5 Machine Learning Jobs You Can Apply for in 2024

As we go further into the digital age, machine learning jobs are growing increasingly prevalent.

Well before the current hype over generative AI appeared, machine learning have been playing an essential role in our daily lives, impacting everything from personalized advertising on social media to voice-activated assistants.

By training on vast amounts of data, these algorithms can provide us with unrivaled insights and predictive capabilities, revolutionizing our interactions with technology and the world around us. We’re still discovering the full capabilities of machine learning, but we know it will play a pivotal role in shaping the future.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career that offers job security, excellent career progression, and a lucrative salary, you’ll find many job opportunities in this field.

This article introduces some of the most sought-after machine learning jobs in 2024. We’ll cover:

  1. Machine learning jobs: Machine learning engineer
  2. Machine learning jobs: Data scientist
  3. Machine learning jobs: Machine learning researcher
  4. Machine learning jobs: Machine learning specialist
  5. Machine learning jobs: Data analyst
  6. Career paths and opportunities in machine learning

Let’s explore the fascinating world of machine learning careers!

1. Machine learning jobs: Machine learning engineer

The first job on our list is the machine learning engineer! 

Cars need mechanics to fine-tune and maintain their performance. Similarly, machine learning algorithms require the expertise of a machine learning engineer, whose role it is to design, develop, and optimize them.

Machine learning engineers typically work with data scientists and other stakeholders to design and deliver solutions to complex problems, from natural language processing to image recognition, recommendation engines, and much more.

Learn more: What does a machine learning engineer do?

Machine learning engineer: typical responsibilities

Each machine learning engineer will have a slightly different role, but their responsibilities typically include:

  • Researching, designing, developing, and testing new machine learning models
  • Troubleshooting issues with existing ML algorithms
  • Deploying machine learning in real-world settings
  • Collaborating with other teams to ensure their models meet business needs
  • Interpreting and analyzing a model’s performance
  • Writing code to integrate machine learning into other applications
  • Preparing presentations and reports on existing projects
  • Contributing to the development of machine learning industry standards and guidelines

Machine learning engineer: skills

To become a machine learning engineer, you’ll typically need:

  • A high-level qualification such as a Master’s or Ph.D. in a field such as computer science or statistics
  • Experience with programming languages like Python, R, Java, C++, and their associated libraries
  • Excellent knowledge of data mining and data analysis techniques
  • Familiarity with AI techniques such as supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and deep learning
  • A thorough understanding of common database systems and other data-related tools
  • The ability to debug and optimize machine learning models
  • The ability to create and manage machine learning data pipelines
  • The ability to develop software and APIs that interact with machine learning models

2. Machine learning jobs: Data scientist

With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 36% growth in demand for data scientists, this is truly a hot machine learning job to get into. From healthcare to fintech and retail, data is the lifeblood of many modern industries. Data scientists are at the forefront of extracting value from this data. 

While the term “data science” is really a catch-all term for many different roles, these jobs typically involve working with vast volumes of data to identify patterns, derive insights, and create data pipelines that drive data-driven decisions and push a business forward.

In this high-level role, you’ll work with business leaders and other data professionals to develop predictive models and inform strategic planning. Data scientists are experts in their domain and specialize in making sense of vast, complex datasets that others might struggle with.

Learn more: What is data science? A beginner’s guide

Data scientist: typical responsibilities

While data science is highly varied, a data scientist’s responsibilities commonly include:

  • Collecting and analyzing large volumes of data using statistical tools and techniques
  • Developing and testing predictive models to uncover patterns and insights
  • Collaborating with other teams, creating models that meet business needs
  • Presenting findings and insights in clear, concise, and non-technical language so that it’s easy for C-suite executives to understand
  • Designing and running experiments to test hypotheses and validate assumptions
  • Working with other data professionals to integrate data models and pipelines into existing systems
  • Continuously monitoring and refining models to improve their performance
  • Hands-on business strategy

Data scientist: skills

To become a data scientist, you’ll typically need:

