Those who work in the artificial intelligence (AI) field have been responsible for some of the most significant and astounding innovations of the past few decades. From self-driving cars to digital assistants to manufacturing robots, AI can be found in both the mundane and extraordinary. AI is so ubiquitous, in fact, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that fields related to AI careers (such as computer science or software development) will grow as much as 22% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the national average. The AI industry, as a whole, grew 270% in the four years prior to 2019. Now, more than ever, is a wonderful time to explore career opportunities in artificial intelligence. But how can one break into artificial intelligence and launch a career? Here are just a few pointers for those just starting out.
Higher Education is a Must
Job prospects in AI are plentiful, however this is becoming a competitive field. Those who wish to get into artificial intelligence and be successful must earn, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering. Those who want to maximize their employability should consider going on to earn a graduate degree in AI.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
The first step to pursuing a successful career in AI is to earn a relevant bachelor’s degree. A degree in computer science or engineering prepares graduates for entry-level positions in AI, software engineering, security, and more.
BS in Computer Science
A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science provides students with the skills they’ll need to work effectively as a member of an information technology, software development, or even a data science team. Computer Science students learn problem solving skills, written and oral communication skills, the ability to plan and conduct experiments, and more. Additionally, students are exposed to a wide variety of programming languages and systems that are fundamentally important to their success as future AI professionals.
Classes that students in a BS in Computer Science degree program can expect to take may include:
- Computer Ethics
- Microprocessor System Design
- Computer Architecture
- Database Design
- Software Engineering
- Operating Systems
BS in Computer Engineering
Students interested in exploring computer architecture, computing theory, and robotics may want to consider earning a degree in Computer Engineering as their entry point into the field of artificial intelligence. A BS in Computer Engineering prepares students for a variety of careers, including chip design, software engineering, robotics, network security, and more. Students can choose to focus on a specific area of interest during their final year of study. For example, students may choose to specialize in cyber security, artificial intelligence, deep learning, web application design, or hardware design.
Students enrolled in a Computer Engineering program can expect to take courses like:
- Introduction to Control Systems
- Microprocessor System Design
- Software Engineering
- Materials Science for Engineers
Master’s Degree in Artificial Intelligence
While some students may choose to begin their careers following their baccalaureate degree, a master’s degree in AI increases graduates’ job opportunities, preparing them for in-demand commercial or research positions in both industry and academia settings, positions in state or federal government agencies, or even jobs in nonprofit organizations. A master’s degree improves its holder’s employability and competitiveness in the job market by preparing them for leadership positions and highly specialized roles. This is ever-important in a growing field like artificial intelligence.
In a master’s degree program, students can specialize in more than one area of AI concentrations, including Robotics and Automation, Deep Learning and Computer Vision, Data Sciences and Data Analytics, and Cybersecurity. Classes that students may take can vary from Robotics to Data Mining to Cryptography and Cryptanalysis, depending on the individual student’s areas of interest.
So You Have a Degree, What Then?
Getting an education is, naturally, the first step to getting into the artificial intelligence field. However, there’s more to it than that. The AI industry is changing every day. The hallmark of a successful AI professional is an ability to adapt and evolve. In other words, even as you begin your career, you should strive to stay up to date on technological advancements. Join communities and subscribe to online publications that will keep you in the know. Visit events, lectures, and expos as often as you can and seek out continuing education opportunities, even if you’ve earned a graduate degree.
Look For Opportunities in Unexpected Places
While Silicon Valley may be calling your name, in this tech-driven age there are opportunities everywhere. From government agencies to nonprofit organizations and small start-ups, there’s no shortage of opportunities available to those who keep an open mind. Tech giants are always an option, but your services may be just as needed, and perhaps even more appreciated, elsewhere. Search for positions in a variety of settings to improve your chances of being hired. If and when the time comes to look for your next job, remember to keep your search broad. As you gain experience and confidence, take time to build an online portfolio that showcases your work and leadership. You may find that eventually you won’t even have to seek out opportunities, they’ll come to you.
AI careers are the jobs of the future. They’re in-demand and, in many cases, highly lucrative. In order to get your foot in the door, it’s important to complete your formal education and keep yourself open to unique opportunities. However, truly accomplished professionals know that the best predictors of success are initiative and curiosity. With all of these elements in place, you’ll be sure to succeed.
Are you ready to get into artificial intelligence and launch a successful career? Request more information about University of Bridgeport’s computer engineering and artificial intelligence programs!