Advance your career in: AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t going anywhere. Forty percent of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey said their organizations will increase their investment in AI because of advances in generative AI, while 22% said they regularly use generative AI in their work.

AI encompasses many fields, including machine learning, natural language processing, automation, data science, and robotics. Engineers, researchers, and scientists focused on these areas are in demand now more than ever as companies of all shapes, sizes, and industries look to build efficiencies, improve their customer service, predict trends and market potential, and automate time-consuming administrative tasks.

According to a 2023 report from McKinsey, with the adoption of generative AI, 30% of hours worked today could be automated by 2030. Combining generative AI with all other automation technologies, US productivity could increase by 3 – 4% annually if adoption starts today.

Advancing your career in AI can reap significant benefits — AI-focused or adjacent roles attract prestige and leave massive room for creativity and innovation.

Keeping up with the AI industry requires effort in terms of training and upskilling. Here are three tips:

Stay on top of (and use) emerging technologies

Everyone is talking about AI right now, which is great for technologists because there are plenty of resources available — at little to no cost — to get important and relevant information fast.

Online, you can subscribe to newsletters (try The Rundown or Not A Bot to start), read articles on platforms like MIT Technology Review or IBM’s blog, or check out forums like OverflowAI or Reddit’s r/artificialintelligence. Then, consider putting that knowledge to use by participating in online discussions, or bringing your learnings to work and getting your colleagues’ opinions or expertise.

For beginners, the best place to start is by interacting with generative AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard to get a sense of how they work, the benefits and insights they can provide, and the opportunities to apply them to your workflows.

Study voraciously

AI is constantly evolving so it’s important to keep up with the latest tech, tools, languages, and frameworks like Python, TensorFlow, and PyTorch through continued education and hands-on practice. Learning platforms like edX or Fullstack Academy offer online courses and bootcamps for students who want to build new or existing skills on their own time. Or, you could go straight to the sources of the latest AI tech, such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, for reskilling.

For more extensive training, you might consider a master’s or PhD program in statistics, mathematics or AI from an institution like Johns Hopkins, which also offers an online program, or the University of Michigan.

Put yourself in front of AI experts

Getting in front of the people spearheading AI’s evolution can provide engineers much-needed context and insights.

On a small scale, this might mean following CEOs, researchers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in the AI and machine learning space on social media, such as Demis Hassabis, cofounder of Google’s DeepMind research lab, or scientist Andrej Karpathy. Or, if you have the time and money — or your company’s backing — you could attend a conference, such as the World Summit AI Americas or Ai4.

Challenge yourself to read and listen to expert opinions and interact with them through online or in-person discussions on places like X or LinkedIn when possible. Maybe you respond to a question someone has posed in a forum or write out your opinion on the latest AI innovations and how they’re good or bad for your industry in a blog post or threaded comment.

The possibilities with AI

Where you want to go in the world of AI depends on your passions and strengths. And oftentimes, an AI role won’t actually include the phrase “AI” but rather “data,” “machine learning” or “automation.” Rather, you’ll likely start as an associate engineer, developer, scientist, or researcher in these categories.

Moving up the ladder, maybe you’re interested in the management route, which might put you on the path to becoming a product manager or IT director — sometimes referred to as “chief AI officer” — overseeing a team of developers, helping streamline processes, and acting as a bridge between AI teams and other departments. Or perhaps you’re looking to grow your career in a specific field or niche, whether that’s behind the scenes in research or ethics or in practical scenarios like robotics or chatbots. Either path provides ample opportunities to revolutionize outcomes for businesses and be a part of new, exciting, and often one-of-a-kind projects.

Accelerate your AI career with Andela. Learn more.

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