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The 5 Essential Skills For a Job In Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the world we live in. It’s at the forefront of the huge wave of digital transformation we’re witnessing across the world. Skills in artificial intelligence lead to careers that make changes in a range of areas of rapid growth:

  • Smartphone technology
  • Supply-chain automation
  • Fraud prevention
  • Energy supply and usage
  • Online shopping
  • Email spam filters
  • Diagnosing illnesses

AI is everywhere around us, and its capabilities are sought-after by almost every industry. It’s no surprise, therefore, that research from Gartner suggests that the demand for workers with specialist AI skills and machine learning knowledge tripled between 2015 and 2019.  


Types of AI Careers

Careers in artificial intelligence are not just limited to IT: departments recruiting AI talent in high volumes include:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Finance
  • Research and development 

However, there’s a worldwide skills shortage in the area of AI: in the research, respondents ranked ‘skills of staff’ as the number one challenge or barrier to the adoption of AI and machine learning.  So what skills do you need to get a job in artificial intelligence?

Northumbria is filling the AI skills gap

As members of the UK government funded Institute of Coding, we’re dedicated to increasing the artificial intelligence skills in the wider workforce that is needed to drive digital change. 

Here are our 5 essential tips for landing a job in artificial intelligence, and kickstarting your career to help build a smarter tomorrow. 


Drive digital change on our Computer Science MSc


1. Programming

Whatever Artificial Intelligence career you’re looking to pursue developing a strong knowledge of programming languages is a key skill that you need to harness. 

Programming is essential in a number of AI-based careers such as:

  • Machine learning engineer
  • Algorithm developer
  • Computer vision engineer
  • SLAM engineer

Over the course of our dedicated Object Orientated Programming (OOP) module, you’ll learn how to design, implement, test and document programs and gain practical programming experience by solving small scale problems. 

Anyone who works in AI will benefit from understanding a range of programming languages, and on the AI pathway of our Computer Science MSc you’ll learn a firm grasp of several:

  • Python
  • Java
  • Apache Spark
  • Python 3
  • Pandas

Don’t worry if you don’t have previous experience – we’ll teach you everything you need. 

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2. Database Modelling, Data Warehousing and Data Processing 

Employers around the world are searching for Artificial Intelligence experts who have a broad computer science skill set. AI jobseekers must not only manage large amounts of data, but also use machine learning techniques to use it faster and more efficiently. 

In our dedicated Data Modelling and Analytics module, you’ll:

Get to grips with current database technology

Learn how to design and manipulate databases with relational algebra and SQL

Build an appreciation of non-traditional data types, systems and applications, such as NoSQL databases

Have plenty of opportunities to put these skills into practice.

Being able to understand and manipulate data is key to making AI systems work.



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3. Machine Learning 

Put simply, Artificial Intelligence enables machines to carry out tasks in a way that we consider ‘smart’. Machine learning is the method we use to make this a reality, without telling the machines what to do. 

If your dream role is to be a machine learning engineer, for instance,  it would be your job to create machines which can learn by themselves – or be able to unearth patterns hidden in huge amounts of data – without being explicitly programmed to do so. 

One thing is certain: machine learning is changing society forever and, as an Artificial Intelligence expert, it would be your role to push this technology to new heights.

In our AI and Digital Technology module, you’ll see first-hand how this technology is transforming business and manufacturing. In our AI Studio module, you’ll learn:

  • The fundamental theory behind machine learning 
  • The fundamental concepts
  • Current AI and machine learning techniques
  • Research advances that you’ll need to take your learning further
  • An introduction into the optimisation algorithms you will use to create and train neural networks.

You’ll also explore the differences between supervised and unsupervised learning techniques and delve deeper into the world of shallow and deep learning neural network techniques, important sub-fields of machine learning. 


4. Knowledge of Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI) 

What do Amazon’s Echo range, Ring Video doorbells and Google’s Nest Hub all have in common? They’re all interactive systems with intelligent interfaces. 

Autonomous technologies like these  carry out tasks for us but also prompt our input and respond to our commands. As systems like these become increasingly capable, Artificial Intelligence experts are challenged to design user interfaces.

The ways in which people interact with a system - such as a remote control, touch–screen or voice recognition – must be transparent, understandable and responsive. The essential skill here is recognising human factors. You’ll need to master our interactions with AI when designing, using and evaluating IUIs. 

In our dedicated Intelligent User Interfaces module, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Prototype and evaluate an IUI design 
  2. Explore different technologies that are controlled by voice recognition, chatbots and more 
  3. Discuss IUI application within:
  • secure systems
  • vehicle automation 
  • smart homes 
  • smart cities 

These module learning outcomes will help you to pave the way when it comes to designing the AI tech of tomorrow.  


5. Problem Solving 

AI and computer science more broadly can be seen as a way of solving problems. From small ones such as which piece of code to feed into an AI, to finding automated solutions to global education or health issues

No matter what career route you choose, developing an analytical mind will take you far in Artificial Intelligence – and honing those skills will take practice. 

Throughout the course you’ll be encouraged to do just that. During your dissertation project you’ll have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and improve your problem solving capabilities during a substantial piece of independent research. 

Drive Digital Change: Join Our Computer Science Masters 

Whether you’re looking to kickstart your career in Artificial Intelligence, or you’re already working in tech and want to sharpen your knowledge to secure a dedicated AI role, join us as we explore the skills that are most in demand. Along the way, we’ll also take a closer look at how our Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence MSc will equip you with the expertise you need to build a smarter tomorrow. Take a look at our Artificial Intelligence MSc if you're just looking specifically for AI Courses.

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