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Thinking about a career in artificial intelligence? Here’s what you need to know

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We’ve moved! To find this article and more like it, check us out at our new home and don’t forget to subscribe. Artificial intelligence is always a hot topic in the world of work. Looking at the latest news about AI, it’s clear that even though there may be some growing pains when it comes to employment in the sector, it’s the way of the future. Check out our tips for setting yourself on a successful career path in AI.

AI and the future of work is a hot topic of conversation. Whether it’s Elon Musk’s alarmist predictions of the end of jobs for humans or the headline-making introduction of HSBC’s Pepper the Robot as a customer service tool to free up employees for more productive work, artificial intelligence in the workplace generates strong opinions.

And Canada is right in the middle of it. Federal government messaging in this area has included public talks with important tech figures as well as adding innovation to the federal budget and announcing the creation of a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Canada is also home to a number of AI research institutes like the Vector Institute, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and MILA – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute.

Jobs in artificial intelligence

But how are workers faring?

A Deloitte study released late last year reported that AI adoption by Canadian business has been stagnant over the last 4 years, with only 16 percent of businesses reporting using AI. Despite the report, however, hiring for jobs in tech hasn’t slowed down; in fact, it’s only gathered steam. Statistics Canada reports that job growth in the digital economy outpaced job growth overall by four to one.

And while there is always concern over the displacement of job by AI, the World Economic Forum estimated that AI would be a net creator of jobs, bringing 133 million new jobs to the world by 2022 (and absorbing the 75 million jobs lost to implementation of AI).

Closer to home, AI hiring continues apace. Indeed even listed machine learning engineer as the best job in Canada in 2019 for the second year in a row.

Artificial intelligence career path

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So, it’s clear that AI is an emerging sector surrounded by a positive climate of investment and increased hiring for new opportunities. So if you’re interested in pursuing a career in AI, here’s how you can prepare:

1. Education

Math and computer science-based programs of study provide a valuable foundation for a career in AI. A strong math background lends the learner a conceptual understanding of AI and its potential while programming knowledge (especially in Python) gives individuals the ability to actually build the programs. Consider these recognized AI programs for more guidance.

2. Training

Hands-on training is important to understand the current capabilities, problems and potential solutions AI has to offer. The focus should be on operationalizing AI, so having a practical understanding of the technology as well as the ways that technology will fit into the organizational framework and deliver results is a fundamental part of a successful career path in AI. Make sure that your program of study offers hands-on training alongside theoretical concepts or check out online resources for hands-on training options.

3. Soft skills

Similar to having hands-on training to understand how AI can be put to use effectively in an organization, being able to communicate what you want to do to a broader audience will come in very handy in the long run. These “soft skills” encompass the elements of work that can often be overlooked in technical fields but are fundamental to successful working relationships. The most important here are the verbal and written communication skills to communicate your ideas internally and externally; making yourself understood–whether to obtain buy-in, solve a problem or just provide clarity to a coworker–is a fundamental element of success. The ability to work in teams is another essential skill, especially in a collaborative emerging field like AI. And as with any project-based work, time management and accountability also play a large role in the soft skills necessary for AI developers; these skills promote project completion on time and to specifications.

Find out more about a career in AI from Roevin. Contact us today!

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