How to Get a Job in Artificial Intelligence

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Artificial intelligence jobs are in-demand and this rapidly-growing industry is only set to expand with technological advances. Find out the educational requirements and some top jobs in AI with this guide on how to get a job in artificial intelligence.

[Featured Image]: A man wearing a blue sweater and glasses, is working in front of two computer screens. He is sitting on a creamy white chair.

To get a job in artificial intelligence, you’ll want to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related major. Also, consider pursuing a postgraduate degree in the field and build your experience and portfolio. Learn more about various jobs you can get in AI, the skills and educational requirements needed to enter it, salary information, and possible career paths you can take in AI.

Investigate jobs in AI 

The first step to getting started is to research which jobs within the field of AI you’d like to pursue so that you can tailor your education and build your skills as needed. Indeed reports the top 10 jobs involving AI skills as:  

  • Director of analytics: Directs the data analytics and data warehousing departments and is in charge of research, development, and implementation of relevant data systems

  • Principal scientist: Designs, executes, and documents research experiments in many fields and industries as part of a research team

  • Machine learning engineer: Generates programs that enable machines to take actions without being specifically directed to perform various tasks

  • Computer vision engineer: Uses computer vision and machine learning research to solve real-world problems in real-time

  • Data scientist: Utilizes coding and other computer programming to collate and store data efficiently

  • Data engineer: Finds ways to improve data quality and reliability, combining new information to create formats that machines can read through and understand

  • Algorithm engineer: ​​Assists clients in understanding more prominent data trends and reporting on these trends

  • Computer scientist: Designs innovative uses for new and existing computing technology, solving computing problems in various industries

  • Statistician: Creates or uses different mathematical or statistical theories and methods to gather and explain the numerical data findings for a given project

  • Research engineer: Utilizes educated research findings to create a reliable answer for problems at hand

Read more: What is AIOps? Meaning, Examples, and Use Cases

Develop skills needed in AI   

You can expect to hone several skills when preparing to work in artificial intelligence. There are many branches of AI, but most have some core commonalities. You can build many of these skills through self-guided practice, learn via online courses or bootcamps, or develop through coursework when earning a degree. 

Learn technical skills 

You’ll notice many jobs in AI lean on proficiency in programming languages and coding. In fact, coding is one of the very first skills many people interested in this field learn. Expect to also work with a variety of computer systems. A few essential technical skills to build upon include the following:

  • General-purpose languages: Python and C/C++

  • Database management: Apache Cassandra, Couchbase, DynamoDB

  • Data analysis and statistics: MATLAB, R, Pandas

  • AI platforms: Microsoft Azure AI, Google Cloud AI, IBM Watson

  • Data acquisition systems: Physical sensors and wireless sensors

  • Digital marketing goals and strategies 

  • Industry knowledge

Build workplace skills 

Workplace skills aren’t always something you can learn through courses but rather an experience. Consider working on these human skills when thinking about pursuing a career in artificial intelligence: 

  • Communication skills

  • Effective collaboration 

  • Analytical skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Management and leadership skills

Educational requirements 

Educational requirements are one of the first requirements you’ll want to meet when breaking into artificial intelligence. These requirements will vary by job type, whether the position is entry-level or higher, and the industry. 

Understand the degree type 

Expect most jobs in AI to require a bachelor’s degree or higher. For some entry-level positions, you may only need an associate degree or no degree, but that’s not too common. If you want to build a career for yourself in the field of artificial intelligence, it’s probably a good idea to earn at least your bachelor’s degree. As for what field of study to focus on, most individuals working in AI obtain undergraduate degrees in computer science, mathematics, or a related field. 

Gain certifications 

If you already have your undergraduate degree in a field related to AI, consider enrolling in courses to learn some of the technical skills you’ll need working in artificial intelligence. Even if you don’t have your degree, certifications show potential employers that you’re serious about your career goals and make you a more attractive candidate. Some AI certifications to consider include:

  • MIT: Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy

  • USAII:  

    • Certified Artificial Intelligence Engineer

    • Certified Artificial Intelligence Consultant

    • Certified Artificial Intelligence Scientist

  • ARTIBA: Artificial Intelligence Engineer

Salary range and job outlook 

The outlook is quite bright for artificial intelligence jobs, good news for anyone working in the growing field of AI. In fact, machine learning engineers and data scientists have made the top of the list on Indeed’s Best Jobs for the past few years [1, 2, 3]. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups careers in artificial intelligence with computer and information research scientists and notes the employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030 [4]. This is much faster than average. In 2021, the median yearly wage for this job was $131,490, according to the BLS. 

Glassdoor reports salaries, which include base pay plus compensation, for the following AI jobs in the US as of June 2022:

  • Artificial intelligence engineer:$120,017 [5]

  • Machine learning engineer: $125,087 [6]

  • Robotics engineer: $107,771[7]

  • Data analyst: $97,329 [8]

  • Computer vision engineer: $123,665 [9]

  • Data scientist: $121,275 [10]

Explore possible career paths in AI 

Four of the most common occupations in the AI field are machine learning engineer, robotics engineer, computer vision engineer, and data scientist. Getting on a career path to lead to one of these jobs is a smart move if you’re planning a long-term career in artificial intelligence. 

One possible career path to becoming a machine learning engineer, for example, would be to get hired into an artificial intelligence entry-level job like a software engineer, software programmer, or software developer. You'll need a bachelor’s degree for these entry-level jobs.

Read more: What Is a Machine Learning Engineer? (+ How to Get Started)

Your next step is to earn your master’s degree in data science, computer science, software engineering, or similar. You may also want to work on gaining some certifications, building your skills, and creating your portfolio. Finally, apply for the machine learning engineer position, an upper-level position that pays very well. In fact, it’s one of the highest-paying positions in the field of AI.

Next steps 

When you’ve investigated the field of AI and found a career that’s right for you, it’s time to get started earning your degree, gaining certifications, building your experience, and creating your portfolio. If you need some help finding courses or degree programs that would be helpful to you on your road to a career in AI, turn to Coursera. 

If you're ready to earn a degree, there are a couple of options available through Coursera. You could pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of London or even a Master of Science in Data Science from the University of Colorado Boulder, for example. 


Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

University of London

If you are already in the AI field, you can boost your professional credentials with a Professional Certificate from IBM in Applied AI, Data Science, AI Engineering, or Machine Learning.

But if you are still deciding whether the field of AI is for you? Consider a beginning course to gauge your level of interest, such as Introduction to Artificial Intelligence by IBM or AI for Everyone by DeepLearning.AI.



Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In this course you will learn what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is, explore use cases and applications of AI, understand AI concepts and terms like machine ...


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Data Science, Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Jobs, Machine Learning

Article sources


Indeed. "The Best Jobs in the US in 2019," Accessed August 16, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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