Want to work in machine learning? These are the jobs you should be looking for…
Machine learning is one of the fastest-growing fields in tech – and one that’s becoming increasingly important in a wide range of different sectors. But aside from an aptitude for computer engineering and a willingness to learn, how do you break into the industry? And what are some of the top jobs you could be doing?
Here are five of the top machine learning jobs you should look out for, and our top tips on how to get there:
What is machine learning?
In essence, machine learning is the process by which software can be programmed to evolve and adapt over time without the need for human input.
The concept has been around since the 1950s, but it is only now becoming a viable tool for businesses – especially as a means of analysing large amounts of data across areas as diverse as agriculture, marketing and insurance.
Jobs in machine learning examples?
Machine Learning Engineer
What they do: Run experiments within an existing machine learning framework, work to improve the way solutions operate, analyse data and determine suitable ways to harness it to generate actionable results. This is a more specialised, defined role than that of a data scientist, with a clear end goal of software optimisation.
What you need: A good grounding in various topics across computer science and mathematics, from software programming to probability and statistical analysis. A relevant degree (and/or industry experience) can be a prerequisite for the top roles, with PhD-level education also preferable.
What you can earn: A salary of £60,000-£65,000 is typical for Machine Learning Engineers working for the bigger companies in London. Those with more experience can expect to earn over £100,000 in the right role.
Perfect for: People who want to rage with the machines.
Our Advice: Look at the available Machine Learning Engineer roles to see what is expected of candidates, and set achievable goals to help you hit each requirement. If you have no previous experience, finding an accredited course will be the quickest and easiest way to get yourself started.
What they do: Collect and analyse data, using machine learning to assess information and present it in a way that makes sense to those with less specialised skills. In other words, they take big data and make it more accessible and useful for those working in other parts of the business.
What you need: A head for numbers, excellent problem solving skills, and attention to detail. Although it’s possible to work your way up to a data science position, a relevant degree is definitely an advantage. Many universities also offer Masters programmes, which specifically cover data science.
What you can earn: On average a Data Scientist in the UK can hope to take home around £35,000 a year. Senior Data Scientists may also earn closer to £60,000-80,000 annually.
Perfect for: People who are obsessed with getting better figures.
Our Advice: Because data scientist roles can be pretty broad, they give you more flexibility, even if no two positions are necessarily alike. However, getting used to handling and presenting data will be absolutely key, and there are a number of free online tools which will help you get-to-grips with the fundamentals – covering everything from statistical programming to cluster analysis.
Machine Learning Researcher
What they do: Everything from running tests and planning out projects, through to augmenting and optimising solutions that are already in use. The work they do is vital in a number of different industries, from helping to develop drugs and medical equipment, through to improving mobile apps based on user behaviour.
What you need: A methodical approach to your work, as well as a decent amount of experience in dealing with data. A degree in suitable area will also be key, with some roles being best suited to those with a doctoral degree in their area of specialism.
What you can earn: Anywhere from £35,000 for entry-level roles up to £70,000 or more for senior Machine Learning Researcher positions.
Perfect for: People who question everything.
Our Advice: To progress in a research position, experience is key. Look for any voluntary work you can take part in – emailing companies who recruit for these positions is a good start (they always need extra hands). Even if it’s not in machine learning, you’ll learn some of the key approaches you’ll need to move into the position full-time, with the added bonus that it’ll help make your CV stand out.
Quantitative Machine Learning Researcher
What they do: Use their numerical and mathematical knowledge to apply machine learning to the world of finance. Common duties could include programming machines to solve monetary problems and perform statistical analysis, or using AI to come up with complex trading strategies.
What you need: Degree or PhD-level research experience in computer science and machine learning, as well as a background in quantitative finance or relevant experience in this sector.
What you can earn: Starting salaries of around £45,000 can be anticipated, with higher level positions exceeding £80,000 per annum.
Perfect for: People who prefer quantity over quality.
Our Advice: To gain and excel in this position, you’ll need to know the markets inside out. If you haven’t built up much experience, playing the markets and leveraging big data to make trading more efficient is a good place to start – and it doesn’t have to be particularly high risk. There are lots of sites out there which can help you learn without fronting up any money at all, which is perfect for anyone completely new to the industry.
What they do: Use machine learning to analyse performance data, and assess the results to shape the way decisions are made in the future. With the right Performance Analyst (and the right programmes) a business can minimise wasted time, and maximise profit – whether it’s getting a sales team to work more efficiently, or setting the right prices for an ecommerce product.
What you need: A relevant degree, and plenty of experience working as a Performance Analyst in another field. These skills are usually pretty transferable to the machine learning market, but an eye for statistics and good management abilities are absolutely essential.
What you can earn: Salaries for this type of role start off at around £45,000-£50,000, with added perks and benefits usually added to sweeten the deal.
Perfect for: People who are obsessed with performance.
Our Advice: The role of a Performance Analyst gives you a little more leeway in terms of where you can work. To add to your knowledge (not to mention gain valuable contacts) find out about any industry events you can attend, or reach out to others in the industry who might be able to mentor you in your career.
How to get a job in machine learning
Here are some of our top tips to help prospective applicants find their start in machine learning:
- Embrace education & training – Because most roles in this industry require a relevant degree, as well as a good level of training and experience, the best way to get the job you want is to ensure you are fully qualified. But even if university isn’t for you, there are a number of dedicated courses out there to help you build your skills.
- Consider relocating – A lot of jobs in machine learning are based in specific parts of the country, so be prepared to relocate if you want to secure positions within the industry’s most influential organisations.
- Showcase your talents – Most candidates for machine learning roles will be highly skilled and experienced, so make sure that your CV is tailored to help you stand out from the crowd and prove your worthiness in a competitive, emerging field.
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