Did you know that jobs requiring AI expertise have doubled from 2021 to 2023, as per LinkedIn data?
This striking growth in demand highlights the importance of AI engineers in today’s job market, making now the ideal time to pursue a career in AI.
If you want to become an AI engineer but need help knowing where to start, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will guide you through the steps you need to take to become an AI engineer and a part of this booming field.
Intro to AI engineers
AI engineers design, develop, and deploy the artificial intelligent (AI) systems that are transforming industries and changing the way we live and work. They use principles and methodologies of computer science, data science, and machine learning to create solutions for humans.
They are not limited to a single industry. They find opportunities in various sectors like healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and entertainment.
For example, in healthcare, they might develop algorithms that help diagnose diseases. Similarly, in finance, they might create systems that detect fraud.
In organizations, they usually work with other employees like data scientists, software developers, and business analysts. It helps them ensure their AI systems meet the company’s goals and ethical standards.
Guide to becoming an AI engineer
Gain a relevant degree
Pursue a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in a relevant field to expand your knowledge and learn new skills. Some examples of suitable areas are computer science, software engineering, information technology (IT), and mathematics.
Besides learning technical skills, you will also learn soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, and analysis through these degrees.
Learn programming languages
AI professions require technical skills like coding. Hence, it is essential to learn programming languages like Python and R, which are popularly used in AI.
Mastering this skill might appear challenging at first. However, you can eventually overcome it with time, practice, and patience.
Acquire data science skills
AI engineers manipulate and analyze data to design various AI systems. Therefore, you should learn the required data science skills.
To achieve this, you can utilize resources like DataCamp or edX’s Data Science MicroMasters program. These platforms offer courses and materials that can help you gain the essential knowledge and skills in data science, providing a solid foundation for your AI projects.
Develop machine-learning skills
It is an essential skill for AI engineers. It allows them to teach machines to learn from data and make predictions or decisions based on that data.
Start your machine learning journey by learning basic algorithms. Then, gradually move to more complex topics like neural networks.
To learn machine learning effectively, you can use various online learning resources available on Udemy, Coursera, edX and similar websites.
Gain practical experience
Once you learn enough skills and get sufficient knowledge, it is time to get hands-on experience. You can get practical experience through projects and internships.
Internships help provide real-world experience and networking opportunities. If you perform well during an internship, the company may hire you as a full-time employee later no.
Work on projects, either independently or as part of a team, to apply what you have learned. It will also help you build a portfolio of AI projects.
Build your portfolio
Showcase your skills and projects in a portfolio. Write details of your projects, what you achieved, and which skills you used to get results. This will be helpful when you apply for jobs or freelance opportunities.
Network and connect
Join online and offline AI communities and attend conferences to stay updated and connect with industry experts. These are excellent places to learn, share knowledge, and stay updated on the latest developments in AI.
You should also check for local AI meetups or groups in your area. Attending local meetups can help you build a strong network within your community and discover potential collaboration opportunities.
AI is an evolving field. You need to stay updated and expand your knowledge to stay relevant and excel in your career.
You can achieve this goal by reading research papers regularly, subscribing to AI journals, and taking online courses for advanced topics.
What do AI engineers do?
AI engineers play various roles, including:
Develop algorithms: AI engineers play an essential role in crafting algorithms that can learn from data. They are responsible for choosing the correct machine learning method, such as regression or classification, according to the problem. They design the blueprint for how the AI system analyses and interprets data.
Train machine learning models: AI engineers train machine learning models using the prepared data and developed algorithms. They ensure the model learns from the data and adjusts it to achieve desired results.
Evaluate the model’s performance: They use various metrics such as accuracy and precision to monitor the performance of models. Model evaluation allows them to identify and rectify flaws, ultimately enhancing the model’s power and capacity to make informed decisions based on real-world data.
Build and deploy AI models: Once training and evaluation have been done successfully, AI engineers build models and put them into active use to perform their intended functions. They ensure that the AI system works effectively in everyday situations. They may also remove errors when needed to maintain their performance.
Develop software: They create software components, such as APIs (application programming interfaces) and user interfaces for AI models to function effectively.
Gather data: They also collect data from various sources. They clean and transform it to ensure it is in a format that AI algorithms can use in the best possible way.
What skills do AI engineers need to succeed?
They need a variety of skills to excel in their roles.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report, it is expected that by 2027, the most sought-after skills will include analytical thinking, creative thinking, AI and big data.
AI engineers must have all the above-mentioned and the following skills.
- Programming languages
- Data engineering
- Mathematics and statistics
- Signal processing techniques
- Cloud computing skills
- Ethical AI
- Problem-solving skills
How much do AI engineers make in the US?
According to the Glassdoor data, the annual salary for AI engineers is approximately $141,729 in the US. It has a $112,668 base salary and a $29,060 additional salary. Know that salary depends on various factors, including your work experience, location, and company size.
The United States holds the top position in AI job listings, making up around 50% of the overall demand for such positions.
Are AI engineers in demand?
Yes, AI engineers are in high demand, and the field is experiencing rapid job growth. The field is experiencing rapid job growth, with a projected increase of 21% between 2021 and 2031. This growth rate is significantly higher than the average for all occupations, which is just 5%.
How to become an AI engineer without a degree?
If you want to become an AI engineer without a degree, you will have to self-study important topics like linear algebra, calculus, and statistics. Do online courses available on sites like Coursera, Udemy, Fast.ai, and DataCamp.
Complete AI projects to practically perform what you are learning through these courses. Join AI communities and attend conferences to interact with like-minded people and find job opportunities. Prepare your portfolio.
Who earns more: data scientist or AI engineer?
Salaries depend on factors like location, experience, and company size. However, AI engineers usually have higher salaries due to their specialized skills in building and optimizing algorithms.
In contrast, data scientists mainly focus on data analysis and insights. However, with experience and specialization, they can also get high salaries.
How long does it take to become an AI engineer?
The time required to become an AI engineer varies. People with a computer science background may take 1 to 2 years to study and get hands-on experience. On the other hand, complete beginners may take 3 to 5 years to learn new concepts, expand their knowledge and gain experience.
How many AI engineers are there?
It might not be possible to tell the exact number of AI engineers in the world due to the evolving nature of the field. However, the number is continuously increasing as more and more industries incorporate AI into their systems.
How do you learn AI engineering?
Learning AI engineering is a multi-step process that involves learning several areas, such as programming, machine learning, big data and mathematics. Pursue relevant degrees, complete online courses, and gain hands-on experience to learn AI engineering.
Becoming an AI engineer is a rewarding but challenging journey. The field offers people the opportunity to work on the latest technologies.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional interested in joining AI, know there are multiple ways to enter this exciting field.
Unlike many other fields, this field is not saturated at all. In fact, it has a comparatively high demand. So, learn the required skills, gain hands-on experience, and seize the opportunities this booming field offers.