with the use of machine learning, search personalization, recommendations, and predictive analytics. As a result, you’ll see lots of jobs and opportunities everywhere. Just some of the major industries that utilize AI are
Manufacturing and marketing
E-commerce and Retail
Banking and Insurance
Retail and E-Commerce
Financial Markets and Services
So, we’ve talked about how AI is a growing field, all the business sectors and industries that are adopting AI, and that they all need skilled workers. Now we’ll give you some more specific reasons why AI is a good area to be in or consider jumping into.
It is expected that AI will be around for the foreseeable future. This means that careers in the AI field are essentially future-proof. You’ll never have to worry about your skills becoming obsolete or unneeded.
AI is expanding and creating new jobs and professions. It was initially an information technology and computing-related industry, but now is spreading into all sorts of industries and businesses. This gives you the choice of working in just about any industry for a huge variety of companies. The choices are endless.
AI is having a beneficial impact on society. It has driven the technology boom over the last decade and continues to create new innovations that improve our lives. For example, AI is being used in healthcare to help diagnose patients and analyze courses of treatment to assist doctors. You will not only have your choice in jobs, but you can also feel good knowing you are in an area that makes the world a better place.
These are just a few reasons to get into AI as a career. There are many specializations and types of roles you can pursue in the AI field. Some of the most common occupations in the AI space are machine learning engineers, software engineers, and data scientists. Later in this article, we’ll give you more information about the best and hottest jobs to pursue in the AI field. But, whatever specific job you seek in AI, you can rest assured your talents will be well rewarded from a compensation standpoint.
Salary ranges for Artificial Intelligence jobs in the US. (January 2023)
Data Scientist: $78K to $146K
Lead Data Scientist: $112K to $199K
Software Engineer: $71K to $164K
Senior Data Scientist: $105K to $166K
Senior Software Engineer: $101K - $172K
Machine Learning Engineer: $76K to $166K
Data Science Director: $123K to $247K
Having a degree (Bachelor’s or Master’s) and any certifications in the IT and computer science, math, and data science fields are great starts to building a career in AI. To give you a better idea of the sorts of technical skills you can gain through education, training, and experience to get, here are some of the most sought-after technical skills and knowledge areas for AI professionals.
Data Science and Analytics. The collection and manipulation of data are fundamental tools for AI. Finding patterns in data is necessary for supervised learning and AI algorithms.
Mathematics. Working with numbers is another key skill for an AI professional. Techniques like linear regression, clustering, Bayesian modeling, random forest analysis, and logistic regression are often used to develop AI algorithms.
Programming. C++, R, Java, Lisp, Python, and PROLOG are popular languages used in AI. Uses of classes and data structures help in building effective algorithms. R and Python are very popular due to their libraries, clear syntax, simplicity, and versatility.
Machine learning (ML). Working with large datasets allows supervised algorithms to perform decision-making and predictions based on patterns. Machine learning can also use neural networks to cluster the data based on patterns, images, and speech recognition.
Natural language processing (NLP). This is a mix of computer science and linguistics to analyze and understand human languages. It also involves using video and audio processing, as well as semantic and sentiment analysis.
Database management. Any large amount of data requires databases for organization and storage. Knowledge of database management systems is very important for AI professionals. Apache Cassandra, Couchbase, Microsoft SQL, MLDB, and PostgreSQL are some of the most used databases in AI models.
Aside from having hard technical skills, a successful career in AI will also benefit from some important soft skills.
Communication. This is a basic skill that is required for just about any job. However, in any highly technical field, like AI, it is really important that you be able to communicate clearly and effectively. You have to not only be able to convey complex and highly technical concepts to other AI professionals but business and other non-technical people.
Collaboration. Another fundamental skill required for most work. AI requires a very high level of collaboration because you will be working with people across many different aspects of technology, manufacturing, and business operations.
Task management. Being able to handle multiple highly complicated tasks simultaneously on a daily basis is a critical skill for people in AI work. You are not only managing tasks for people but machines as well. Knowing how to do this well is at a whole different level for AI pros.
Having some or all of the above skills will give you a great foundation to pursue a career in artificial intelligence. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have (or are not great at) all the skills listed, these are things you can learn and develop. It only takes some of the above to get started in AI.
Once you feel you have what you need to jump into AI, then you have to decide what specific area or role in AI you are most interested in. As we mentioned before, it is a growing field and there are many opportunities. Next, we’ll talk about some of the specific and more popular jobs in the AI world.
There are a number of exciting and in-demand jobs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Here are some of the top AI jobs that you may want to pursue:
1. Machine learning engineer. Enable the design of software capable of “learning” to automate unpredictable models. They collaborate with data scientists to create theoretical models that process very large amounts of data in real time and use data modeling to identify patterns and make predictions. ML Engineers earn some of the higher pay rates.
2. Data scientist. Highly skilled in math and analytics, data scientists are primarily focused on collecting, analyzing, and interpreting huge sets of data. They often work with machine learning engineers to develop algorithms for cleansing and storing data for analysis. Development of data-driven models and solutions to business problems.
3. Artificial intelligence researcher. Investigate and develop new artificial intelligence algorithms and applications. Conduct research, write papers, and present findings to management and at AI conferences.
4. Robotics engineer. Create and build machines that perform functions based on human movement. Many industries depend on robotics, from consumer products to manufacturing to defense. Robotics requires high levels of creativity and innovation. It is a great job for computer scientists that want to leverage their technical skills and explore their creativity. This is another very high-paying role.
5. Computer vision engineer. A highly in- demand area. They develop systems that allow computers to “see” images, process them, and learn from them. Computer vision engineers utilize large volumes of specific types of data involving movement and distances. Common uses of this technology are vehicle cameras, GPS mapping systems, and robotic manufacturing.
6. Software engineer. Software is obviously key to all things computer-driven. Software engineers develop the software and apps that allow computer systems to function. Major work tasks include creating algorithms, testing code, and debugging software programs.
7. Hardware engineer. All software requires hardware to run on. Hardware engineers design and develop computer hardware components and anything related that uses computers to control them. This can include processors, memory and storage devices, circuit boards, and many other things.
8. Database administrator. AI requires tremendous amounts of data. All this data must be stored and maintained in a highly organized fashion. Database administrators are the people that do this. They must ensure that all data is stored securely and efficiently. They design database structures, provide input and output methods, implement security measures, and keep all the data backed up and accessible.
9. Information security analyst. Information security is paramount in today’s world. This applies to AI and anything else that uses computers with data. Information security analysts design, develop, and implement security measures to protect computers, networks, data, and related systems. An information security analyst must be able to research security threats, assess risks, and develop countermeasures and mitigations.
10. User experience designer. Every computer system requires a user interface. If an interface is clunky or difficult to use, then that app, system, or product will probably not be successful. This is where a user experience designer comes in. They create user interfaces that are effective, efficient, and, most of all, easy to use. User experience designers develop navigation schemes, graphical elements, prototypes, and enhancements.
These are just some of the many in-demand, compelling, and high-paying jobs in the area of artificial intelligence. If you want to get into the AI field and have (or are willing to get) the right skills and experience, then you will find a multitude of wonderful opportunities out there.
Artificial Intelligence is a booming industry
AI has unlimited potential and is not going to go away
It’s a highly technical, but very high-paying career
If you’re into technology and have the right skills, then AI could be a great career for you
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.