Though the first AI was created more than 70 years ago, the field of artificial intelligence is just beginning to grow. As more enterprises and consumers recognize the value of AI tools, more roles for AI professionals are opening at organizations around the world. Businesses need AI experts to help guide strategy and develop specialized systems that harness the full potential of AI — and they are willing to offer persuasive compensation packages for the pleasure.
If you are eager to enter this new, exciting and lucrative field, you need to take your first steps on an AI career path — but which one? Here are six AI-focused careers you can consider today.
Artificial Intelligence Engineer
AI engineers are tasked with solving problems by building software tools that run AI algorithms. A step above the typical AI programmer, engineers might be responsible for designing the AI system according to project specifications provided by clients. For this extra responsibility, AI engineers earn salaries upwards of $150,000, with top earners taking home around $250,000. AI engineers are typically employed by tech companies who provide solutions to business clients, but increasingly, large organizations are looking to hire their own AI engineering teams.
Machine Learning Engineer
Just as artificial intelligence and machine learning are often used interchangeably, those who qualify for AI engineering positions often also have the qualifications for working as machine learning engineers. ML engineering involves solving problems with machine learning techniques and methods, which might involve creating more rudimentary autonomous programs for business application. The average salary for a machine learning engineer is about $122,000, though these engineers can earn up to $230,000 per year. Like AI engineers, ML engineers most often find employment at tech firms.
Though not as clearly connected to the AI field, data scientists nonetheless rely on both AI and ML algorithms to process data and solve problems. Data science is an immensely complex field that is incredibly valuable to businesses; thus, data scientists are in high demand in every sector. Though data scientists might not need to know how to build AI systems, they do benefit from understanding how to run data through AI tools to gain accurate results. Data scientists in the U.S. earn an average of $120,000 in salary, and they can find work almost anywhere, from the government to tech companies to non-tech businesses.
Business Intelligence Developer
Business intelligence (BI) is a relatively new field that involves analyzing internal and external trends to solve problems and improve efficiency. Yet, BI developers are not often directly responsible for monitoring and reporting; rather, they design, model and maintain complex data in cloud platforms for business users to access. BI developers rely increasingly heavily on AI solutions, which makes this an AI career. The base salary for a BI developer is about $89,000, but that can increase to over $133,000 with experience. Many BI developers work as consultants, though some find full-time employment with companies.
If you are more interested in the theoretical capabilities of AI and eager to experiment with AI algorithms and systems, you might commit to a career in AI research. Research scientists often work within universities or think tanks, though some researchers might be hired by major tech organizations. Despite the increasingly high demand for research scientists in the AI field, researchers most often take home annual pay between $64,000 and $139,000.
Much of the population thinks of AI as walking, talking, feeling robots — who may or may not threaten life as we know it. Robotics engineers with AI backgrounds might work to make this vision into reality. Solving problems with a unique blend of AI software and mechanical engineering, robotics engineers tend to work on fascinatingly complex projects. While some robotics engineers work in research settings at universities, many are finding work in industry thanks to the trendiness of autonomous tools. Robotics engineers earn an average salary of about $91,000 but expertise and specialization can increase their pay upwards of $140,000.
You don’t necessarily need formal degrees in AI to find work in the AI field. In fact, there is such a high demand for AI talent across sectors that any business professional might seriously consider enrolling in artificial intelligence courses to gain valuable credentials to improve their career prospects. With the right knowledge and skill — and the right direction — you can start a long and lucrative career in AI today.
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