Machine Learning Salary: A 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about machine learning salary figures across different positions to find the job that's right for you and discover ways to increase your pay in this field.

[Featured Image] A machine learning engineer works on a computer in his office.

With the rise of AI technology in recent years, machine learning is a booming industry, offering an excellent job outlook and high salaries. Within the discipline of machine learning, you’ll find a range of career positions, from machine learning engineer to research scientist to data engineer.

In this article, you’ll learn about different machine learning roles, their salaries, and how to earn a high wage in the field.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is part of the field of artificial intelligence (AI) that works with data to develop systems and algorithms that imitate human thinking, learning, and behavior. Advances in machine learning have allowed machines to recognize visuals and understand text and consequently form an action as a human would when solving a problem.

Technology that uses machine learning includes chatbots, recommendations on apps like Netflix and Amazon, and even self-driving cars. 

Machine learning salary figures

Your machine learning salary can vary depending on the role you work in. Studying machine learning in a college or university or gaining certification can set you up for numerous positions with high salaries. Even entry-level jobs can come with higher-than-average salaries, with roles such as a junior machine learning engineer earning an average annual salary of $109,736 [1].

You can expect even higher salaries as you progress in your machine learning career. For example, a senior principal machine learning engineer earns an average salary of up to $169,048 [2].  Your salary can vary depending on the industry you work in and the company that employs you, as well as your level of education, experience, and range of skills.

Given the breadth of machine learning roles and the numerous titles, it’s impossible to cite an average machine learning salary. Instead, it makes more sense to break it down role by role. Below, you’ll discover a range of machine learning-based roles and their expected salaries.

1. Machine learning engineer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $126,648 [3]

Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, information technology, or similar

Machine learning engineers build systems and algorithms that use data to predict and automate the next steps, helping software learn and become more accurate as time passes. Machine learning engineers work in various industries, including health care, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, transportation, and finance.

2. Machine learning data scientist

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $118,817 [4]

Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, statistics, or similar

Data scientists use data to help businesses make important decisions. In this role, you analyze and build models and systems to group data, interpret it, make forecasts, and solve problems. Data scientists use machine learning and AI to develop these systems and models and automate steps. 

3. Deep learning engineer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $121,839 [5]

Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, or similar

Deep learning is a specific branch of machine learning that focuses on neural pathways that machines use to learn and improve tasks, similar to how humans function. Deep learning engineers work on software and models to develop these pathways and come up with usable innovations, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, that get smarter as you use them. 

4. Natural language processing (NLP) engineer

Average US annual salary (Glassdoor): $122,407 [6]

Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, data science, engineering, or similar or an associate degree with relevant experience and additional relevant learning

Natural language processing (NLP) is a machine learning subset concerned with how a computer system understands human language. An example is how Siri or Alexa understands what you’re saying when you ask a question. An NLP engineer develops systems that turn voice commands and text into something a computer system understands.

5. Computer vision engineer 

Average US annual salary (Glassdoor): $130,573 [7]

Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field with programming skills

Computer vision engineers build systems to help computers make sense of visual data to aid the recognition and categorization of images. In this role, you build systems using AI and machine learning technology so computers can detect photos, videos, and other visual data and know the difference. 

Machine learning job outlook

Professionals with skills in machine learning are in high demand across positions. Indeed ranked machine learning engineer as the eighth top job in the US in 2023, based on job demand and salary [8]. Focusing specifically on computer and information research scientists, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites an expected job growth rate of 23 percent between 2022 and 2032 [9], which is much faster than the average of 3 percent for all jobs in the US. 

How to increase your machine learning salary

A machine learning salary is generally high because it is a skilled industry that attracts top talent. To help yourself stand out and gain jobs with the most significant salaries, you’ll find several steps outlined below.

Study for a degree

For roles in machine learning, the minimum entry requirement is generally a bachelor’s degree in a relevant major, such as computer science, engineering, or data science. You may wish to continue your studies to a master’s degree or even study for a doctorate. According to, machine learning engineering salary increases with education level [10]:

  • Bachelor’s degree: $118,573–$124,498

  • Master’s degree: $119,361–$125,334

  • Doctorate degree: $119,676–$125,669

Get experience 

Experience is crucial in how much you earn, as more progression opportunities can arise as you learn more and prove yourself in the industry. You can find opportunities to move into more senior positions or take on leadership roles to increase your machine learning salary. Using a machine learning engineer as an example, Glassdoor cites the following career path and associated annual wages:

  • Machine learning engineer: $126,648 [3]

  • Senior machine learning engineer: $141,405 [11]

  • Senior manager of machine learning: $167,029 [12]

  • Director of machine learning: $168,742 [13]

Top-paying companies in machine learning 

Who you work for has an impact on the salary you receive. Looking at the role of machine learning engineer, Glassdoor lists the following companies as paying the highest average compensation, which includes base salary and additional benefits [3]:

  • Cruise: $273,319

  • Stripe: $272,258

  • Wish: $270,942

  • Meta: $260,144

  • Google: $258,102

Getting started with Coursera

Are you looking to start your career in machine learning? Building your skills through online courses and certificates to boost your resume is a great place to begin. Look at the IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate or DeepLearning.AI's Deep Learning Specialization delivered by DeepLearning.AI, both available on Coursera.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “How Much Does a Junior Machine Learning Engineer Make?,,32.htm.” Accessed March 2, 2024. 

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