Which Technology Jobs Will Require A.I. and Machine Learning Skills?

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning seem poised to dominate the future. Companies everywhere are pouring resources into making their apps and services “smarter.” But which technology jobs will actually require A.I. skills?

For an answer to that question, we turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. Specifically, we wanted to see which professions had the highest percentage of job postings requesting A.I. skills. Here’s that breakdown; as the cliché goes, some of these results may surprise you:

What can we conclude from this breakdown? Although you might think that artificial intelligence skills are very much in demand among software developers and engineers (after all, someone needs to build a smarter chatbot), data science is clearly the profession where A.I. is most in vogue. 

Indeed, there’s a lot of overlap between A.I. and data science. Both disciplines involve collecting, wrangling, cleaning, and analyzing massive amounts of data. But whereas a data scientist will analyze data for insights that they present to the broader organization, artificial intelligence and machine learning experts will use those datasets to train A.I. platforms to become “smarter.” Once sufficiently trained, those platforms can then make their own (hopefully correct) inferences about data. 

Given that intersection of artificial intelligence and data science, many machine-learning and A.I. experts become data scientists, and vice versa. That relationship will likely only deepen in the years ahead. Burning Glass suggests that machine learning is a “defining skill” among data scientists, necessary for day-to-day tasks; if you’re aiming for a job as a data scientist, having extensive knowledge of artificial intelligence and machine-learning tools and platforms can give you a crucial advantage in a crowded market. 

Many other technologist roles will see the need for artificial intelligence skills increase in the years ahead. If you’re involved in software development, for instance, learning A.I. skills now will prepare you for a future in which A.I. tools and platforms are a prevalent element in many companies’ tech stacks. And make no mistake about it: Managers and executives will also need to become familiar with A.I. concepts and skills. “A.I. is not going to replace managers but managers that use A.I. will replace those that do not,” Rob Thomas, senior vice president of IBM’s cloud and data platform, recently told CNBC.

Overall, jobs utilizing artificial intelligence skills are projected to grow 43.4 percent over the next decade; the current median salary for jobs that heavily utilize A.I. skills is $105,000, higher than for many other professions. It must be noted, though, that A.I. and machine learning are areas where you really need to know your stuff, and hiring managers will surely test you on both your knowledge of fundamental concepts as well as your ability to execute. When applying for A.I.-related jobs, a portfolio of previous projects can only help your prospects.   

Granted, it’s still early days for A.I.: Despite all the hype, relatively few companies have integrated A.I. into either their front-end products or back-end infrastructure. Nonetheless, it’s clear that employers are already interested in technologists who are familiar with the A.I. and machine learning platforms that will help determine the future.