How to Land a Job in Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI technology offers some of the highest-paying and most in-demand careers around. Read on to learn how to land a job in artificial intelligence.

portrait of Sharon Wilfong
by Sharon Wilfong

Published on March 14, 2022 · Updated on April 26, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
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How to Land a Job in Artificial Intelligence (AI)


Artificial intelligence machine learning is one of the most significant and disruptive technological innovations of the 21st century. The World Economic Forum projects that by 2025, there could be as many as 85 million jobs displaced globally by a shift in labor between humans and machines. Although, the organization projects about 97 million new roles could emerge.

Artificial intelligence technology offers limitless opportunities, from artificial intelligence machine learning and network security to AI research and development. Most jobs in this field require a master's degree in computer science or a related field such as data analytics. Additionally, professionals often continue their education with coding bootcamps or industry-specific certificates.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

But, what is artificial intelligence? In its simplest form, AI combines computer science and data. AI applications can gather and process tremendous amounts of data. Additionally, artificial intelligence machine learning and deep learning use algorithms to create systems that make predictions or sort and classify data.

Product innovations such as self-driving cars, personal assistants, and speech and facial recognition are also examples of how we use AI. Additionally, AI will be a key component of the metaverse.

Where Can I Work in Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence machine learning is part of the data science field. However, industries like transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing use AI in some capacity. In fact, AI is common in most sectors.

For example, Netflix uses artificial intelligence machine learning to predict which movies customers want to watch. Similarly, AI in marketing leverages customer data and AI machine learning to anticipate the customer's next move and improve their experiences. AI in healthcare uses machine learning to analyze medical data and improve patient care.

Artificial intelligence machine learning in healthcare can analyze big data to improve preventive care recommendations. According to CompTIA's Tech Jobs Report, the largest concentrations of artificial intelligence jobs are in New York, Washington D.C., and Dallas. Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago were also among the top ten cities to list AI jobs.

Notable Artificial Intelligence Companies

Google

According to the Internet Health Report of 2018, Google is the world's most popular search engine, and AI powers it. Google Maps, Google Photos, Gmail, Google Assistant, and Google Drive all use artificial intelligence machine learning. Additionally, Google Translate uses Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) to increase translation accuracy and fluency.

Apple

Apple is a technology giant that develops software and hardware for personal and business applications. Facial recognition is one of the many ways the company uses artificial intelligence machine learning. AI also powers the HomeKit framework, Siri, active sleep tracking via the Apple Watch, and handwriting recognition for iPad.

IBM

IBM ranks as one of the largest technology companies globally, offering end-to-end risk and compliance management. The company provides artificial intelligence services and workflows to entire organizations to implement a data-first strategy with third-party sources. Additionally, IBM creates and deploys operational and accelerated AI integration, AI assistants, and learning solutions.

Microsoft

Microsoft is a technology leader in computer software development, hardware, mobile technology, gaming systems, and cloud services. The company provides comprehensive solutions, tools, and frameworks, such as Azure services that create scalability and integrated AI for business. Additionally, Microsoft offers educational and development opportunities for artificial intelligence machine learning professionals.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a comprehensive, broadly adopted cloud platform with over 200 services from global data centers. The company provides infrastructure technologies, databases, and promotes emerging technologies. For example, Amazon SageMaker is a managed artificial intelligence machine learning service for developers and scientists without any previous experience.

Facebook

Facebook is the most widely recognized social media network globally, with over 2.8 billion active users in 2022. The network implements algorithms to determine which content it features in users' news feeds. Image recognition, DeepFace AI, and new applications for the metaverse are a few ways the company uses artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence Career and Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers involving artificial intelligence technology can be lucrative and are in demand. One example is computer and information research scientists. These professionals earned salaries ranging between $72,210-$194,430 in May 2020. The median annual wage for this profession was $126,830.

