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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown significantly over the past couple of decades. In today’s world, everyday machine processes are run via mechanisms designed and developed using artificial intelligence. From chatbots to smartphones, virtual assistants, self-driving cars, and beyond, AI has positioned itself as the future of technology – and by extension, society.

The AI market is expected to surpass $190Bn by 2025. This isn’t just good news for businesses and consumers, but also those interested in AI-related careers. For example, between 2015 and 2018, job listings for Machine Learning Engineers grew 344%,  suggesting a very lucrative AI-related job market.

However, while AI has quickly integrated itself into society today, many remain at a loss as to what exactly the technology means – the implications of it all. This equally applies to those who may be interested in a career in the industry, as well as those who would be interested if only they knew exactly what it was all about.

AI boils down to machines mimicking human behavior. This can mean applications in the software sense or actual hardware machinery. The machines in question act intelligently, making decisions and reacting like humans, and doing so with the ability to learn as more interactions occur and decisions are made.

Despite its ability to replace human labor, AI works best as a helper. The technology makes things easier for workers by assisting them – helping them do their jobs.

Why Consider a Career in Artificial Intelligence?

Today, AI is a far-reaching technology that’s not limited to a single or a handful of industries. It continues to prove itself relevant to numerous fields both within and outside the sphere of computing. AI applications can be seen in fields ranging from medicine to marketing, and even coveted military activities and much more.

Because of the very nature of the AI concept — machines mimicking human behavior — some fear that its core purpose will reduce the need for human labor, thereby taking over our workforce and killing the job market. This is a valid concern to some degree, as the technology is expected to wipe out approximately 1.7 million jobs.

However, AI also does the opposite for those seeking employment. Currently, the job market is flooded with AI-related career options, but there’s a significant shortage of skilled professionals within the field. There have been predictions indicating that AI will create close to 2.3 million jobs by 2020.

According to Indeed, a popular job website, the demand for AI skills has risen exponentially within the last three years. The website’s job postings within the field suggest a significant demand, as AI-related listings there have risen by 119 percent as a share of all posted jobs.

Careers, in general, are evolving with the introduction of new technologies into society. This is even more so where AI is concerned. Now, more than ever, there is a need for trained professionals in AI-related career sectors.

Artificial intelligence jobs take off in late 2016

An infographic showing the growth of the demand for qualified personnel with skills in AI  – Image Source

Prerequisites for an AI-related Career

Artificial Intelligence is not a career path one stumbles or grows into by chance. It involves the learning and development of particular skill sets. There are prerequisites to leading a successful career within the field, and individuals who seek to be successful in this career path must satisfy these requirements.

Entry-level AI careers often require a bachelor’s degree in either Mathematics or Computer Science. Those seeking managerial or leadership positions would be better off with master’s or doctorate degrees to set them apart within the field.

Before kick-starting your career in AI, a base of knowledge in several sectors would be increasingly beneficial. For example:

  • Computer Science – Coding experience in popular programming languages such as Python, Lisp, and Java.
  • Mathematics – Algebra, logic and algorithms, probability, statistics, and calculus.
  • Physics, engineering, and robotics.
  • Bayesian networking (including neural nets).
  • Cognitive science theory.

Individuals conversant in these fields – such as software engineers – have an upper hand in the AI industry. Other additional courses in AI-related fields can also boost the credibility of individuals already conversant with the field.

In addition to knowledge prerequisites, an invaluable skill within the sector is communication. Whether one is a newbie or an expert in the field, great communication skills are an essential prerequisite to AI careers.

Popular Career Paths in Artificial Intelligence

AI is a rapidly developing sector. As a result, job seekers have a myriad of specific career paths to choose from when picking an area to specialize in. Here are some of the most popular options for a career in AI.

1. Machine Learning Engineer

Machine Learning (ML) engineers are perhaps the most sought-after personnel in the field of Artificial Intelligence. They work in the heart of AI projects. According to Glassdoor, machine learning engineers earn an annual median salary of $114,856.  

Indeed's Best Jobs in the US

AI-related jobs account for 5 of the top 25 fastest-growing job fields in the United States. Machine Learning Engineer job offers saw a 344% increase between 2015 and 2018. (Image Source)

As far as qualifications go, job hiring sites have hinted that companies prefer to hire individuals with masters or doctorate degrees in mathematics or computer science. Aside from educational qualifications, individuals must show proficiency in several areas including software, multiple programming languages, and applied research and data science. Strong analytical skills, neural networks, and experience with cloud applications are also beneficial to the field.

