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4 Steps to Start your Career in Artificial Intelligence

GettyImages-1017296544Are you looking to start a career in Artificial Intelligence? If so, there is no better time to start then now! The technology has progressed rapidly in recent years, thanks to advancements in computing power, expansion of data collection, and improvements to algorithms. As a result, businesses across the world are looking to bring in talent to capitalize on the growth. Although, the demand for talent continues to outpace the supply – presenting a unique opportunity to become a highly valued asset in a growing field. Let’s outline the steps that will help kick-start your career in AI.


1. Choose a Career Path

First, it's crucial to pause and carefully consider your primary motivation for joining the field - ensuring that you choose the role that aligns best with your skills and interests. Let’s explore the different motivations that will help you decide what path is best for you.

Are you motivated to conduct scientific experiments that furthers innovation? If so, a role as a Research Scientist may be ideal for you. Are you motivated to ensure the technology is used and programmed ethically? If so, a position as an Ethics Officer may be right for you. Do you have a strong passion for mathematical analysis? Then a position as a Data Scientist could be perfect for you.. Are you motivated to develop sophisticated algorithms? If that's the case, a position as a Machine Learning Engineer might be perfect for you. Are you motivated to learn and teach others about the application of AI? Then a position as an AI Educator could be best for you.

We understand there is no such thing as a ‘perfect fit,’ but by concentrating on your primary motivation for joining the field, you will gain clarity on where to start your job search.


2. Learn Technical Skills

The importance of learning technical skills cannot be understated. The bottom line is that candidates with the required technical skills will outshine those without. Why? Because candidates lacking the desired technical skills listed on their resume often get screened out before reaching the first round of interviews. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to research what technical skills are expected of each role to build your skillset accordingly.

Start by taking online courses or earning certifications in AI, machine learning, and related fields through platforms such as Coursera, edX, or Udacity. Another way is to take advantage of free resources and tutorials provided by organizations like Google AI Education, Microsoft Learn, OpenAI, and Salesforce Trailhead. Using these resources together will help you establish foundational knowledge for practical application. Lastly, learning programming languages like Python or C++, as well as modeling tools like TensorFlow or PyTorch will be crucial to put your knowledge in action by training algorithms that power intelligent systems.

Keep in mind that acquiring technical skills isn’t going to happen overnight – it takes a commitment to gradually expand your skillset over time.


3. Build a Portfolio

Once you feel confident and comfortable with technical tools, it's time to put your skills into action by creating a portfolio that showcases your AI expertise. Having a stellar portfolio can open doors, impress employers, and help land you that dream job. Although, knowing where to start can be hard. Let’s a look at some compelling project ideas that play to your passions.

If you're a music enthusiast, think about creating a personalized music or playlist recommendation system. For food lovers, consider building a tool that recommends local restaurants based on your cravings. If finance is your forte, design a predictive model for stock price forecasting. And if sports are your passion, why not build a predictive model to project your team's win count this season?

The goal is to showcase your technical knowhow at the intersection of your passion, to give employers a sense of your expertise and ability to contribute to their team.


4. Expand your Network of SMEs

Last, but certainly not least, is to expand your network of industry SMEs. A great place to meet like-minded individuals is at industry conferences or by joining online communities. There you’ll be able to stay informed on tech advancements and build relationships with industry peers that will open doors to new opportunities and career growth. While it’s not expected that you contribute to the field as a newcomer, learning from experienced professionals will accelerate your growth and help you land a job.

Start small – consider joining a LinkedIn group that touches on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and/or Neural Networks to build your network of SMEs.


Key Takeaways to Lead your Career Journey

Having a growth mindset is key for those looking to break into the world of AI. The rapid pace of innovations demands that experts in the field do not remain stagnant; instead, they are expected to embrace change by exploring new techniques and solutions, pushing their curiosity to its limits. If you’re still eager, put the four steps above into action to jumpstart your career in AI.


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