On LinkedIn alone, there are over 9000 machine learning jobs advertised currently in India. Out of this 1500+ are titled ‘machine learning engineer’. A deeper look will tell us that all kinds of organizations are hiring ML engineers — the biggest retailer in the world Walmart; telecom major Jio; pharma multinational Novartis; automation startup UiPath and so on. Depending on the industry, the role and importance of ML applications will vary. So will the machine learning engineer salary and job description. How much you can earn as an ML engineer in India depends on a wide range of factors — experience level, location, organization etc. But one key factor is the industry you work in. 

Machine Learning Engineer Salary: Industry-wise Breakup

Before we get into which industry pays how much, let’s explore why the industry has such an important influence on salary. 

1. The amount of data industry has, influences how well it can use ML

Some industries naturally have more data. Take, for example, banking and financial services. Last decade’s digitization drives have ensured that they have enough data for running analytics and building predictive models. Additionally, some industries are naturally more accepting of future technologies like machine learning. Take the case of OTT platforms. Because they are internet-natives, they are used to and comfortable with data-driven methods. You’ll be amazed at the kind of fantastic work Netflix does with machine learning.

2. Machine learning can directly impact business in some industries more than others

Predictive machine learning models can be quickly integrated into products of industries like e-commerce, for use cases like product recommendations. And the direct impact it will have on the bottom line would be high. On the other hand, fragmented and technologically not-so-mature industries like supply chain or logistics might not see much immediate impact with machine learning. As a result, opportunities and demand for ML engineers in these industries will be lower, so will be their salaries.

3. How the ML team is structured within the organization varies from industry to industry

In captive centres, ML engineers typically work for the organization — like in large banks or e-commerce companies, where they have an in-house machine learning team/department. The salaries paid here tend to be higher. This is also the case with companies building ML-based products such as Uber’s map module or Apple’s Siri. Then, there are corporate services or IT services firms that handle machine learning projects for clients — like in TCS, Infosys etc. Here, the salaries tend to be slightly lower. Now, let’s look at some numbers.

Average Machine Learning Engineer Salary in India

PayScale, an online platform focussed on compensation, collects data from the community for each role. It finds that the average machine learning engineer salary in India is Rs. 686,086. This also correlates with the Rs. 650,000 average salary as declared by the LinkedIn community.

Source: PayScale

Machine learning engineers with specialized skills are found to earn more on average. PayScale finds that ML engineers with natural language processing skills earn Rs. 723,257, computer vision Rs. 729,893, and deep learning skills Rs. 739,744 on average.

Industry-wise Pay Scales for Machine Learning Engineer

Top salary for machine learning engineers is in the hardware and networking industry, as per the LinkedIn community. This industry pays an average of Rs. 12,00,000, but the range goes up to Rs. 23,00,000 per annum. 

Source: LinkedIn

This is followed closely by finance, which has a lower average salary at Rs. 10,80,000, but the same high-end at Rs. 23,00,000 per annum. IT services, though ranked third, pays a much lower — an average of Rs. 6,20,000 with a range extending up to Rs. 14,50,000.

Source: LinkedIn

Source: LinkedIn

On the whole, across industries, locations and job roles, machine learning engineer salary, on average, is higher than any other IT professional today. Pawan Goyal, the chief business officer at Naukri.com says that machine learning and other new tech roles are “niche talent and in short supply.” As a result, companies are willing to pay high salaries to professionals qualified in ML tools and technologies. This is also true of companies who are hiring experienced professionals — studies show that while the year-on-year hike in India is around the 10% mark, companies pay more to hire and retain in-demand talent such as machine learning.

As we look at trends in the machine learning space, one thing is very clear: The outlook is extremely positive. As demand is increasing, opportunities are growing year after year. Because the supply isn’t matching up demand, the salaries for machine learning engineers are also increasing. In short, there is no time like the present to learn machine learning skills and boost your salary profile. If you’re looking to invest in the future of your career, you should not skip machine learning as a field. Explore Springboard’s 1:1 mentoring-led project-driven online learning program in machine learning that comes along with a job guarantee!