14 September, 2023

How to Pivot Your Career to AI – Artificial Intelligence Career

For some Project Managers and other professionals, moving your career toward Artificial Intelligence is appealing. But is it a good move? And, if it is, what are the steps to take?

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Is it a Good Career Move, to Focus on Artificial Intelligence?

A wide range of expert commentators all agree that AI investment and revenues generated by AI applications are both set to grow to massive values in the near future.

The result will be what any high-school economics lessons will tell you. A huge demand for AI engineers at all levels and in a variety of specialisms which, in turn, will generate a boom in salaries.

US organizations are already paying six-figure dollar salaries, with the top roles in the biggest employers attracting $200,000 plus.

Focus Areas for an AI Career

Big areas of focus are likely to be in areas like:

  • Cloud-based AI
  • No-code AI
  • Cybersecurity
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)
  • Hyper-automation

These are all defined in my eBook, Decode the Jargon of Artificial Intelligence, which you can get with my Artificial Intelligence and Project Management Professional Briefing.

AI Employers

Top employers of AI professionals include:

  • Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta, Amazon
  • IBM, Invidia, Adobe
  • Workday, CapitalOne, AirBnB

What AI Career Roles are Available, and in What Sectors?

There are many roles available that range from pure research to commercial development, to business-oriented roles.

  • Research scientist
    Whether in industry or academia, research scientists are looking for new breakthroughs that will create the next set of applications and technologies.
  • Data Scientist
    These are the people who collect, clean, and analyze the data that can build predictive models and make data-driven decisions.
  • Machine Learning Engineer
    From building infrastructure, devising algorithms, and structuring training data, ML Engineers are the people who ensure the ML models become useful applications.
  • AI Engineer
    Specialist software engineers who develop and train the AI models, using Machine Learning algorithms and Neural Networks.
  • AI Consultant
    Like all consultants, they help organizations with limited specialist expertise to identify what AI technologies will help their business, and then to implement those AI solutions into their business.
  • AI Product Manager
    As all Product Managers, this is the person who oversees the development, marketing, and customer service around a single AI product.
  • Business Intelligence Developer
    Analysts who develop the systems and models that make use of vast data sets to provide market and business trends upon which to make decisions and plan campaigns.
  • Big Data Engineer/Architect
    They design, plan, and develop the systems that host vast data stores and allow other business systems to access that data.

Sectors that Offer AI Careers

And, as for sectors, the answer is… All of them, from pharmaceuticals to transportation, software to retailing, and from finance to Government. No sector will want to be left out and all sectors will use AI and employ AI experts.

What are the Skills You’ll Need, to Make AI a Bigger Part of Your Work?

To optimize your chances of succeeding in working in AI-related roles, you’ll need a variety of skills. The extent to which you’ll need each – and the balance among them, will depend on the role. So, here is a list of skills to work on:

  • Mathematics in general and linear algebra, probability theory, and statistics in particular
  • Programming, especially using one or more of these languages: Python, Java, Java Script, C++, Julia, R
  • Working with data: Data analysis, data engineering, data security
  • AI Technologies: Machine Learning algorithms, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, Neural Networks

How Can You Prepare Yourself to Take on More AI Responsibilities?

There are five essential steps to building AI into a deeper part of your career. However, these steps will overlap with one another, as you constantly adjust and refine your plans in a fast-changing commercial environment.

  1. Research
    Understand your options in depth, and determine what future roles will be right for you, in the context of your personality, skillset, career priorities, and options available.
  2. Speaking to People
    Start with networking to meet and learn from a range of people who can help you refine your understanding and your plans.
  3. Gaining Experience
    I have listed some of the skills you’ll need, so you need to start gaining experience in as many of these areas as you can. This is both to build your Resumé and also to help you determine what you enjoy and what you are good at. High among your priorities will be programming
  4. Getting Training and Certification
    There are many options, from short, free courses, to full-on higher degrees at Masters or Doctoral levels. For working people, professional certifications are a powerful option. I recommend the suite of courses offered by the United States Artificial Intelligence Institute. I have put links in the description, along with an exclusive discount code that you can use with them.
  5. Keep up-to-date
    As with all professional skills, continuing professional development (CPD) is essential. But it is, perhaps, even more so here, because of the speed with which this industry and its technologies are developing.

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What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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