Are There a Lot of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Jobs Right Now?

Interested in a career in machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.)? Curious about the number of opportunities out there? A new breakdown shows that A.I. remains a highly specialized field with relatively few job openings—but that will almost certainly change in coming years.

CompTIA’s monthly Tech Jobs Report reveals that states with the largest tech hubs—including California, Texas, Washington, and Massachusetts—lead when it comes to A.I.-related job postings. When you check out the below chart, note the actual numbers:

It’s true that companies don’t need nearly as many machine-learning experts as, say, software developers or data scientists. Smaller organizations might not even have the budget to fill out an A.I. division. But CompTIA’s job numbers keep growing month after month, indicating a sustained appetite for A.I. talent, especially among larger companies with the money to actually afford researchers and specialists.

How big could those numbers get? According to Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the number of job postings requesting A.I. skills will increase 297 percent over the next two years. Over the past 12 months, some 142,346 job postings asked for artificial intelligence skills of some kind. 

Last year, O’Reilly estimated the average salary of data and A.I. professionals at $146,000 per year (that’s from 2,778 respondents in the U.S. and 284 in the U.K.); salaries increased an average of 2.25 percent annually. At tech giants such as Google and Apple, compensation can climb even higher—and that’s before you consider perks and benefits such as an ultra-flexible schedule.

That’s quite a bite out of the budget for all but the largest companies. But A.I. and machine-learning tools are also becoming more ubiquitous and easier to use, allowing even employees without an A.I. or machine-learning background to build models, chatbots, and more. That will help satisfy at least some of the demand for A.I. and machine-learning services, while also expanding the career opportunities for those who have at least some grasp of how A.I. and machine learning actually work. Over the next decade, expect more and more technologist jobs to require at least some familiarity with A.I. and machine learning.