Plus, the BLS projects growth of 22% between 2020 and 2030 for computer and information research scientists. This career in artificial intelligence technology usually requires a master's degree in computer science or related fields. Professionals often specialize in healthcare, manufacturing, environmental science, government, or finance.

Top Artificial Intelligence Jobs

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers build and design self-running software to automate predictive models with artificial intelligence machine learning systems. They're typically proficient in various computer languages and platforms, such as Apache Spark for data engineering. The job requires analyzing and organizing data, executing tests, and optimizing machine learning processes.

Average Annual Salary
$112,130

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer and information research scientists oversee research efforts and investigative tasks. They process data to gather new information. Additionally, they create complex charts, write extensive reports, and work with other scientists. These professionals are typically familiar with various programming and scripting languages and proficient with databases to research and categorize information.

Average Annual Salary
$109,350

Data Scientist

Data scientists gather and analyze structured and unstructured big data sets. This role combines computer science, statistics, and math to analyze, process, and model data, and interpret the results. These professionals are usually technology and social science experts, using industry knowledge to present solutions to business challenges.

Average Annual Salary
$97,160

Big Data Engineer

Big data engineers work with large-scale data systems in almost every industry. They use artificial intelligence machine learning to sort through massive data to find relevant sets for analysis. Then, they use the information to predict behavior, assess performance, and identify market trends.

Average Annual Salary
$89,840

Software Engineer

Software engineers typically work throughout software creation's design and development stages. They collaborate with designers, programmers, and coders. Additionally, they help plan various aspects of AI automation using design documentation and flowcharts to help illustrate the process. A bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field is a common requirement.

Average Annual Salary
$88,510

Robotics Engineer

Robotics engineers specialize in mechanical engineering. They create designs with 3D and manufacturing software and tools. These professionals can work in manufacturing and usually have a master's degree in robotics, mechanical, software, or electrical engineering. Robotics engineers conduct research and show strong attention to detail. They are analytical and excellent problem-solvers.

Average Annual Salary
$84,570

How to Break Into the Field of Artificial Intelligence

Professionals typically need a computer science or related degree, coding skills, and a strong portfolio for most artificial intelligence jobs. Additionally, experience in technology development, software, or data analytics can help applicants get hired. Also, a background in other fields such as marketing, manufacturing, or psychology can lead to industry-specific artificial intelligence jobs.

Required Education

Jobs in artificial intelligence technology offer many opportunities for professionals. However, there's a high learning curve and a significant investment of time and energy required for students. Some entry-level artificial intelligence positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related degree.

For example, a bachelor's in computer programming can lead to an entry-level position as an operations research analyst. These analysts collect relevant data using statistical software and databases to analyze and solve problems. Still, most of the highest-paying positions require a master's in computer science or related degree.

Other factors besides formal education can also lead to AI careers, including relevant experience, coding skills, and a portfolio. Professionals often supplement their experience with coding bootcamps in Java, Python, SQL, PHP, and C/C++. Google, Apple, and IBM are among the most well-known technology companies that consider other hiring factors besides education.

Required Skills

All technology jobs require soft skills such as adaptability, curiosity, analytical thinking, and empathy. Artificial intelligence machine learning jobs take teamwork, perseverance, and ingenuity. Data engineers, programmers, and information scientists rarely work alone and often conduct multiple tests before achieving the desired results.

The hard skills professionals need for specific AI jobs may vary. However, most artificial intelligence jobs require proficiency in one or more programming languages. For example, Python is a powerful data science programming language for first-time programmers and experienced professionals.

Similarly, Java is one of the most commonly used programming languages for machine learning, search algorithms, and neural networks. Careers with artificial intelligence companies usually require skills in specific frameworks and AI platforms, such as AWS, for developing software applications. According to Payscale, machine learning engineers can increase their salary by 29% with experience in the Scala framework.

