AI might seem like the new kid on the block, but industry forecasts are already singing its praises.
As this new technology continues to exert its influence on the world around us, the job market is no exception, with careers in AI booming big time. Both individual companies and whole industries are adopting new AI-driven roles, with professionals exploring the range of available jobs in AI and how best to upgrade their current skills.
The pace of change can be both exhilarating and, at times, hard to keep up with! This is why, in this guide, we’re delving into 13 prominent careers in AI in 2023. Transitioning to an AI career or augmenting your existing skillset could be a smart step towards future-proofing your professional journey. We’ll cover:
- Why switch to a career in AI? An outlook
- 13 jobs in AI
- Which companies and industries are hiring AI jobs?
- Careers in AI FAQ
Ready to learn about the latest careers in AI? Let’s start by exploring why you might want to consider such a role.
1. Why switch to a career in AI? An outlook
The idea of transitioning to a career in an area as new as artificial intelligence (AI) can seem curious, exciting, and—let’s face it—a bit nerve-wracking.
To guide you in your decision-making process, in this section, we’ll explore why you might want to consider a career in AI, addressing one very pertinent question in particular: Is AI just another craze?
Why choose a career in AI? What the figures say
Like so many disruptive technologies, the narrative around artificial intelligence inevitably comes with a degree of hype. It’s always hard to say if a new technology is here to stay, or merely a fad.
…they didn’t stick around. Fortunately, there are hard figures to suggest that a career in AI might be a safer option than for some of these other fleeting trends.
Firstly, countless industry reports predict massive increases in the value of the global AI market. According to a recent one from the market research firm GVR, for instance, the global AI market was already valued at $136.55 billion in 2022 and is projected to expand by 37.3% per year up to 2030. While this is just one report, many other research firms have released similar forecasts. Of course, there’s always a margin for error when predicting future trends, so let’s look at what’s happening now.
According to IBM, 35% of businesses are currently using AI, with an additional 42% exploring how to embed it into their operations. Another report from Deloitte shows that 94% of business leaders believe AI will be critical for future success.
We could go on, but dig deeper, and you’ll find many similar examples suggesting that AI is here to stay. In turn, this means switching to a career in this field (or simply enhancing your current skills with AI) which could be a savvy career move.
Looking towards other trends
Artificial intelligence gained substantial attention in 2022, with the advent of game-changing generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E. Nonetheless, this wasn’t that long ago, even by the standards of the fast-paced tech industry. Children’s toy crazes have lasted longer!
Are we really ready to put all our chips on the table for this new, untested technology?
The short answer is yes. AI’s newfound prominence is far from fleeting, and as a result careers in AI are a solid investment. If the figures we’ve already provided aren’t enough to convince you, here are some further compelling reasons why it’s here to stay:
- Wide-spread adoption: AI isn’t confined to a specific niche; it’s being embraced across all industries. Its ability to augment or optimize countless tasks—from data analytics to customer service, graphic design, and healthcare provision—proves its resilience.
- Sustained impact: Even if some industries were to reduce their reliance on AI in the future—a scenario unsupported by current trends—its impact would still be huge. AI’s ability to adapt will guarantee its continued relevance.
- AI’s historical roots: We must recognize that AI isn’t as new as we might think. It was under development for years before gaining public awareness, with the groundwork laid by researchers over the last few decades paving the way for the breakthroughs we see today. Given this historical development trajectory, it would be surprising if AI were to vanish completely now.
- Governmental attention: Not only the tech industry is enamored with AI’s potential. Governments around the world are taking notice. There is already talk of establishing dedicated regulatory bodies to ensure its ethical deployment. This global commitment highlights the long-term vision for AI’s integration into all aspects of society. Get used to it: it’s not going away!
2. 13 jobs in AI
Now we’ve got a sense of AI’s likely endurance, what sorts of jobs are emerging in the field?
Many careers in AI are available, with further ones likely appearing in the not-too-distant future as the technology evolves further.
For now, though, we’ve outlined 13 prominent jobs in AI, each with median salary estimates (taken from salary comparison websites Payscale and Salary Explorer) and some critical skills and real-world applications.
Machine learning engineer
Median salary: $115,430 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: ML software engineer, Deep learning engineer
Let’s start with one of the main careers in AI at the moment. Machine learning engineers craft and fine-tune the algorithms computers use to learn from input data and make predictions. This role is vital for areas like natural language processing and autonomous vehicle development.
Typically, ML engineers require expertise in deep learning frameworks (like PyTorch or TensorFlow), strong programming skills (using languages like Python), and a knack for creative problem-solving. Since ML engineers often work in multidisciplinary teams, effective communication is also vital.
Explore the AI job: What does a machine learning engineer do?
Median salary: $99,350 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Senior data analyst, data strategist
Data scientists identify patterns in data, extract insights from these, and use them to drive an organization’s strategy forward. Their skills include data analytics, statistical modeling, and proficiency in programming languages like Python and R.
