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How To Build A Career In The Exciting New Field Of AI And Machine Learning?

The AI and machine learning industry is going to be a huge thing in the future. How do you make a career in it as an Indian woman?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking over the world. And there is an increasing number of women wanting to make a career in AI and machine learning.

Why has AI and machine learning taken off in India?

There are plenty of reasons. AI and machine learning impact society and technology in many ways for they go hand in hand in developing better technology for us all. So it is not surprising that the AI industry is full of opportunities for those who have the talent and acumen to make it.

A career in AI and machine learning also guarantees a high, stable salary for those who have the talent.

What is AI exactly?

Artificial intelligence or AI, is a system or machines that mimic human intelligence to perform daily and complex tasks. AI also has the capability to improve themselves on the basis of the information they collect.

AI is truly life changing technology for it helps improve various aspects of life. Be it assisting doctors to detect diseases early, or assisting businesses by collecting and analysing figures, AI helps in transportation with self- driving cars, and manufacturers assemble equipment. AI is truly everywhere and has changed our lives for the better.

Machine learning – a subfield of AI

Ever wondered who decides the recommendations you get on Netflix, Spotify etc for movies or music similar to your tastes, or how Facebook recognises your friend’s name in a tagged picture? Or when you get an automatic notification when there is a new sign in on your Apple laptop, or a message when there is a suspected suspicious activity in your bank transactions?

All these are examples of machine learning where software applications collect user data to give customers better user experience, recommendations or businesses a glimpse into customer behaviour, trends, business operational patterns, and the development of new products.

Simply put, one can program machines to learn from past data and train them to act much faster.

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Careers in AI and machine learning

There are a vast number of opportunities in AI and machine learning, from becoming a big data architect, a machine learning engineer, data scientist, to non-technical jobs such as AI journalist, the industry is thriving.

To have a technical career in AI, one must have good programming skills. The knowledge of Python is a must. Python is the programming language that has now become the default choice for AI researchers and engineers. Knowing C++ is also often a requirement.

According to reports, the latest survey by Great Learning – an ed-tech firm – reveals that 54 percent of women believe that there are more opportunities for them in AI and machine learning now as compared to five years ago. And this is the right time to step into the industry and follow your passion. Artificial Intelligence is one career path that offers stability and limitless opportunities. Let us look at some career options in the field of AI and machine learning.

Basic skills needed to get an entry- level position in AI and machine learning

Any entry-level job in AI and machine learning will expect you to have

  • Graduate degree in computer science, mathematics, or statistics
  • Knowledge of Python and SQL
  • Knowledge of data analysis, processing, and visualisation
  • Understanding of cloud technologies
  • Business acumen about the industry, market, competition, etc.

Artificial intelligence researcher

This is an area that combines academics and the corporate world. It is a space of vigorous study and inquiry where you can specialise in various branches of AI such as visual recognition to machine learning. This is a space where one can combine study, enquiry and along with a corporate role. The average beginning salary of an AI researcher in India is around 8 lakhs per annum.

Machine Learning Engineer

A machine engineer is a software developer that carries out jobs such as machine learning performance, enhancing machine learning experiments, data engineering etc. Software developers and data scientists come together to form the field of machine learning engineering. They use big data technologies and programming frameworks to develop data science models that are production-ready, scalable, and capable of handling terabytes of real-time data.

The ideal candidates for machine learning engineer positions have backgrounds in data science, applied research, and software engineering. Candidates for AI positions should have a solid background in mathematics, familiarity with deep learning, neural networks, cloud applications, and Java, Python, and Scala programming. Understanding software development IDE tools like Eclipse and IntelliJ is a plus.

The average beginning salary of an ML engineer is around 7.3 lakhs per annum.

Big Data Architect/ Engineer

Big data engineers and architects create ecosystems that allow different business sectors and technologies to efficiently communicate with one another.

Big data architects analyse a company’s needs and data sources and plan and develop the organisation’s data management system. A degree in computer science and STEM subjects is ideal for this kind of job and programming skills in C++, Java, Python, or Scala are a must. Big data engineers also need to have experience in data mining, data visualisation, and data migration. The average beginning salary of a big data architect in India is a whopping 24 lakhs per annum.

Data Scientist

AI requires a lot of study, statistics and big data and thus the role of a data scientist becomes very important in this field. A data scientist collects, analyses and finds insights from the data at hand by using various tools and technologies. A STEM background with data science would be ideal for the job however a data science degree is not essential.

The main qualifications expected of a data scientist are:

  • Advanced degree in statistics, mathematics, computer science, etc.
  • Understanding of unstructured data and statistical analysis
  • Experience with cloud tools like Amazon S3 and the Hadoop platform
  • Programming skills with Python, Perl, Scala, SQL, etc.
  • Working knowledge of Hive, Hadoop, MapReduce, Pig, Spark, etc.

The average beginning salary of a data scientist is also around 24 lakhs per annum.

Software Engineer

Simply explained, software engineers build software for AI applications. They perform development tasks such as writing code, integration, quality control, API management among many other complex tasks.

A software engineer is expected to have good programming and analytical skills, with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, maths, physics or statistics.

The annual average beginning salary of a software engineer in India is around 5 lakhs per annum.

UI/UX Designer

A UI/UX designer provides technology solutions for their customer by making a product easier to use. To enter the field of UI/UX you must have an understanding of the field, good visual and team skills and willingness to adapt. The average beginning salary of a UI/UX designer is 5.6 lakhs per annum.

AI journalist

The field of AI is a dynamic, fast paced and ever changing field, and an AI journalist is an ideal job for you if you are interested in the field of journalism and AI and ML. The average beginning salary of an AI journalist is around 3-4 lakhs per annum.

Making your mark in the AI and machine learning industry

The AI industry is one of the most well paying and fulfilling job sectors. However the industry comes with very stiff competition. Here is a guide to help you make a mark for yourself in the industry.

Take relevant courses

There are many top universities in India that offer very well built courses in AI that meet industry standards. These courses are both on campus and online. You can look at IIT-Bombay, IIT-Madras, University of Hyderabad, ISI Kolkata and IISc Bengaluru are some of the top educational institutions that can help you get started if you have the right grades.

Keep upgrading your skills

AI is a dynamic field that requires being up to date. Keep upgrading your skills and keep abreast with the latest in the industry by reading about the latest developments and staying in touch with the AI community.

Gain expertise in one particular area of AI

This will help you increase technical capability in one area and get more jobs and projects.

The importance of networking

There is no time for being shy or timid if you want to gain entry and make a mark in any industry, especially AI. So get out there and start attending seminars, conferences, workshops related to AI, go up to people and introduce yourself and interact with people from the industry. Everyone likes a self starter and these people can be your future teachers, mentors and colleagues.

Start building a personal brand

This also helps to get visibility in a sector that still has less women than men. Sharing news, your opinions, joining social media conversations on AI and becoming part of online AI communities will help you stand out.

The world is heading towards automation and the use of AI will soon be in every industry.The AI and machine learning world is exciting, dynamic, and offers great salaries, stability and career growth. There are plenty of options in the world of AI and machine learning to dabble in if you have the suitable background and a passion for programming.

Image source: ra2studio from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro

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