A Student's Guide to Opportunities in Artificial Intelligence in 2024

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Prodigy Finance - June, 28 2024

10 min read

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At Prodigy Finance, we're committed to helping international talent to achieve their education dreams. We offer international student loans to qualified individuals attending top master's programmes in the US.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming industries and creating a demand for skilled professionals in the job market, making it an exciting and lucrative career path
  • To succeed in AI, students need to be proficient in programming languages, data analysis, and machine learning, as well as stay updated on the latest AI trends and technologies
  • Prodigy Finance offers student loans to international students who are pursuing their master’s degrees in AI-related fields among others

Technology is evolving faster than humans are. This has made life faster, easier and better for all of us. With the integration of AI into our daily lives, multiple career opportunities have emerged. If you are a student who is interested in a career in artificial intelligence, then this article is for you. We will take a look at the essential skills required to get a job in Artificial intelligence and top universities where you can study them.

Must-Have Skills For a Job in Artificial Intelligence

AI engineers must think outside the box to determine how to reach answers. With the right skills, you can have a competitive edge in the job market. Here are some essential skills required to excel in this field:

1. Programming Proficiency

We know that language is the cornerstone of human interaction. Similarly, programming languages are the foundation for building intelligent systems. Proficiency in languages like Python, R, Java, and C++ is essential.

Python, for example, is a useful language for AI development, due to its readability and extensive libraries. It offers libraries like TensorFlow and PyTorch. These libraries offer pre-built tools for developing and deploying machine learning models. They streamline complex tasks, allowing you to focus on creative problem-solving.

2. Data Interpretation

AI isn't just about creating intelligent machines. It is about harnessing data to uncover patterns and make predictions. This necessitates a strong foundation in mathematics and statistics.

Skills like linear algebra, calculus, and probability are crucial for understanding AI algorithms. Statistical knowledge will empower you to analyse data effectively. You’ll be able to identify trends and evaluate the performance of their models.

3. Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving

Whenever we talk AI, many professionals have to face certain challenges. From optimisation algorithms to mitigating bias, success hinges on critical thinking. Along with that, we believe problem-solving abilities are the key.

You must be adept at breaking down complex issues into manageable steps, analysing data to identify root causes, and devising creative solutions. This skill set is of utmost importance for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of AI.

4. Communication & Collaboration

While technical expertise is undeniable, the ability to translate complex AI concepts into concise language is equally important. You will often have to collaborate with diverse stakeholders, from business leaders to technical teams. Effective communication ensures everyone understands the purpose and capabilities of AI models, nurturing successful project execution.

Top Study Programs for Artificial Intelligence

Now, the question arises: how do you attain these skills? Let’s talk about the top degree programs for you to consider. These are highly competitive and interdisciplinary, combining principles from computer science, mathematics, and engineering.

Computer Science & Computer Engineering Management

A master's in Computer Science prepares students for careers in AI through fundamental courses in software design, development, and analysis. This degree provides a solid foundation in AI skills, including critical thinking about optimal solutions to AI problems and implementing complex algorithms.

Data Science and Analytics

MS in Data Science or Analytics are also highly relevant to AI, as they teach students how to use large-scale data to make predictions and guide business decisions. This expertise is essential for developing and training AI models. Many schools offer Master's in Data Science and Analytics, such as Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning degrees are even more specialised and focus on software development that drives machines. These degrees provide the foundations of AI along with additional training in machine-learning based automation. Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and many other prestigious schools offer Master's in Machine Learning programs for aspiring to contribute to AI development.

Robotics, Engineering, and Autonomous Systems

These degrees involve more electrical and mechanical engineering courses and prepare students for working in AI for physical systems like vehicles and manufacturing. These degrees are offered at schools like Boston University and the Australian National University among others.

Natural Language Processing

Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing degrees are crucial for AI careers that involve autonomous analysis of human language. These degrees provide students with a deep understanding of the complexities of language and are essential for industries like web search, retail, and e-learning.

Colleges and universities can help prospective students develop these skills. Notably, the curriculum in STEM-related coursework covers most of the listed skills.

10 Best Schools For Studying Artificial Intelligence

Now let’s discuss some incredible colleges/universities where you can get admitted to further your career in Artificial Intelligence.

1. Harvard University

Harvard University offers a variety of artificial intelligence (AI) courses and programs through different schools and departments, including the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Harvard Paulson School), and Harvard Business School (HBS). You can take many programs and courses like:

  • CS50's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python
  • Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence
  • Artificial Intelligence in Business

2. Columbia University

Columbia is also one of the finest universities in the USA. HLC (Higher Learning Commission) has accredited the school since 1918. The university offers a wide range of Artificial Intelligence (AI) courses and programs across various departments and schools, catering to students and professionals with diverse interests and skill levels. Some of the courses you get here are:

  • COMS W4701 Artificial Intelligence
  • COMS W4995 Computer Science: Deep Learning
  • COMS W4771 Machine Learning

3. Cornell University

Cornell University, established in 1865, is a renowned private Ivy League and statutory land-grant research university located in Ithaca, New York. Cornell is recognised for its high academic standards and rigorous programs across various disciplines. It offers many programs in artificial intelligence as well. Some of them are:

  • Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
  • Practicum in Artificial Intelligence
  • Advanced Artificial Intelligence

4. Duke University

The Master of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence for Product Innovation (AIPI) at Duke University is a comprehensive program designed to equip students with strong technical AI skills and hands-on experience in developing innovative products and systems using machine learning and AI. The program is recognised as one of the top applied AI/ML graduate programs in the world, offering a unique blend of theoretical foundations and practical applications.

5. Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University is in Beijing, China. It is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world and is considered China's most prestigious institution of higher education. One of the most liked programs is artificial intelligence.

The MEAI program is a key program at SIGS, Tsinghua University cultivates strong professional knowledge. The program smoothly integrates education and research platforms.

6. New York University

Established in 1831, NYU is one of the largest private universities in the United States and is considered a highly selective institution. They have a comprehensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) program. This program is available in various schools under NYU, such as Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Tandon School of Engineering, and the Center for Data Science.

7. University of Technology Sydney

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), established in 1988, is a public research university located in Sydney, Australia. It is known for its practice-oriented learning approach and strong industry connections. UTS offers a comprehensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) program with both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

8. National University of Singapore

Located in Singapore, a global hub for technology and innovation, NUS offers a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines. It has a world-class AI program that caters to students at different levels, from undergraduate to postgraduate. NUS boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including high-performance computing clusters and specialised AI labs. Master of Computing with artificial intelligence specialisation is one of the courses.

9. Stanford University

Stanford University, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is renowned for its pioneering research and academic excellence in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The main courses available include: Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques, Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition, and more.

10. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford, established in the 11th century, is the oldest university in the UK and consistently ranks among the top universities globally. Renowned for its academic rigour, world-class research, and rich history, Oxford attracts brilliant minds from across the globe. There is MSc in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) and DPhil in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) at the campus. Then there are summer schools as well.

Top Career Paths in Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a rapidly growing field with diverse career paths that offer exciting opportunities for individuals with various skill sets and interests.

  • Data Scientist: Data scientists work on analysing large datasets to extract insights and patterns, using machine learning algorithms to develop predictive models. Data science requires strong statistical skills, proficiency in data visualisation, and expertise in programming languages like Python, R or Java and analysis tools like NumPy, Pandas, and Scikit-learn.

  • Machine Learning Engineer: They design, build, and maintain machine learning systems that can learn from the fed data and iteratively improve their performance. With a deep understanding of machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow and PyTorch, they are skilled in programming languages such as Python and Java. Familiarity with data visualisation libraries like Matplotlib and Seaborn is also a must.

  • AI Engineer: Develops and deploys AI applications across various industries, combining software engineering expertise with knowledge of machine learning and cloud computing. Often possesses domain-specific knowledge to tailor AI applications to different sectors.

  • Research Scientist: AI research scientists work on developing new AI technologies and advancing the field. They need a strong background in computer science, mathematics, and statistics, often with extensive research experience and a publication record in academic journals.

  • Robotics Engineer: Designs, builds, and tests robots that can perform various tasks, often using AI techniques. Combines knowledge of mechanical engineering, electronics, and control systems with AI algorithms to create intelligent machines.

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) Engineer: Creates algorithms that help computers understand, interpret, and generate human language. Works on applications like chatbots, language translation, and sentiment analysis.

  • AI Ethicist: An AI ethicist is a professional who studies and addresses the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and ensures that AI systems are developed and used responsibly. They address issues like bias, fairness, transparency, and accountability in AI systems. The work involves frequent collaboration with AI developers, policymakers, and industry leaders to ensure ethical considerations are integrated into the AI development life cycle.

  • AI Prompt Specialist: AI prompt specialists are responsible for crafting prompts that effectively guide AI models to produce desired outputs. They must have a deep understanding of AI and machine learning concepts, as well as strong writing and communication skills.

How to Start a Career in Artificial Intelligence?

Thousands of job openings have made artificial intelligence a popular career choice. Here, we discuss how to develop a successful AI career.

Firstly, earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or a related field that covers AI, ML, algorithms, etc. In many cases, a bachelor’s degree will only provide a foundation for entry-level positions.

Pursuing a master’s degree in artificial intelligence or other closely related courses can provide direct exposure to industry expertise. They enable you to gain practical experience and a deeper understanding of the field, which can be a significant advantage when applying for jobs. Make sure to master essential programming languages like Python, R, or Java, commonly used in AI development.

You can find numerous new undergraduate and graduate programs emerging everyday, designed to prepare you specifically to work in AI. To be successful in this field, you should explore the best universities around the world that offer specialised courses in AI as per your field of interest. Finally, look for a university that has strong connections with leading AI companies, as this will give you an opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

It may involve you going abroad to pursue your dream course. Prodigy Finance offers education loans to students pursuing higher education internationally. These loans are designed to cover tuition fees and provide financial assistance to students. Take advantage of the opportunity to study at one of the top universities in the world.

Is AI a good field to get into for the long term?

The job market for AI is booming. With AI rapidly growing across industries, there's a high demand for skilled professionals. You may expect many new opportunities in the coming years.

What are some common interview questions for AI jobs?

In an interview for a job in the AI industry, you may be asked questions based on your technical knowledge or general understanding. Technical questions could be centred around machine learning models, CNNs (convolutional neural networks) or different data preprocessing techniques. There may be general questions focused on solving real-world problems using AI or the future of AI. The questions would depend on the specific role and the company's area of focus within AI.

How to get hands-on-experience with AI tools and techniques?

To begin with, look for a master's program that emphasises hands-on learning through projects. For your capstone project or summer breaks, look for internships in AI companies or research labs. This will give you valuable hands-on experience and help you network with professionals in the field.

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