They’re excellent critical thinkers, too, who can communicate with all types of individuals. By bridging the gap between data and decision-making, their role mainly involves transforming numbers into solid business strategies.
Data scientists can work in many industries, including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and the sciences.
Explore the AI job: How to become a data scientist
Median salary: $116,000 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Natural language processing engineer, text analytics specialist
Natural language processing (NLP) engineers specialize in language-related AI tasks. Specifically, this means using NLP, text classification, and machine translation algorithms.
Unsurprisingly, these tasks require excellent linguistic capabilities, attention to detail, and technical skills related to data manipulation and algorithm development. NLP engineers commonly conduct jobs like chatbot and virtual personal assistant development and sentiment analysis for social media monitoring, although this AI career isn’t limited by any means.
Read more: What are NLP algorithms?
AI product manager
Median salary: $150,746 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Product owner (AI), senior product manager (AI)
A “classic” job role transforming into a career in AI, AI product managers bridge the gap between business and customer needs, guiding the development of user-friendly AI-powered products. Product examples include customer service assistants, recommendation systems, and similar software.
AI product managers are typically empathetic leaders, too, with a flair for strategic thinking. These qualities help them guide teams in developing client-led AI solutions that also contribute to an organization’s bottom line.
Explore the AI job: What is an AI product manager?
Median salary: $122,000 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Data ethics officer, AI ethicist
Considering AI’s ethical impacts is the responsibility of all those in the industry. However, as the field expands, so is the dedicated data ethicist role.
Regardless of use case, the data ethicist’s job is to keep developers and decision-makers focused on responsible AI development. They’re experts in various ethical frameworks and knowledgeable about AI regulation and local and national government policies. A critical yet often overlooked AI career, they’re the champions of responsible AI use.
Read more: Data ethics: Technology jobs of the future
Median salary: $127,380 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: AI specialist, AI developer
AI engineers are technical professionals who develop AI systems. They know about various types of neural networks, training models, and algorithms.
Typically, the role involves working in teams to design solutions to complex business problems, such as software for self-driving cars or personalized medical solutions. Of course, they must also have skills in statistics, machine learning, and software programming.
Explore the AI job: Becoming an AI engineer
Median salary: $95,556 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Data architect, solutions architect
Data engineers design, build, and maintain data infrastructure and pipelines to match an organization’s workflows. They’re experts in database management, programming, and ETL (extract, transform, load) processes, to name a few skills.
Attention to detail, adaptability, and teamwork are also vital for this role since their work ensures that wider teams can access high-quality data at their point of need. A data engineer’s work can enable tasks such as financial forecasting or supply chain management in retail.
Median salary: $92,034 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Software developer, app developer
Core skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and effective communication are critical for collaborating on projects and addressing complex software challenges. Within AI, software engineers are instrumental in developing anything from front-end apps to virtual reality and smart home systems.
Read more: How to become a software engineer
Business intelligence consultant
Median salary: $82,727 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Business analyst, BI analyst
Business intelligence consultants support businesses by extracting and providing valuable data insights. They’re typically skilled at data visualization, with proficiency in BI tools like Microsoft Power BI and SQL.
Analytical thinking, effective client communication, and presentation skills are essential to this role, which involves regularly conveying complex information to non-technical personnel. Business intelligence consultants may focus on specific tasks such as supply chain optimization for e-commerce, or broader business strategy at a boardroom level.
Explore the AI job: Business intelligence consultant career guide
Median salary: $91,721 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Automation specialist, mechatronics engineer
Robotics engineers create and maintain robotic systems, including those powered by AI. They typically qualify in areas like robotics engineering and, specifically, integrating AI with mechanical design.
Robotics poses multifaceted challenges. Robotics engineers, therefore, contribute to things like AI-driven surgical robots or automating manufacturing systems that streamline production processes.
Median salary: $135,872 per year
Similar job titles to look out for: Solutions architect, enterprise architect
Software architects create the blueprint for various software applications, ensuring they can scale efficiently and meet business objectives. They’re talented designers with expertise in system scalability, architecture modeling, and debugging.
Leadership and communication skills are also necessary for supporting development teams. Software architects might design AI-powered e-commerce systems, cloud-based streaming services, or smart learning platforms.
Explore the AI job: What is a software architect?
Computer vision engineer
Median salary: $116,708 per year
Similar job titles: CV developer, image processing analyst
Computer vision engineers develop AI systems capable of interpreting and understanding visual data from the physical world. This requires advanced skills in image processing, computer vision algorithms, and deep learning.
Meanwhile, attention to detail is essential for fine-tuning and optimizing visual recognition models. A computer vision engineer’s work might support AI-powered drones (such as those used in search and rescue missions), facial recognition software, and enhanced image search.
Median salary: Around $82,000 per year (although this is a very new role, so this figure is an estimate)
Similar job titles: Linguistics specialist (AI), AI writer
This is one of the newest careers in AI, as this Google Trends graph for 2023 demonstrates:
Prompt engineers specialize in fine-tuning language models for specific applications, such as generating marketing content or powering customer service chatbots. Forester have estimated that 60% of employees will receive prompt engineering training in 2024, demonstrating the value of knowing how to apply the right prompts.