2. Data Scientists

Data scientists collect, analyze, and interpret data acquired from various sources. In the AI field, the process involves machine learning and predictive analytics. The goal of a data scientist is to better understand how businesses perform and build AI tools to aid their performance. As reported by Glassdoor, data scientists average an annual salary of $120,931.

Data scientists are often expected to be highly educated. Many companies will only hire individuals with a master’s or doctorate in computer science. In certain situations, an advanced degree in electrical engineering or mathematics will suffice but a doctorate in computer science is a sure bet.

Data scientists are expected to be proficient in popular data tools and platforms such as Hive and Pig. Also, they are expected o be highly proficient in statistical computing and performing languages such as Python and SQL. 

3. Research Scientist

It is one of the leading career paths in AI. Research scientists are charged with the designing, undertaking, and analysis of data obtained from controlled laboratory-based investigations, trials, and experiments. Glassdoor places the median annual salary at $99,809.

To qualify, individuals are expected to have advanced levels of education including an advanced master or doctoral degree in computer science. Individuals are also expected to demonstrate extensive knowledge in disciplines and skills in areas such as applied mathematics, machine learning, deep learning, and computational statistics. Companies often lookout for professionals who possess an in-depth understanding of benchmarking and artificial intelligence.

4. Robotics Scientist

Robotic scientists build mechanical devices that perform various tasks. These tasks could range anywhere from performing household tasks to deliberate functions such as surgeries and medical procedures. The annual median salary, according to Glassdoor, is $83,241.

Working as a robotic scientist requires at least a bachelor’s degree in an area related to computer science or engineering. However, most companies typically hire individuals with higher academic achievements. Robotic scientists are required to be proficient in fields related to machine learning, applied mathematics, and multiple programming languages.

5. Business Intelligence Developer

Business Intelligence (BI) developers are expected to spend time researching and developing solutions that exist within a company’s framework. The demand for BI developers has skyrocketed within the last couple of years. This can be attributed to their invaluable skill sets in business analytics and data organization. According to Glassdoor, BI developers earn an average annual salary of $92,278.

Unlike its AI career counterparts, BI developers only require a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or relevant fields. Of course, additional educational achievements increase the individual’s desirability to employers.

BI developers are expected to deal in large, complex data sets and, for this reason, must be proficient in skill sets such as designing, modeling, and maintaining complex data in cloud-based data platforms. Also, BI developers are expected to boast excellent communication and problem-solving skills. They must also have experience in data mining, SQL queries, SQL Server Integration Services, and BI technologies.  

Where Can AI-related Jobs Be Found?

With the rapid growth of the AI sector, employers and job opportunities surface daily. In this age, individuals can avoid physical job-hunting due to the availability of numerous job-acquisition websites. Some of the best online job hunting platforms for the AI-field include:

  • Indeed  Indeed is one of the most popular, straightforward job platforms in this generation. All one needs to do is search for the desired AI-related job using relevant keywords. Once a suitable job has been found, you can sign up and create a profile, upload your resume, and apply for the job.
  • LinkedIn Job SearchLinkedIn is a professional platform that allows individuals to connect with professionals and experts within selected fields of expertise. LinkedIn often features important job listings that are tailored to select sectors.
  • Google Job SearchAlthough Google is not a job website, it is indeed possible to look up AI-related job offers using the search engine.

Here’s a list of top recruits for according to Glassdoor:

  • Amazon;
  • Facebook;
  • Uber;
  • Adobe;
  • Microsoft;
  • IBM;
  • Samsung; and
  • Wells Fargo.

Final words

Pursuing a career in Artificial intelligence requires hard work and dedication; however, it is a fulfilling career choice. Innovations that have built the world as we know it today have been fueled by AI-related designs and developments.

Whether you’re a technology connoisseur or creative innovator, beginning a career in the AI sector can offer a great deal of satisfaction, financial, and otherwise. After all, creating and controlling the world around you has to have its perks.

Written By
Ralf Llanasas is a tech blogger, he writes about the latest mobile phones and technology news. He currently works at Whatphone.com.au as a content manager and his writings can be seen on various technology blogs. He also loves taking pictures when free. Follow him on Twitter.

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