Machine Learning Engineers work with algorithms, data, and artificial intelligence. Learn about salary potential, job outlook, and steps to becoming a Machine Learning Engineer.
Are you interested in becoming a Machine Learning Engineer but need help determining where to begin? While this tech job isn’t entry-level, the path to becoming a Machine Learning Engineer can be exciting and rewarding.
Machine Learning is a fascinating branch of artificial intelligence that predicts and adapts outcomes as it receives more data. Named the #1 job in 2022, Machine Learning Engineers saw a 344 percent growth in job postings between 2015 and 2018, and it has steadily risen since 2018 as Machine Learning has continued to be incorporated into all types of industries.
What is Machine Learning
Machine Learning is a part of the computer science field concerned explicitly with artificial intelligence. It uses algorithms to interpret data in a way that replicates how humans learn. The machine aims to improve its learning accuracy and provide the user with data based on that learning.
Machine Learning includes everything from video surveillance to facial recognition on your smartphone. However, customer-facing businesses also use it to understand consumers’ patterns and preferences and design direct marketing or ad campaigns.
Social media platforms like Meta use Machine Learning to target advertisements at users based on their preferences, likes, and posts to the website. Similarly, shopping websites like Amazon use algorithms to suggest buying items based on a customer’s purchases and viewing history.
What Machine Learning Engineers Do
Machine Learning Engineers act as critical members of the data science team. Their tasks involve researching, building, and designing the artificial intelligence responsible for Machine Learning and maintaining and improving existing artificial intelligence systems.
Often, a Machine Learning Engineer will also be a critical communicator with other data science team members, working directly with the data scientists who develop the models for building AI systems and the people who construct and run them.
While job responsibilities for Machine Learning Engineers will differ, they often include the following:
- Implementing Machine Learning algorithms
- Running AI systems experiments and tests
- Designing and developing Machine Learning systems
- Performing statistical analyses
Job Opportunities for Machine Learning Engineers
Over the past few decades, the computer science field has continued to grow. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, information and computer science research jobs are increasing by 21 percent through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, the median annual salary is high at $131,490.
In 2022, Indeed listed Machine Learning Engineer as its #1 job of the year, based on the growth in postings for jobs related to Machine Learning and artificial intelligence over the previous three years. Due to changes in society due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for enhanced automation of routine tasks is at an all-time high.
Like many high-level technology and computer science jobs, Machine Learning Engineers earn salaries significantly above the national average, often over six figures. In fact, as of June 2022, the average base salary for a Machine Learning Engineer is $125,672, according to Indeed.
How to Become a Machine Learning Engineer
Working your way up to becoming a Machine Learning Engineer is possible. However, there are three essential steps to becoming a Machine Learning Engineer that you’ll need to take.
Earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
Because Machine Learning is part of the computer science field, a strong computer programming, data science, and mathematics background is essential for success. Most Machine Learning Engineering jobs will require a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, so beginning a course of study in computer science or a closely related field such as statistics is an excellent first step.
Gain entry-level work experience.
Once you have earned a computer science degree, the next step is to start working in the data science field to gain experience working with Machine Learning or artificial intelligence. Some entry-level positions that will lead to a Machine Learning career include:
- Computer engineer
- Data scientist
- Software Developer
- Software engineer
Earn an advanced degree.
While it is possible to work in data science and artificial intelligence with just a bachelor’s degree, pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or software engineering can help you learn the more complex tasks required of Machine Learning Engineers. It will also give you leverage as you apply for jobs, significantly if you have bolstered your studies with plenty of internships or apprenticeships.
Get started in Machine Learning today.
Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning are growing branches of computer and data science. Becoming a Machine Learning Engineer requires years of experience and education, but you can start today.
Build your knowledge of software development, learn various programming languages, and work towards an initial bachelor’s degree. Multiple certificates and even computer science courses with Skilldacity can help prepare you for an exciting career in Machine Learning.
The Machine Learning specialization career path from Skilldacity is another excellent introduction to Machine Learning, in which you’ll learn all you need to know about unsupervised learning.