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Artificial Intelligence and the Job Market

Education Programs

Cheetham said most major companies have similar divisions that offer college graduates a wide variety of career choices. To prepare for a career in AI, he suggested majoring in computer science, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering. Students should also master the computer languages C++ and Java. Upon graduation, they should seriously consider getting their master's degree or find a company that would help fund continuing education. Cheetham took advantage of GE's Edison Engineering Program. While working for GE, he was assigned to three different one-year projects while also attending a local university to study for his degree.

While a Ph.D. isn't required, Cheetham noted that 40 percent of his colleagues have at least six years of college education. Students fresh from college could expect to start work in a similar field earning $50,000–$60,000 a year. With each advanced degree, the person's earning power greatly increases, and those with a Ph.D. can also branch out into teaching.

Cheetham sees a bright future for AI in general, but he suggested that the robotics field may be among the leading cutting-edge careers of the future, since robots will soon be found doing everything from household chores to taking part in military conflicts. “A century ago, there was an industrial revolution with mechanical tasks being completed on assembly lines that made the tasks more efficient. Today, most people are doing mental tasks, knowledge-based tasks. AI helps people perform those knowledge-based tasks, and AI technology is striving to automate tasks where possible. AI can interpret data, make a decision, make sure it's right, and then complete a task so no human has to intervene. In the future, repetitive tasks are things computers will do. AI can organize data, making it easier for a person to see, and that makes people more effective.”

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