AI Jobs: What Are the Requirements for Careers in Artificial Intelligence?

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Careers in Artificial Intelligence

In recent years, careers in artificial intelligence (AI) have grown exponentially to meet the demands of digitally transformed industries. While there are plenty of jobs in artificial intelligence, there’s a significant shortage of top tech talent with the necessary skills.

According to the job site Indeed, the demand for AI skills has more than doubled over the past three years, and the number of job postings is up by 119 percent. However, job-seeker interest in artificial intelligence careers seems to have leveled off. This suggests that employers are going to struggle to fill these positions for many years.

Top 5 Careers in Artificial Intelligence

  1. Machine Learning Engineer: median salary of $114,856
  2. Data Scientist: median salary of $120,931
  3. Business Intelligence Developer: median salary of $92,278
  4. Research Scientist: median salary of $99,809
  5. Big Data Engineer/Architect: median salary of $151,307

What Are the Educational Requirements for Careers in Artificial Intelligence?

To take your first steps down the artificial intelligence career path, hiring managers will likely require that you hold at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and basic computer technology. However, for the most part, bachelor’s degrees will only get you into entry-level positions.

If you’re thinking of going to school to become an AI specialist, then you’ll have to sign up for courses that typically cover the following:

  • Bayesian networking (including neural nets)
  • Computer science (gain coding experience with popular programming languages)
  • Cognitive science theory
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Robotics
  • Various level of math (algebra, calculus, logic and algorithms, probability, and statistics)

If you’re already a software engineer, you can quickly become an artificial intelligence developer with a few AI-focused courses, taken at a brick-and-mortar school or an offline or online bootcamp.

RelatedBest Programming Languages to Learn for a Career in AI

So, if careers in artificial intelligence appeal to you and you want a piece of the AI pie, what kind of jobs should you start looking for? What skills would you need to get hired? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers are highly sought after and command an annual median salary of $114,856. They’re mostly responsible for building and managing platforms for machine learning projects.

RelatedA Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Machine Learning Engineer

The role of a machine learning engineer is at the heart of AI projects and is suitable for those who hail from a background in applied research and data science. However, it’s also necessary to be an AI programmer and demonstrate a thorough understanding of multiple programming languages.

Machine learning engineers should also be able to apply predictive models and leverage natural language processing when working with enormous datasets.

To get hired, it will help if candidates are highly experienced with agile development practices and familiar with leading software development IDE tools like Eclipse and IntelliJ.

If you take a look at leading job sites, you’ll find that many hiring companies prefer individuals who possess a master’s or doctoral degree in mathematics or computer science.

To be considered, applicants must demonstrate an in-depth working knowledge of modern programming languages like the following:

  • Java
  • Python
  • Scala

Preference is often given to technology professionals with strong mathematical skills. Most job postings also require candidates to be experts in machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks, with strong computer programming skills, analytical skills, and experience with cloud applications.

2. Data Scientist

Data scientists are charged with collecting, analyzing, and interpreting large, complex datasets by leveraging both machine learning and predictive analytics. They also play a vital role in developing algorithms that enable the collection and cleaning of data for analysis.

When it comes to careers in artificial intelligence, data scientists command an annual median salary of $120,931. Candidates looking to get started in data science need to be comfortable with big data platforms and tools like the following:

  • Hive
  • Hadoop
  • MapReduce
  • Pig
  • Spark

Data scientists should also be highly experienced in statistical computing languages and programming languages:

Hiring companies often expect data scientists to be highly educated, with a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in computer science. Sometimes an advanced degree in electrical engineering or mathematics will suffice, but for data scientists who want to play the role of an AI developer, an advanced degree in computer science trumps all others.

To be considered, candidates should possess at least two years of experience working with machine learning. Furthermore, extensive knowledge and experience working on cloud tools like Amazon’s S3 and the Hadoop platform will be an advantage.

Beyond the ability to understand unstructured data, data scientists are also required to demonstrate strong analytical and communication skills to seamlessly communicate their findings with business leaders.

3. Business Intelligence Developer

Careers in artificial intelligence also include the position of business intelligence (BI) developer. The primary objective of this role is to analyze complex data sets to identify business and market trends.

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Business intelligence developers play a key role in improving the efficiency and profitability of a business. It’s a career that’s in high demand and commands an annual median salary of $92,278.

Business intelligence developers are typically responsible for designing, modeling, and maintaining complex data in highly accessible cloud-based data platforms.

Those who are interested in this role need to possess strong technical and analytical skills. Candidates should be able to communicate with non-technical colleagues and display strong problem-solving skills.

Unlike other artificial intelligence careers on this list, business intelligence developers traditionally only have been required to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or a related field. However, a combination of on-the-job experience and certifications is highly desired.

This means that the ideal candidate will have considerable experience in data warehouse design, data mining, SQL queries, SQL Server Integration Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, and BI technologies.

As artificial intelligence starts to transform new industries, the demand for business intelligence developers will continue to grow rapidly.

4. Research Scientist

One of the leading careers in artificial intelligence is the job of the research scientist. These individuals are experts in multiple AI disciplines, including applied mathematics, machine learning, deep learning, and computational statistics.

To get hired, candidates should demonstrate extensive knowledge and experience in computer perception, graphical models, reinforcement learning, and natural language processing. Research scientists are in high demand and command an annual median salary of $99,809.

Like data scientists, research scientists often are expected to have advanced master’s or doctoral degree in computer science. However, many companies accept an advanced degree in a related technical field that’s supported by experience.

Most hiring companies are on the lookout for technology professionals who have an in-depth understanding of benchmarking, parallel computing, distributed computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

5. Big Data Engineer/Architect

Big data engineers and architects have among the best paying jobs in artificial intelligence. In fact, they command an annual median salary of $151,307.

As big data engineers and architects play a vital role in developing an ecosystem that enables business systems to communicate with each other and collate data, most companies prefer professionals who have completed a Ph.D. in mathematics, computer science, or a related field.

Compared to data scientists, this role can feel more involved, as big data engineers and architects typically are tasked with planning, designing, and developing the big data environment on Hadoop and Spark systems.

Candidates also have to demonstrate significant programming experience with C++, Java, Python, and Scala. They also have to show in-depth knowledge and experience engaging in data mining, data visualization, and data migration.

Which Companies Are Hiring for Artificial Intelligence Roles?

Companies that hire top AI talent range from startups like Argo AI to tech giants like IBM. According to Glassdoor, these are the leading employers who hired top AI talent over the past year:

  • Amazon
  • NVIDIA
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Accenture
  • Facebook
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • Lenovo
  • Adobe
  • MoTek Technologies
  • Uber
  • PCO Innovation
  • Rakuten Marketing
  • Wells Fargo

Now it’s time to get to work! If you want to transition into a career as a machine learning engineer, check out Springboard’s Machine Learning Engineering Career Track, the first of its kind to come with a job guarantee.


Andrew Zola

Andrew is a full-stack storyteller, copywriter, and blockchain enthusiast. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technologies and marketing.

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