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Automation nation: a guide to AI careers

AI careers

In the age of AI and automation, maths and data reign supreme

AI (or artificial intelligence if you want to be formal!) is all about developing computer systems that use data to perform “intelligent” tasks like visual perception, understanding natural language, reasoning and decision making. Machine learning (ML) is one way of building these systems, where you provide a computer with examples of what it should do, then it learns how to do it. Behind all of this is not magic, but maths!

Where AI is used?

Agriculture: provides real-time data on crops, water supply and areas that might need fertilisation or treatment.

Education: makes classrooms accessible to students who speak different languages, or those with visual or hearing impairments.

Health: screens for cancer, diagnoses COVID-19 and monitors patients over video telehealth systems.

Logistics: detects fatigue in truck drivers and provide alerts to reduce accidents.

Utilities: analyses video footage from pipe inspections to find blockages.

So is automation the same thing?

Nope! Automation is when machines are programmed to perform human tasks. AI needs the machines to do the whole ‘think like a human’ part too.

Maths skills list

If AI, automation or ML sound like something you want to get into, it’s time to become best mates with maths. Knowing your stuff in the following areas will definitely give you the edge in AI careers:

  • Algorithms
  • Calculus
  • Game theory
  • Linear algebra
  • Probability
  • Statistics

Fun fact

In AI careers, the demand for ML is huge! Employees at the LinkedIn Top Companies (which include big names like Amazon, IBM and Apple) grew their skills in this area by 23% in 2021.

Quick quiz

What does Siri, a driverless car and a manufacturing robot have in common? They’re all examples of everyday AI!

Maths and AI & automation study

Maths and AI & automation jobs

Automation engineer: $57K–$120K
Machine learning engineer: $57K–$130K
Software engineer: $57K–$118K*

*Source: salaries according to

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2022.


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