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How to Become an Artificial Intelligence Specialist

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Since inception, digital computers have had the potential of carrying out complex processes that only humans can do freely. While this potential remains less of a match with Human flexibility, every Artificial Intelligence Specialist is most likely attempting to close the gap. Now, it has become a question of when rather than how.

In Science fiction movies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is usually represented as robots with human-like attributes. However, AI can refer to many things, some of which are Google’s search algorithms, Siri, self-driving cars, IBM’s Watson among others. As the world becomes more advanced in technology, artificial intelligence is also growing to be part of our everyday lives. So what exactly is Artificial Intelligence and how can you become a specialist in the field? Read the following guides to find out.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the result of adapting human intelligence in machines and programming them to reason like humans and reproduce their actions. Artificial Intelligence may also refer to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving. Devices that can observe their environment and make active decisions that will increase their chances of success are artificially intelligent.  It refers to the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with human beings. Artificial intelligence also refers to the development of systems programmed with the intellectual processes that are peculiar to humans. These can be the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from experience. In the same vein, when a device can copy the cognitive functions that are observed in human actions such as learning and problem solving, it is referred to as artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence

Who is an Artificial Intelligence Specialist?

Artificial intelligence (AI) specialists program computers to simulate thinking. They work on systems that gather information, make decisions, and act on the information. Some AI specialists work in cognitive simulation, in which computers are used to test hypotheses about how the human mind works. … Expert systems are used in the fields of medicine, law, geology, and accounting.

Responsibilities of an Artificial Intelligence Specialist

  • As an Artificial Intelligence Specialist, you will create and develop AI models and teach other employees like the product managers and stakeholders the benefits of using them.
  • You will also evaluate and decide the needs of employees. This means that you will find what part of training the employees of your organization are lacking. You can either gather this information through surveys, interviews, or consultations with either the employees themselves or the managers.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists help employees learn about the systems by designing training manuals and creating online learning materials. This way, the employees can learn to navigate the systems created by Artificial Intelligence Specialist with relative ease. The training materials created by Artificial intelligence Specialists are subject to regular reviews to ensure that they are up to date. Artificial Intelligence Specialists also acquire training materials from different vendors to choose the appropriate materials.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists also perform administrative functions such as monitoring the costs of materials used to develop these AI systems. They also set up systems and equipment according to the standard they created them.

Other Responsibilities

  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists work to convert machine learning models to Application Program Interfaces (APIs). This will define how other applications and components use them.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists develop the infrastructure for data ingestion and data transformation. This means that they build the systems that gather and import data for storage and reference.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists automate the processes needed for data collation purposes. This means that they design processes in such a way that whatever information they require is available even before another staff queries the applications.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists carry out statistical analysis on the systems they have created, then,  write the results in a language that organisations can use for better decision making.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialists create and manage pre-existing artificial intelligence systems.

Artificial Intelligence Specialist

Skills of an Artificial Intelligence Specialist

Programming Skills: One of the most important skills for a career in Artificial Intelligence is programming. This is because you will work with computers to create and develop your systems. It is essential to learn programming languages to become well-versed in artificial intelligence. You can learn one or all of the following languages: Python, R, Java, and C++.

Linear Algebra, Probability, and Statistics Skills: For Artificial Intelligence Specialists to understand and implement different AI models, they use their knowledge of linear algebra, probability, and statistics. These models include Hidden Markov models, Naive Bayes, Gaussian mixture models, and linear discriminant analysis.

Knowledge of Big Data Technologies: Artificial Intelligence Specialists work with large amounts of data, and to handle such data processes, you must have big data technologies like Apache Spark, Hadoop, Cassandra, MongoDB. Learning these technologies will help you make sense of the large data volumes.

Knowledge of Algorithms and Frameworks: As an Artificial Intelligence Specialist, you must understand how machine learning algorithms work. These include KNN, Naive Bayes, linear regression, Support Vector Machine. This is because they will help you understand and implement machine learning easily. Furthermore, building AI models requires an understanding of deep learning algorithms, and implementing them requires a framework. These frameworks include PyTorch, Theano, TensorFlow, and Caffe.

Communication and Problem-solving Skills: An Artificial Intelligence Specialist needs to have good communication skills because they pitch their ideas to company stakeholders. Oral and written communication skills are key to becoming a successful Artificial Intelligence Specialist. You must also possess problem-solving skills to help your organization overcome decision making obstacles.

Educational Requirements for a career in Artificial Intelligence

A career in Artificial Intelligence requires a strong background in programming, systems analysis, and/or fluency in several computer languages. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, data science, statistics, and computer science can qualify you for entry-level positions into the Artificial Intelligence field. Most Artificial Intelligence Specialists hold Masters or Doctoral degrees in computer or cognitive science (a combination of psychology, psycholinguistics, computer science, anthropology, and philosophy).

Below are some reputable schools you can grab a relevant bachelor’s degree:

  1. Bradford University, United Kingdom – offers a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science. The program teaches students how to develop software tools for the next generation. It also provides valuable knowledge and techniques that are essential for designing and making use of computer technology. Furthermore, the program caters to those with a burning interest in technology, who wish to pursue careers in software engineering, system administration, data science, financial analysis, app development, IT consultant, or Artificial Intelligence. The degree duration is 4 years with placement, which allows you to build contacts and develop skills and professional confidence that are important to your career path. The tuition for international students is £19,160 (sandwich year: £1,916).
  2. University of Debrecen, Germany – offers a Computer Science, BSc degree. The program trains IT professionals who have solid theoretical knowledge that is necessary to develop their skills in the long term. It is ideal for individuals that can perform at an advanced level, and are passionate about software-oriented development. You must also be interested in the implementation and servicing tasks related to IT equipment and systems to succeed in the program. The tuition for international students is $6000.
  3. Curtin University, Australia – offers a Bachelor of Computing degree. The degree has three areas of specialisation which include computer science, cybersecurity, and software engineering. This means that after learning the basics, the program allows you choose whatever area of specialisation you are interested in. The program will equip you with high-level knowledge of computer systems and processes involved in software development and maintenance. The tuition for international students is $32,700.

