Machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) are two of the most-hyped concepts in technology at the moment. Even businesses without the budget to afford a platoon of subject-matter experts want to leverage machine learning to make their processes “smarter.” Meanwhile, tech giants such as Google hope that A.I. can remake the world, or at least change how we drive to work every day.
But where are the actual A.I. jobs? According to a new study by Indeed, the highest concentration of these positions is in New York City, with 11.6 percent of the site’s job postings. San Francisco came in second, with 9.6 percent, followed by San Jose with 9.2 percent. Washington D.C. (7.9 percent) and Boston (6.1 percent) rounded out the top five.
These results aren’t surprising. New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and Boston are huge tech hubs; Washington D.C. features government agencies, defense contractors, and consulting firms that are all attempting to figure out how to best make A.I. work for them. In an accompanying blog posting, Indeed suggested that New York’s variety of “industry centers,” including “media, fashion, and banking,” were responsible for its impressive showing.
Despite its second-place showing, Silicon Valley clearly remains dedicated to exploring A.I. “San Jose has the most job postings for algorithm engineers, computer vision engineers and machine learning engineers, which are all in the top four for jobs that most frequently require A.I. or machine learning skills,” that posting added. “San Jose also had the most job postings for research engineers.”
Those tech pros with the right combination of A.I.-related skills can make incredible amounts of money. Earlier this year, for example, The New York Times analyzed a tax filing by OpenAI, a nonprofit that specializes in A.I. work, and found that its top researcher, Ilya Sutskever, made nearly $2 million in 2016. Another researcher earned $800,000.
Nor is that the ceiling: At a conference in mid-2017, Tom Eck, CTO of industry platforms at IBM, said that “top-tier A.I. researchers are earning the same salaries as NFL quarterbacks.” Many quarterbacks make many millions of dollars per year, so you can imagine what those tech pros make.
These high salaries at least partially stem from scarcity: A recent analyst report from McKinsey & Company estimated the number of qualified A.I. experts in the world at fewer than 10,000. And companies know that the A.I. and machine learning market will only get bigger, with the report estimating that the practical applications of artificial intelligence could add a staggering $3.5 trillion to $5.8 trillion in value across various industries over the next several years.
The Dice Salary Calculator suggests that a tech pro in San Francisco with at least five years’ experience in technologies related to artificial intelligence (including data analytics and natural-language processing) can earn as much as $121,000 per year. We can infer that even those A.I.-trained tech pros who aren’t operating at “NFL quarterback level” can comfortably pull down a six-figure salary—no matter where they live. No matter what the future may hold, learning at least some A.I. skills has some clear benefits on your career.