Career Path Series: Artificial Intelligence

Man holding up yellow note that says "A.I."

What is Artificial Intelligence?

According to Oracle, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a catch-all term used to describe applications that perform complex tasks that once required human input. 

AI is all around us, and, for most people, in their pocket each day in the form of a mobile phone. Here are some examples of how you might encounter AI daily:

  • “Hey Siri/Alexa/Google, what’s the weather like today?”
  • Google Maps lets you know that there is a faster route to work 
  • Facebook suggests you tag two of your friends in a photo you added
  • You use a chatbot on a website to get a question answered

Career Outlook

As technology evolves, more and more machines are being programmed to think and mimic human behavior. As a result, the demand for employees with training in AI is rising. LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report found that careers in artificial intelligence have grown 74% annually in the last four years, listing it as the number one emerging job of 2020.

What skills are required for a career in Artificial Intelligence?

  • Programming skills such as Java, Python, and R
  • Mathematical skills including calculus, probability, and advanced statistics
  • Data structures
  • Big Data tools such as Spark
  • Algorithms and Frameworks

In addition to these technical skills, companies continue to seek out employees who possess soft skills such as problem solving, teamwork, strong work ethic, communication, critical thinking, and adaptability. 

What type of education should I pursue to work in Artificial Intelligence?

When thinking about a career in AI, it may not always be obvious what type of college degree lends itself to success in the field. As course offerings expand, a limited number of universities have added a Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence. Since these degree options are relatively new, the most common route is likely a degree in Computer Science. At most universities, AI-related courses at the undergraduate level are offered within the Computer Science department. At the graduate level, you will be more likely to find programs directly related to Artificial Intelligence. Here are a few suggestions for online graduate certificates and degrees:

What industries are looking to hire employees trained in Artificial Intelligence?

While you might think of companies such as Google or Apple as hiring those with AI skills, we are quickly entering a world where no industry is left untouched by technology. Construction, education, consumer electronics, transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing are all industries where AI is making an impact and, as a result, opening more job opportunities. Examples of jobs held by AI professionals include mechanical engineers, maintenance technicians, surgical technicians working with robotic tools, aviation electricians working with drones and flight simulators, and research scientists.

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About the Author
Kayla Dietz
Academic Coach
Kayla started working in higher education in 2011 in both the for-profit and public sectors. Her experience working with adult learners includes advising and career exploration. Kayla graduated from Murray State University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and from Lindenwood University with a master's in Professional Counseling.
Man holding up yellow note that says "A.I."

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