Required Skills for Artificial Intelligence Professionals

Programming Languages: Python, Java, SQL, C++, Prolog Machine Learning Frameworks: Arguably, TensorFlow, PyTorch, Scikit-Learn, Spark ML AI Platforms: Microsoft Azure AI, Google Cloud AI, IBM Watson Studio, Amazon SageMaker, Dataiku Workflow Management Systems: Asana, Monday, Smartsheet, Zapier, Teamwork Big Data Tools: Keras, PyTorch, Apache Spark, Cloudera, Tableau Natural Language Processing Tools: Natural Language Toolkit, Stanford Core NLP, Apache OpenNLP, Gensim, TextBlob Library

Required Experience

There's no one standard artificial intelligence degree or curriculum. However, artificial intelligence jobs usually require several overlapping disciplines. All AI professionals need a foundation in computer science, the basics of data science, machine learning, and Java.

Today, professionals illustrate their passion and expertise in artificial intelligence with a portfolio. A well-planned portfolio can turn a candidate into a new hire. Professionals can demonstrate their experience in programming, technology development, and specific industry knowledge.

Coding bootcamps and personal projects are an excellent way to build a strong portfolio. Additionally, students can gain experience through internships, and artificial intelligence companies like Google, IBM, and AWS offer certifications. For people developing their AI or coding skills, Coursera and Udemy also offer inexpensive courses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Artificial Intelligence Jobs

How do I get a job in artificial intelligence? true

There are several routes to artificial intelligence jobs. However, all AI professionals need a foundation in computer science, software, and standard programming languages. Most of the highest-paying artificial intelligence jobs require a master's degree.

Some of the most influential technology companies do not require a degree. Instead, a portfolio demonstrating a candidate's expertise and industry experience could lead to employment at companies like Google and IBM. It's essential to stay curious, continuously update your skills, and produce portfolio examples showing what you know.

Is artificial intelligence a good career? true

Yes, a career in AI is an excellent choice for math-minded, technology-oriented individuals. Artificial intelligence is an ongoing technology revolution. The BLS projects computer and information technology occupations to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030.

Additionally, the BLS projects a 31.4% increase in jobs for data scientists and mathematical science professionals between 2020 and 2030. But you can find AI jobs in almost every industry, including transportation. AI specialists help solve safety, reliability, and predictability problems and increase efficiency and sustainability as well.

What jobs can I get in artificial intelligence? true

The type of job a candidate gets depends on their education and experience, and the skills their portfolio demonstrates. Professionals may work as data scientists, software engineers, or machine learning engineers. Plus, almost every industry offers many jobs in artificial intelligence.

There are also many startup artificial intelligence companies in niche industries looking for coding professionals. Skilled artificial intelligence specialists can enable machines to perform advanced, humanlike functions. AI can conduct research and collect data at a greater speed, degree of accuracy, and scale than humans.

Do AI jobs pay well?

Yes, jobs in artificial intelligence pay well. They pay between $70,000 to well over $100,000 a year on average, depending on the job. For instance, computer and information scientists made a median annual salary of $126,830 in May 2020. Candidates with skills in machine learning, algorithm development, and Python coding typically earn above-average salaries.

Whether you're a student or a professional, it's essential to consider where you want your career to take you. For example, medical students can supplement their education with platform-specific AI training, coding bootcamps, and foundational computer science courses. AWS machine learning empowers healthcare and life science organizations by providing AI services and a comprehensive machine learning platform.

What degree is best for AI?

A bachelor's in computer science is an excellent degree for people who want a career in artificial intelligence technology. Students get a foundation in math and statistics with linear algebra, integration and approximation, and probability theory. Computer science courses include computer systems and programming, data science essentials, and Agile software development.

A bachelor's in computer science also offers core classes in artificial intelligence machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision and image analysis. Continuing education is essential to keep up with AI. Students may also want to supplement their computer science degree with biology, healthcare, or neuroscience classes.

Feature Image: Nitat Termmee / Moment / Getty Images

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