The demand for AI workers

Last week, many companies came to Carnegie Mellon to hire students at the Computer Sciences career fair. As I walked past hundreds of students who were standing in line for job interviews, I saw some of my students.

Steve Young, one of my students told me: “I know the job market for graduates with computer skills is good but I have something better. I graduate with a degree in Artificial Intelligence and there is a critical shortage of people with this skills. I am sure that I will have several job offers and I will select the best offer to advance my career.”

I nodded in agreement knowing that he has planned his career correctly. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now being used in many products. From self-driving cars to manufacturing robots, from machines that can distinguish cancer cells from regular cells to smart thermostats, and smart speakers that are used in smart homes. The expanding applications for AI have also created a shortage of workers in every industry. Although schools across the country are adding AI classes, increasing enrollment to meet demand, there are still not enough graduates with training in AI. According to a U.S. government report, the country will need about 2.3 million AI workers in the next decade.”

A senior manager told me: “Not enough people with AI skills has impacted the growth of the entire U.S. industry. We have difficulty hiring AI workers for the past three years but it is much harder now as more companies are competing for these talents. The reason is AI will change the entire global economy in the same way that steam engines, electricity or the Internet did in the past industrial revolutions. Many leaders talk about Industry 4.0 without knowing that AI is the engine that drives everything and impacts the entire world’s economy. But the speed of change will depend on the availability of AI workers and currently, there are only a few of them.”

AI technology is changing too fast that most universities cannot catch up. Carnegie Mellon is the first university that offers degrees in Artificial Intelligence. The reason is the founding fathers of Artificial Intelligence, Professors Allen Newell, and Herbert Simon come from CMU. Together with Professors John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky from Dartmouth College came up with the first paper about Artificial Intelligence in 1955. Since then, many AI inventions are coming from the CMU’s schools of computer science including the first Self-driving cars, the Mars Rovers, industrial robots, and machine learning tools. Due to the high demand, the average salaries for AI-graduates rose 15% between 2017 and 2018 to $132,000 a year. The demand is also good news for students with AI skills. In addition to high salary, many often get job offers many months before they graduate.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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