The pandemic has undoubtedly hastened the growth of the already fast-growing Artificial Intelligence industry. The IDC’s recent forecast corroborates this further, with a study that states that the global AI spending will rise dramatically to $96.3 billion in 2023 from the $38.4 billion in 2019. In the recent past, Artificial Intelligence has become a major game-changer in the field of science. However, AI in today’s world has still not been utilised to its fullest capacity. Thus, it is safe to say that there is a lot of untapped potential in AI waiting to be explored.

World organisations are using AI very judiciously for social and economic business benefits. An important point to ponder over is what would happen if AI succeeds better than humans at all cognitive tasks. As the need to design a smarter AI system becomes pivotal, the world would need more AI experts to cater to the demands. Thus, for those aspiring for a career in AI, this would be the right time to do so.

Guide to building a career in AI

The good news for everyone is that there are plenty of accredited institutions globally, providing basic, intermediate, and advanced courses in AI, allowing you to learn from the comfort of your home. In the wake of Covid-19, as the world is reeling to recover and come to terms with the ‘new normal,’ job opportunities in AI are bound to witness a sharp rise.

This would consequently open the doors to several new use cases that can perform cognitive functions smarter and better than humans across verticals like healthcare, supply chain, banking, manufacturing, retail, and insurance.

The fourth industrial revolution has boosted the adoption of AI across Fortune 1000 organisations, customers, and SMEs. Even though they are expanding their use of AI, the supply is lower when compared to the huge surge in demand for AI skills. One of the key challenges that the industry faces today is the dearth of talent to work on newer areas such as video analytics, enterprise risk and information security, cyber security analytics, self-driving cars, etc.

So for a beginner or an entrant, there are plenty of options to choose from when deciding to build a career in AI. Some of the options include natural language processing, sentiment analytics, social media analytics, image analytics, and the like.

Now that we have discussed the opportunities available in the AI industry, let us take a look at the qualifications required to start a career in AI. The basic qualification that is required to gain an entry is an engineering degree or bachelor’s in maths, statistics or computers science. In addition to this, one also requires good problem-solving skills, creative thinking, and good communication and presentation skills. Experienced working professionals are expected to possess in-depth practical knowledge apart from theoretical knowledge to make their switch to the AI industry easier. Moreover, certifications from other institutions would give them an upper hand.

One should also be skilled in reasoning, presentation, planning, continuous learning, natural language processing, articulation, perception forming, and the ability to pull and manipulate objects. Before making a switch to a career in AI, one must sharpen one’s programming skills, and to make the shift easier, one could become proficient in R, Python, and Anaconda. Employers are also on the lookout for candidates with domain or industry knowledge. Therefore, those with prior domain experience could have the upper hand. Also, candidates with knowledge of business scenarios and the pain points are much sought after by employers.

Future job prospects

Experts believe that a career in AI is future-proof and highly unlikely to go obsolete. According to the data released by the job listing site Indeed, job searches in the AI industry have risen to 106 per cent with the onset of Covid-19. Also, job openings for AI-related jobs have witnessed a 28 per cent increase within the period of August 2019 to August 2020.

A study by Gartner suggests that the AI surge is expected to continue with enterprises projecting to double their number of AI projects. Although the present situation seems like everything has come to a standstill, now would be the right time to foresee the future and be equipped for the same. AI is growing leaps and bounds and is expected to continue to have a strong foothold in the future.

With increasing opportunities and employers on the lookout for the right candidates, investing in the skills required to make a career in the AI industry would be an excellent choice.

The writer is Vice President & Business Head – Data Analytics and RPA, Aspire Systems Ltd