  • A high-level qualification such as a Master’s or Ph.D. in a relevant field such as business, data science, statistics, or mathematics
  • Experience with statistical programming languages like Python, R, or SAS
  • A strong foundation in statistics, mathematics, and data analytics
  • Experience with data visualization such as Tableau, Power BI, or Python libraries like Matplotlib
  • Excellent knowledge of machine learning algorithms and techniques
  • Knowledge of database systems, SQL, and distributed computing, like Hadoop and Spark
  • Proficiency in working with large, complex datasets to which others may not be accustomed (big data)
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills (to present complex findings in a clear, understandable way)

Data scientist working in machine learning jobs sits at his laptop in a modern office.

3. Machine learning jobs: Machine learning researcher

Machine learning researchers push the limits of what’s achievable using machine learning technologies.

Since machine learning is relatively new, machine learning researchers have the unique opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking advancements in the field. They explore untested concepts, develop new algorithms, and conduct experiments to improve the performance of existing models.

As a machine learning researcher, you’ll usually work with teams of engineers and data scientists to design, develop and implement cutting-edge solutions for everything from self-driving cars to business intelligence.

More than the other machine learning jobs, an ML learning researcher’s work is often experimental. While not every project will make it to market, those that do will be breakthrough solutions.

Machine learning researcher: typical responsibilities

A machine learning researcher’s responsibilities usually include:

  • Designing and developing algorithms to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the field
  • Analyzing data to draw meaningful insights about a new model’s performance
  • Writing and presenting research papers or technical reports for conferences
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to anticipate needs at the bleeding edge of the business
  • Experimenting with emerging technologies to improve the performance of existing machine learning models
  • Contributing to open-source projects, providing community support, and developing new ML libraries of code
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest research and trends (this is important in all roles, but especially this one!)

Machine learning researcher: skills

To become a machine learning researcher, you’ll typically need:

  • A higher qualification, ideally a Ph.D., in a field like technological research or machine learning
  • Experience with various programming languages including Python, R, and Matlab
  • Familiarity with regression, classification, clustering, and deep learning algorithms
  • Understanding of optimization techniques and reinforcement learning
  • Expertise in linear algebra, calculus, probability theory, and statistics (the building blocks of ML algorithms)
  • Knowledge of TensorFlow, PyTorch, Keras, Scikit-learn, and Pandas
  • Familiarity with cloud computing platforms, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud
  • Ability to think creatively and logically to solve problems that arise in the course of your research
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills to present findings to colleagues, stakeholders, and the broader scientific community

4. Machine learning jobs: Machine learning specialist

Machine learning specialists focus on using machine learning to solve pressing business problems. As such, they’re well-versed in the different aspects of machine learning, including data preparation and model selection and evaluation.

While data scientists and machine learning researchers focus on developing new algorithms or improving existing models, machine learning specialists typically leverage their expertise to build solutions for an urgent need. You can think of them as chefs who specialize in specific cuisines. They have deep expertise in the various techniques (or ingredients) that comprise an effective solution. 

Machine learning specialist: typical job responsibilities

A machine learning specialist’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Obtaining insights into business concerns so they can develop models to solve them
  • Designing and implementing algorithms, often based on pre-existing tools and frameworks
  • Training and testing machine learning models to ensure their reliability
  • Collaborating with software developers to quickly integrate models into existing systems
  • Monitoring and evaluating a model’s performance in real-world settings
  • Communicating insights to key stakeholders
  • Managing and prioritizing multiple projects
  • Communicating process improvements to the business community

Machine learning specialist: skills

To excel as a machine learning specialist, you’ll need:

  • Strong math skills (to develop algorithms that solve real-world problems)
  • Expertise in at least one programming language
  • The ability to write clean, efficient, and scalable code
  • Familiarity with popular machine learning frameworks and libraries
  • Domain expertise, e.g. healthcare, finance, or e-commerce. In-depth industry knowledge is vital for understanding business problems
  • Data management and manipulation, e.g. data cleaning, preprocessing, visualization
  • Data storage and retrieval skills, e.g. SQL and NoSQL databases
  • Ability to work with cross-functional teams to develop and create tailored solutions

5. Machine learning jobs: Data analyst

While data analysts are often more junior than the other machine learning jobs on our list, they’re no less crucial. They play a pivotal role, offering data-driven insights that allow organizations to make better-informed decisions.

