Shrijata Basu Saha is the Global Director of HR, heading HR operations (Americas and EMEA) and the Global HR Centers of Excellence at iMerit. With over 15 years of experience in HR across multiple geographies, various industries she has strategized and lead HR processes and their transformations for workforces with over 10000 employees. She has experience in both large global multinationals and high-growth start-up environments like Infosys, Waxie Inc and Kaizen Services. She is a disrupter of the status quo and believes in creating HR processes and policies to create the appropriate Employee Value Proposition for organizations. She passed Summa Cum Laude in her Master in Management and is an Economics Hons Graduate both from the Calcutta University.
Technology has become an integral part of our lives. A quick glance at the technology landscape points us towards artificial intelligence (AI) and its power. From smart assistants like Siri or Alexa, customer care chatbots, robotic vacuum cleaners and high-tech home appliances to self-driving vehicles and facial recognition, AI-led technologies are rapidly becoming life’s mainstays. This, along with the rising demand for high-performance technologies in various industries, is a positive sign for job seekers looking to make a career in AI.
AI is not the next big thing. It is the big thing now.
We are already seeing AI becoming an important aspect of automated, smart business ecosystems and enabling smart solutions. Innovations in AI are empowering industry verticals, such as healthcare, automobile, finance, manufacturing and retail. In healthcare, AI is being trained to mimic human cognition to undertake the critical tasks of diagnosis, assistance for surgeries and beyond. Similarly, the retail sector is deploying AI-led systems for enhancing customer journey with solutions like chatbots as well as to improve demand forecasting, pricing decisions and product placement.
With such applications, AI is bringing technology to the core of all businesses. From life-saving equipment to self-driving cars, AI will soon be in almost all applications and devices.
One industry that has remained in high demand despite the impact of COVID-19 is technology and AI, with hiring growth rising by 32% since 2019, according to LinkedIn. Thus, it has a tremendous career outlook.
There are several roles you can explore:
- Computer vision: Concepts like computer vision can open doors for some of the most exciting opportunities for curious technology students and professionals. It is one of the many recent innovations driving AI and machine learning (ML) job trends. Computer vision helps tech teams to gather insights through audio, video and other formats. This data or pattern is then analysed for training AI-led systems or feeding systems to arrive at smart decisions. This is an emerging field for tech enthusiasts to explore. Freshers can also explore a career as a computer vision professional with the right training.
- AI and ML developer/engineer: AnAI and ML engineer/developer oversees performing statistical analysis, running tests and implementing AI designs. Furthermore, they also develop deep learning systems, manage ML programmes, implement ML algorithms, among other thingsFor a career as an AI and ML developer, you need excellent programming skills in Python, Scala and Java, and experience on frameworks like Azure ML Studio, Apache Hadoop, and Amazon ML.
- AI analyst/specialist: An AI analyst or specialist is similar to an AI engineer. The key responsibility is to enhance the services delivered by an industry, using data analysis skills to study the trends and patterns of certain datasets. With increasing use of AI systems across sectors, AI analysts or specialists are becoming very important. They must have a good background in programming, system analysis and computational statistics. A bachelor’s or equivalent degree can help you land an entry-level position, but a master’s or equivalent is a must for core AI analyst positions.
- Data scientist: The role involves identifying valuable data streams and sources, working along with data engineers for the automation of data collection processes, dealing with big data and analysing massive amounts of data to learn trends and patterns for developing predictive ML models. A data scientist is also responsible for coming up with solutions and strategies for decision-makers with the help of visualisation tools and techniques. SQL, Python, Scala, SAS, SSAS and R are the most useful tools for a data scientist. They are required to work on frameworks such as Amazon ML, Azure ML Studio, Spark MLlib and so on.
Now is the perfect time to explore or begin a career in AI. With the right learning and willingness to explore, you are sure to make a promising career out of it. However, to explore a career in AI, along with the right skills you must acquire the relevant technical knowledge and skill sets.
First, experience with calculus and linear algebra are crucial. Second, you should have some knowledge and experience in at least one of the following programming languages:
Along with the above, it’s beneficial to also have the below additional skills and knowledge:
- Industry knowledge and awareness
- Problem-solving skills
- Deep knowledge of or expertise in applied mathematics and algorithms
- Knowledge of AI and ML systems
- Management and leadership skills
If you are not a technology professional or from the industry, the first step is to research and gather more knowledge. You can read several articles available online, talk to AI professionals, research technology colleges and programmes and also try to understand what interests you.
Although an undergraduate degree in computer science is a good starting point, a master’s degree in AI can provide first-hand experience and knowledge that can help you secure a position and give you an advantage over other candidates.
There are several undergraduate and graduate courses specific to data analytics and AI that you can choose at technology institutes and colleges across India. These courses not only offer great insights into the industry and prepare you with the right skills, they also help you figure out your area of interest. If you are looking forward to pursuing higher education in AI, you must have a strong foundation of knowledge and expertise in math, science, computer and data analysis.
Career opportunities in AI and related sectors are very promising. It is also an interesting field to explore careers across industry sectors and seek global exposure. Industry predictions suggest that the industry will continue to grow explosively with rising demand for technology solutions in industries. All you need to do is find out what interests you and to keep learning.