Artificial Intelligence : How to choose your career path

Posted: June 14, 2018 in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Technology
Tags: , , ,

I have been in the IT industry for last 16 years and have been a programmer for a major part of my career. But with that said, in my opinion my IT experience is irrelevant when it comes to taking a dive in the AI world. Yes honestly, my programming background helps me a little bit when writing code, but I have been a traditional C/Unix/Linux programmer so when trying to wrap Python around my head, I have to ‘un-learn’ quite a few things. For e.g. the constant habit of ending all lines of code with a semi-colon or wrapping my conditions in brace brackets to name a few. The reason why I said Python is because, its one of the most popular and go-to language in the world of Artificial Intelligence.

There are several jobs, well paid jobs, that exists today but didn’t even exist 10 years back (for e.g. app developer or video blogging). Likewise, there are several jobs that we will be doing in the next 10 years but is not even mainstream yet and I believe that Artificial Intelligence will form the basis of those future jobs.

With that said, based on my insights into the industry, I have broken down the AI/ML current career streams into 4 different paths as below:-

  1. AI/ML Gods – This is a career stream where people typically with doctorates fit in and have spent years in identifying the best algorithms with the least error function and have specialized their applications (e.g. developing Bayesian algorithm for classifying emails as Spam or ham (opposite of spam))
  2. AI/ML Visualizers – This is a career stream where data analytics comes in. Doesn’t matter if you have AI/ML background or not, if you are good in analysis. If you are good in identifying pattern in chaos this is the field for you. To excel in this field you can have an existing job in business analytics or can be a newbie. All you need is a curious eye. Knowledge of Linear algebra can help but if you don’t know Linear algebra you can always learn. Knowledge in using AI/ML libraries help in-case you want to modify the models you are using for data interpretation.
  3. AI/ML Programmers – In this career stream you are not really a data person, you mostly work with the generic algorithms established by the #1 folks (the Gods) and create models that can be used by #2 folks. There are so many algorithms available today and you need the AI/ML Programmers to identify the right algorithm and create solution that can be consumed on a daily basis by #2 folks. You in this career stream definitely need to have so good foundation understanding of AI. In this stream, you can further grow yourself in to AL/ML god with help of continued education. In addition to this Nano degree program you will also need to be acquainted with ML software like AzureML, TensorFlow, IBM Watson etc that brings specialization to generalization.
  4. Automation Managers – Now this one is a little different. The industry today is rapidly moving towards Automation. When I say Automation it can be dumb software robots executing tedious manual processes without human intervention or cognitive software processes, that utilize ML to realize its current state and determine the next step. In this career stream, you may or may not be hands on, but you need to know and understand the ‘art-of-possible‘ when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. So you need to do a lot of reading and understand on what different tools offer and how ML/AI in general can bring in correlation.

When we all are at a starting point, I would recommend you determine which fits the best for you and move towards it.


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