Late last year, doctors at the Manipal Hospital Bangalore successfully performed a robot-assisted liver transplant. Studies suggest that by 2025, nearly 50% of all surgeries could be assisted by robots. But AI is not just about robots. From chatbots to call centres, smart assistants to self-driving cars, simple automation to advanced information processing, the future of innovation will come from machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. Naturally, this will open up thousands of artificial intelligence career opportunities. If you want to make a seamless career transition into the future and stay relevant in the long-run, learning AI might be inevitable. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how you can equip yourself to take the plunge into artificial intelligence.

Career Transition into an Artificial Intelligence Career

Did you know that 65% of AI professionals in India today have transitioned from other fields in the last two years? In fact, given the demand for artificial intelligence skill sets, it will soon become increasingly common for professionals working on legacy technologies and processes to move to AI jobs. If you are one such professional, this blog post is for you.

Get ready: First step on your artificial intelligence career path

AI is an emerging field, but it is also rapidly evolving. The projects that might have seemed impossible just three years ago are proving to work today. So, before you jump into an AI career, prepare for the possibilities.

  • Learn about the technologies and tools that are currently in use.
  • Read about organizations that are using AI.
  • Think about which business use cases you are comfortable with and understand.
  • Consider the social, ethical and moral implications of AI applications.
  • Subscribe to news and updates about AI projects from around the world.

The primary goal of this stage is to get a strong foundation. Make yourself familiar with the world of AI, understand the industry and the technology, get a grasp of what is needed to make inroads into this space. 

Even if you’re not seriously considering a transition immediately, we would recommend you to do this on the side. It gives you exposure to the opportunities that emerging fields hold. Who knows, you might even develop an interest gradually.

Stay steady: Get hands-on experience that artificial intelligence jobs need

Once you have developed an interest, it is time to get your hands dirty. The availability of data, open source culture and social communities around interests have made it easy for freshers and young professionals to learn AI on their own. Leverage this to try out an AI career for size.

  • Use a skill you already have and apply it for machine learning. For example, if you know Python, you can build machine learning models with it. Or, if you’re a statistician, you can use that to conduct analysis. Build on what you already know. Here’s career advice from Pavithra, a Staff Data Scientist at Swiggy, who broke into Data Science and AI from being a Management Consultant. 
  • Pick 1-2 top tools and learn them. We’ve made a helpful list of the top 15 open-source ML/AI tools here.
  • Join online communities and participate in conversations. In the beginning, you might feel it best to silently observe. But, as you go along, make it a point to share your ideas and help others solve problems.
  • Work on personal projects! We can’t stress this enough. The only qualification that will matter in building an AI career is that you have hands-on experience. You can easily work on complex projects using multiple great datasets available. We’ve curated a few for you here.

This is the most important stage in your artificial intelligence career transition. If you do it well, not only will you develop the skills, you will also develop the confidence needed to crack into an emerging field like AI. So, take it slow. Stay steady.

And go: Take the plunge and find your AI career

Professionals often make the mistake of thinking they need to have expert-level skills before applying for jobs. That is not necessary unless the job description specifically asks for it. What we recommend is that if you have enough skill and confidence to find the answers to your questions, you are ready to apply for jobs.

  • Prepare a CV clearly presenting your AI qualifications. You may have 10 years as a Java programmer. But if you want AI jobs, you need to show how your programming experience qualifies you for it. So, write your CV to suit the job you want, not to summarise the jobs you’ve had. Here’s a primer on how to do this.
  • Update your online presence. Begin with LinkedIn. But also make sure your work is on Github, Kaggle etc. When a recruiter Googles you, all this will give you credibility.
  • Leverage your community. If you’ve collaborated with someone or worked on a pro bono project for an NGO, ask for recommendations and share that on your social profiles.
  • Apply for relevant jobs. Not for all the AI jobs you see. Ask yourself ‘what career is right for me’ and choose what you’re perfect for. Apply for it thoughtfully. If the option is available, write a covering letter explaining why you’re suitable for the job.
  • Take your best self for the interview. Tips and tricks are here.

This is the stage where you put all your efforts to test. Approach your artificial intelligence career path carefully, yet confidently. If you’ve put in the effort needed to get to this stage, you are ready for the reckoning. But if you feel like you’re not ready, it could be because you’ve been trying to crack this on your own. As an emerging field, AI can be difficult for newcomers.

If so, consider Springboard’s online learning program in artificial intelligence, which not only teaches the latest tools and techniques, but also has 14 real-world projects, offers 1:1 mentorship, career counselling, and a job guarantee!