Artificial Intelligence Specialist

Job Outlook for Artificial Intelligence Specialists

Jobs in Artificial intelligence are expected to grow exponentially over the next few decades. By then, experts would have created programs that can perform more complex tasks.

This growth will see an increase in the need for IT experts as companies will need to understand and integrate artificial intelligence in their processes.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates computer occupations to increase by about 13% between 2016 and 2026. This is almost two times the average growth rate for all occupations. However, not all computer occupations revolve around artificial intelligence.

Typical Employers

The companies that employ Artificial Intelligence Specialists are:

  • Google DeepMind
  • OpenAI
  • Baidu
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Facebook AI Research (FAIR)
  • Uber
  • Apple

Salary Estimates for Artificial Intelligence Specialists

  • According to payscale, the average salary for Artificial Intelligence Specialists is $122,000 per year in the United States of America.
  • Glassdoor estimates the median salary for Artificial Intelligence Specialists in the United Kingdom is £44,968.
  • Nuevoo estimates the average Artificial Intelligence Specialist salary in Canada is $89,700 per year.

Artificial Intelligence Specialist

Famous Experts in Artificial Intelligence

  1. Demis Hassabis: Demis Hassabis is popular for many things. His CEO role at DeepMind is what carved out his spot as one of the most successful AI experts in the world. DeepMind is based in London and focuses on “solving intelligence” and using intelligence to solve every other problem. Demis is also known for AlphaGo, Theme Park, Republic: The Revolution, his Mullard, and Golden Joystick Awards. If you intend to become an Artificial Intelligence Specialist, there are numerous things to learn from him.
  2. Fei-Fei Li: Fei-Fei Li has one of the most impressive career stories. She is a Computer Science Professor at Stanford University. She has also served as the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL). Fei-Fei joined Google Cloud as its Chief Scientist of AI/ML and Vice President in 2017, during her sabbatical from Stanford, and stayed there till 2018. She has also recently been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which is one of the highest professional achievements in Engineering. Li co-founded AI4ALL, a nonprofit that focuses on educating the next generation of artificial intelligence experts. By doing this, she uses her success to create possibilities for future generations to succeed.

Careers Similar to Artificial Intelligence

Data Scientist: Data scientists are analytical professionals who utilize their skills in technology and social science to detect trends and manage data. They use industry knowledge, understanding, and existing assumptions – to uncover solutions to business challenges. Data Scientists solve business problems through research and open-ended industry questions. This simply means asking the right questions to begin the problem-solving process.

Cybersecurity Specialist: Cybersecurity Specialists are responsible for providing security during and after the development stages of software and networks. A Cyber Security Specialist searches for risks in hardware and software systems. In other words, they manage and monitor all attacks and intrusions. The profession involves recognizing a potential threat or attempted breach by building firewalls into network infrastructures.

Automation and Robotics Engineer: Automated and Robotics engineers make use of knowledge from computer engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biological mechanics, software engineering. But this is not all. They also use control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human labour in factories, offices, and at home. Automation and Robotics engineering have indeed been crucial to the development of humanity and certainly, this will come with great responsibilities.

AI machine

Postgraduate Options for Artificial Intelligence Specialists

Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence Systems from EPITA School of Engineering and Computer Science. The program makes experts more employable in both Artificial Intelligence and Data Science fields. Equally, it trains individuals with interest in Artificial intelligence and helps them solve complex problems using AI technologies. The program further equips them with a solid background in mathematics and essential programming skills. It is offered entirely in English with a duration of 18 – 24 months. The tuition fee for international students is EUR 18,000, full-time studies.

MS in Artificial Intelligence from Yeshiva University in the United States of America. The program teaches how to design and build cutting edge AI technologies for a variety of applications like finance, biotech and medicine, cybersecurity, Adtech, law, and so on. Thankfully, it is available for both Online and Campus studies. The duration is two years with a tuition of $35,100 for international students. You can study full-time or part-time.

MS in Artificial Intelligence from Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in the United States of America. The program teaches students how to apply creative thinking, algorithmic design, and coding skills in developing modern Artificial Intelligence systems. The program will help you gain profound technical experience and expertise in the focus areas of machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing. The tuition per semester is $27,360 and the program lasts for 2-3 semesters full-time.

AI Object

Certifications in Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Executive Certification (Kellogg): This certification is for senior managers and executives who are responsible for advancing an organization’s transformation initiatives using data, analytics, and AI.

The program comprises 8 modules that will help you gain a comprehensive perspective on how AI is being used in practice across organizations and different industries. After completing the course, participants will be graded and must score 80% to obtain the certificate of completion. The fee for the program is $2,900.

Artificial Intelligence Certification by Columbia University (edX): Since Artificial Intelligence is one of the fastest-growing areas of computer science and this program will help you comprehend the core principles of artificial intelligence. You will receive a certificate after completing the program. It has a duration of 1-year instructor-led and the fee is $896.40.

Adopting some of these career paths should set you up for a successful career in Artificial Intelligence. Should you need further guidance or have any questions, you can share through the comments section, or better still, send me an email.


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