While they can have technical skills for adapting large language models, their main areas of expertise are creative writing and AI content generation. Adaptability and linguistic skills are essential for tailoring models to support specific outputs.
3. Which companies and industries are hiring AI jobs?
It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that most industries and companies want AI professionals who can provide a competitive edge.
AI’s pervasive influence has quickly transcended traditional industry boundaries. Because of that, AI skills are in high demand in the following industries and organizations:
Technology giants: We’ll start with the obvious. Big tech companies like Google, Facebook (Meta), OpenAI, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple—all at the forefront of AI innovation—actively seek to scoop up the hottest talent.
Finance and banking: The financial sector was an early adopter of AI, using it for risk assessment, fraud detection, algorithmic trading, and customer service chatbots, among other applications.
Automotive: All self-driving cars rely heavily on AI. From newer companies like Tesla to industry stalwarts such as BMW and Ford, car manufacturers are adopting this new tech and hiring appropriate personnel accordingly.
Healthcare and life sciences: Most pharmaceutical companies or healthcare startups—and even individual hospitals and clinics—want AI professionals to support tasks like medical imaging analysis, drug discovery, and patient scheduling.
Retail and e-commerce: From e-commerce giants like Amazon to real-world brands, many retailers are investing in AI to power customer recommendation engines, inventory management, and retail personalization through shopping apps, and similar.
Energy: As the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, AI is optimizing energy consumption and renewable energy solutions. The world’s biggest energy companies, from Shell to EDF and General Electric, are already using AI experts across their operations. But many energy startups are also relying on this tech to stand out.
Agriculture: As the world adapts to the changing climate, another use for this novel technology is AI-precision agriculture. AI can improve crop yields, support pest management, and much more. You can expect it to play an increasing role in this area.
Governments: The strongest indicator that AI is sticking around is its adoption by government agencies, who actively use it to support national security and cybersecurity but also to streamline otherwise complex decision-making.
From entertainment to education and manufacturing, the demand for AI professionals will soon transcend all industry boundaries. It’s fast becoming an integral part of modern life and business operations.
And as the field develops further, you can bet your bottom dollar that new industries will emerge. Keep your eyes open!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve journeyed through the fascinating world of careers in AI in 2023. We’ve explored some reasons you might want to consider a career in AI, the diverse range of available careers in AI, and the industries and companies currently seeking to fill these positions.
As this disruptive technology continues its seemingly exponential growth, permeating virtually every sector, it’s evident that the demand for AI talent is only on the rise. For seasoned professionals and newcomers, the career opportunities are vast.
To explore further, perhaps consider taking an online course, building a professional network with like-minded individuals, or even applying for jobs, once you’re ready. While the world of AI can seem intimidating, it’s also brimming with possibilities. Your career journey can take almost any direction you want. Follow your interests and ambitions, embrace the opportunities that come your way, and you can be a part of this exciting future as it unfolds.
If you found this article helpful, and want to learn more about careers in AI, check out the following introductory career change guides:
- 10 of the Best Online AI Courses
- How To Make a Successful Career Change at 40
- How To Use ChatGPT To Write a Resume
5. Careers in AI FAQ
More questions? Here are answers to some of the most common ones:
What is the highest-paying job in AI?
The highest-paying AI roles include machine learning engineers, data scientists, and research scientists. Although broad titles for varied roles, these positions typically require the most advanced technical skills and are therefore in demand. Careers in AI in higher-paying industries such as finance, energy, and pharmaceuticals also tend to offer excellent salaries.
What skills do I need for AI?
You’ll need a diverse skillset to succeed in AI. This includes strong programming abilities, proficiency in data analysis, expertise in machine learning techniques, and an understanding of AI methodologies and how best to apply them to specific problems within your chosen domain (or business area).
What professions work in AI?
Artificial intelligence attracts professionals from many backgrounds, highlighting its interdisciplinary nature. While those with careers in AI often began in fields like computer programming, data analytics, or software engineering, increasingly, non-technical professions—in areas ranging from healthcare to retail, marketing, and entertainment—are also adopting this new tech.
What is the highest-paying AI degree?
Pursuing a Master’s or Ph.D. in AI, Computer Science (or similar field) will open doors to the best-paid positions. These high-level degrees provide a deep understanding of AI theory, associated skills, and applications, almost guaranteeing that graduates will step into well-paid jobs.
If you’re not ready to invest in a full degree, an increasing number of online certifications are also available to help boost your earning potential.
Is it difficult to learn artificial intelligence?
Mastering AI from the ground up—including the theory and practical skills needed to create AI models from scratch—requires ongoing commitment and technical skills. If you simply want to use existing AI tools to enhance your skills, though—for instance, in marketing or another lower-tech role—this will be somewhat easier.