There has been a lot of buzz recently about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) programs such as ChatGPT and Google Bard to transform how we interact with the internet and each other. But how can IT professionals get in on this exciting trend?
Here are some tips for breaking into the AI job market.
Educate yourself on the AI ecosystem
Just when you thought you had a grip on IT terminology, along comes AI with a new set of terms and concepts to get your head around. Before embarking on your new career in AI, you need to be comfortable thinking about and discussing machine learning (ML), neural networks (NN), natural language processing (NLP), algorithm design and deep learning. Robotics is also tied in with a lot of cutting edge AI development.
If you have the time and budget, consider applying for a university course related to the field of AI. For example, the universities of British Columbia, Toronto and Waterloo all offer Bachelor and Master's degrees in Artificial Intelligence.
If this is not a viable option for you, there are scores of online courses and training programs out there. Take a course that leads to an industry-recognized certificate if you can. Failing that, be sure to check out the reviews and detailed course breakdowns to make sure you are getting good value for money.
AI blends into non-IT fields of knowledge as well, so it's a good idea to brush up on your maths (especially stats) and also to learn about human cognitive development. AI applications raise some interesting moral and ethical questions, so taking an entry level course in philosophy (with a focus on ontology, epistemology, morals and ethics) can help you to present yourself in interviews as a thoughtful and responsible AI developer.
Gain experience in relevant tools and frameworks
AI developers use a range of different tools when working on AI projects. From cloud services and development platforms to specialized frameworks and libraries, there are a many moving parts. For example, teams working on ChatGPT use Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Hugging Face and CUDA platforms, the Transformers library and the PyTorch framework. Bard developers also use Hugging Face along with the Flask framework, TensorFlow platform and Google Cloud Platform for hosting and storage.
Certification and training in any or all of these tools will give you a boost when applying for AI-related positions. If you already have these firmly under your belt, consider acquiring competence in Apache MXNet, Caffe, Keras, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), MiLib, NumPy, SciPy, Spark and Theano.
Contributing to open source AI projects can stand you in great stead for a future career in artificial intelligence. Google's TensorFlow, PyTorch and Hugging Face Transformers are just a few examples of popular projects. You could contribute by submitting bug reports, creating code or writing documentation.
Brush up on your programming languages (especially Python)
Showcase your skill set
Mastering new tools, frameworks and languages is only part of the equation when it comes to building a career in AI. Ultimately, you are going to need to communicate your credentials and expertise to the wider industry.
Attending networking events, conferences and Meetups is one way to widen your circle and make new connections. You could also participate in online forums and social media groups, although the benefit of connecting with people in the real world is that you get a chance to demonstrate and polish your soft skills. If you lack confidence in this area, then this is something to consider working on. Like any technical skill, human abilities such as team-working, communication, conflict resolution and empathy can all be learned. Mastering soft skills will not only help you ace your interview, it can also open doors for you as you progress in your AI career.
LinkedIn is a fantastic way to build your network and to collect endorsements for any AI-related skills you pick up along the way, and it is becoming standard practice to include your LinkedIn profile address on your resume.
We have written a useful article on using LinkedIn as an IT professional, so make sure you take a look at that before you leave this site.
Craft your resume with care
IT professionals often make the mistake of creating a single version of their resume which they then use in every application. This is a recipe for failure because a highly targeted resume will always create a better impression with a potential employer, especially when that field is as specialized as AI.
When applying for any IT position, you will need to carefully examine the job description and pick out the key skills, credentials and experience that are needed for the role. If you have them all, great! You now just need to demonstrate your abilities by selecting strong, fact-backed examples from your work or life history. If you are lacking certain essential skills you should not waste time applying. Instead, consider getting training or experience in the missing area ready for your next opportunity.
Rather ironically, an AI program might be the first port of call for your resume, so make sure the most important keywords from the job description are placed prominently. You should also stick to a standard, no-frills format to avoid confusing the screening software. We have written several posts on how to craft compelling resumes.
AI has the potential to be world-changing in so many areas. IT companies throughout Canada and beyond are looking for professionals with the right skill set to build on the impressive foundations revealed with the launch of ChatGPT and Bard. Opportunities for a fulfilling and lucrative career await those candidates who position themselves best in this marketplace.
With our in-depth sector knowledge, the team at Myticas hopes to help you with your next career jump in the IT sector.