Machine learning engineer

    Jane Shen

    Using her skills as a machine learning engineer, Jane Shen is helping build the next generation of AI-powered customer service chatbots

    They say don’t judge a book by its cover – but had Jane Shen not picked up a book in the library when the cover caught her eye 17 years ago, she might not have kickstarted her epic tech career. The book was about AI and it sparked a flame in Jane that never went out.

    After school, Jane completed an undergraduate degree in engineering and a master’s in speech signal processing at Soochow University in her home country, China. Her fascination with tech then led her across the Pacific to New Zealand, where she completed a PhD in AI at Auckland University of Technology.

    Jane then took her expert-level AI qualifications to an Auckland-based tech company called Ambit, which specialises in customer service conversational AI. After starting out as a full stack engineer – helping to develop new features and solve technical issues – she soon pivoted into her current role as an AI / machine learning engineer.

    Speaking AI’s language, like a natural

    At Ambit, Jane develops AI solutions to deliver natural, capable and human-like responses to customers. “I use cutting-edge technology to build software that can do tasks automatically,” she explains. For example, she improves the ability of conversational AI to answer customer questions quickly and accurately.

    Jane is excited by the rapid growth of AI, and the opportunities that generative AI and large language models (LLMs) bring to the company and its products. 

    “We’re seeing a surge in new careers that focus on harnessing the power of generative AI to automate tasks traditionally done by humans,” she says. For example, ‘prompt engineers’, skilled in both tech and language, are next-gen experts at crafting and optimising text prompts for LLMs to achieve desired outcomes.

    Jane’s advice to young people interested in tech? Find your own passion, pursue it and “don’t give up if there are road blocks along the way,” she says. – Gemma Chilton 

    Jane’s study and career path

    • Bachelor of Engineering, Soochow University
    • Master in Speech Signal Processing, Soochow University  
    • Project engineer, Curative Medical Technology
    • PhD in AI, Auckland University of Technology
    • Full stack engineer, Ambit 
    • AI/Machine learning engineer, Ambit

    This profile first appeared in Careers with STEM: Technology 2023.

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    Gemma Chilton

    Author: Gemma Chilton

    Gemma is an author and editor and past Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.


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