Like modern-day storytellers, data analysts weave compelling narratives, using data as their thread. Typically, they work with large datasets and are skilled at identifying patterns and trends.

While the role has many potential applications, data analysts often support other business functions, designing custom reports and dashboards to support the smooth running of a business.

Learn more: What does a data analyst do?

Data analyst: typical responsibilities

A data analyst’s responsibilities might include:

  • Gathering, aggregating, and cleaning data from various sources and presenting it in an easily understandable format
  • Developing and maintaining databases and data systems
  • Identifying patterns in complex datasets 
  • Collaborating with others, e.g. IT professionals, to ensure data is properly collected and stored
  • Preparing and presenting reports, dashboards, and visualizations
  • Maintaining data quality and accuracy via regular transformation, and validation
  • Recommending process improvements
  • Optimizing data collection, storage, and retrieval processes
  • Ensuring compliance with data privacy and security regulations

Data analyst: skills

Data analysts typically require the following skills:

  • A bachelor’s degree and/or a data analytics certification or qualification in a field such as statistics or math
  • Experience with data analysis tools such as SQL, Python, and MS Excel
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis and data visualization techniques
  • Familiarity with database management and data warehousing
  • The ability to communicate complex results to technical and non-technical stakeholders
  • Strong critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills
  • Knowledge of data wrangling, validation, and data quality management
  • Confidence working with data viz tools such as Tableau

Two men working machine learning jobs discuss data on a computer screen.

6. Career paths and opportunities in machine learning 

So there we have it, some of the top machine learning jobs in demand in 2024! As should be clear by now, machine learning is a rapidly growing field offering a wide range of career paths and opportunities.

And while many people think of machine learning as reserved for those with a solid grounding in computer science or mathematics, this reality is shifting. While you will, indeed, need math and technical skills, going down an academic qualification route is not the only way to develop these.

So, to progress in this exciting and fast-evolving field, how can you make the best of the opportunities available?

Plan your entrance into machine learning

First up, you’ll need to identify career progression opportunities in machine learning.

To achieve this, it’s necessary to keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. Attending machine learning conferences and workshops, reading industry publications, and joining online communities are all great ways of staying informed about the latest advancements in the field.

Network, both on- and offline

Networking is also critical for identifying career opportunities. Again, attending industry events is a positive way to connect with professionals in the field and learn about potential job openings.

You can supplement this by using social media platforms like LinkedIn and exploring professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) or the Association for the Advance of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

Hone your ML skills

You must also continuously improve your machine-learning skills.

Pursuing additional education, certifications, or even personal projects can help you stay ahead of the curve, making you a more competitive candidate for promotions or job openings.

Be open-minded

Finally, being open to different opportunities and adaptable to change is vital for identifying and making the most of the career opportunities that present themselves.

Don’t be afraid to explore other areas, take up new challenges, or even pivot to a completely different role within the industry if it better aligns with your interests and skills. There are endless possibilities; you just need to find the right one!

7. Wrap-up

Machine learning is a field rich with growth and career development potential. Whether you’re interested in designing and developing new algorithms or using data to drive strategic decision-making, you’ll find many lucrative and exciting career paths there. 

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in ML, start by exploring the different machine learning jobs and opportunities available. You can then build the skills and experience to pursue your chosen path. With appropriate training and experience, you could be at the forefront of shaping the future before you know it!

CareerFoundry’s Machine Learning with Python course is designed to be your one-stop shop for priming yourself for the machine learning jobs that are out there. Possible as a standalone course as well as a specialization within our full Data Analytics Program, you’ll learn and apply the ML skills and develop the experience needed to stand out from the crowd.

Ready to learn more about data analytics? Try CareerFoundry’s free data short course to receive five daily lessons straight to your inbox.

Alternatively, check out the following blogs to learn more:

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