The skills needed for artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is flavour of the month at the moment and the world is full of predictions about how it is going to revolutionise our lives. But alongside this is a shortage of people with the skills needed to make AI work.

So just what is needed for working with AI? Who are the people on the front line of this digital revolution? AI isn’t about just one set of skills, in fact, it needs a combination of knowledge, ensuring that people with the right attributes are in high demand.

Machine learning

At the heart of AI is machine learning, an understanding of this is fundamental to a career in the field. Mathematical knowledge is important too, the best AI candidates will have a solid grasp of facts such as statistical probability and algebra, to allow them to develop or adapt algorithms.

Programming skills are important too, but while older languages like C++ and Java are employed in this field, the big demand is for specialist skills including Python and Prolog. Increasingly there is also demand for skills in platforms such as TensorFlow that offer AI capability.

Experience in search technology is needed too, as are skills in data handling – particularly unstructured data and ‘big data’ as these are areas where AI is increasingly being applied. There’s also a need for expertise in fields that aren’t always directly programming related. For example, natural language processing or text analytics.

Of course, AI doesn’t stand on its own. It needs to be integrated into other enterprise systems, this means a need for skills related to the platforms and APIs needed to tie AI into other applications. Security is important too, not only to protect AI systems but also because security systems themselves are increasingly turning to AI in order to provide improved detection of malware and cyber attacks.

Beyond the technical

In addition to technical skills, working in AI also needs abilities in areas including decision making, deductive logic, and understanding concepts. The ideal candidate will also have strong team working skills and be able to build effective business relationships. They need to be able to integrate their work with parts of the project created by other teams too.

Because AI is a relatively new field, the skills it requires often don’t chime with the traditional teaching of STEM and IT subjects. In the past, the focus has been on the nuts and bolts of coding, but with AI there needs to be more emphasis on the creative side of the activity. The process of building AI applications can be an exciting one and education and training needs to reflect that.

At project manager level, the ability to be able to assess performance and evaluate the success of projects is important too. Plus of course, skills in performance evaluation and testing are essential before projects are signed off.

It should be obvious from the above that AI encompasses a whole range of skills and that its practitioners can come from a variety of different backgrounds.

  • Tom Salvat, CEO, CONCURED
    "As a fast-growing start up, we need great people with a tough set of skills to find. They need to be hungry, experienced and fit the culture of a business that is always adapting and growing. Finding these people using Linkedin and other job boards is tough, time-consuming and rarely bears fruit. Ross has always been able to uncover gems for us, and we are benefiting greatly from his skills at CONCURED. Ross has a rare ability to really understand the business, the culture and the people that will nail the role. I couldn't recommend him highly enough, and he is the only recruiter we deal with"      
    - Tom Salvat, CEO, CONCURED
    Tom Salvat, CEO, CONCURED
  • Tariq Mahmood, Enterprise Sales, Concured AI Content Marketing
    I am writing to express my gratitude to Ross Clifford & Associates who helped me successfully secure the role of Enterprise Sales Executive at Concured. Ross was extremely professional and understood the specifics of the job I required. I especially appreciated his fast response, transparent communication, and coordination in a timely and efficient manner.
    - Tariq Mahmood, Enterprise Sales, Concured AI Content Marketing
    Tariq Mahmood, Enterprise Sales, Concured AI Content Marketing
  • Jessica Cole, Editor – Redwood London.
    Ross is one of the friendliest recruiters I've dealt with. He was always attentive, quick to respond and ready to help with any questions I had. He's very professional, and not at all superficial like so many other recruiters out there. I would highly recommend him.
    - Jessica Cole, Editor – Redwood London.
    Jessica Cole, Editor – Redwood London.
  • Gareth Lofthouse, Founding Partner, Longitude.
    “We look for commercial people with a rare blend of talents. They need to be able to advise our blue-chip clients on thought leadership strategy. They need to be highly strategic and purposeful in uncovering opportunity. And they need the hunger it takes to thrive in a rapidly evolving business. Ross was quick to understand our need, he only delivered high-quality people for interview, and he succeeded in getting us a winning candidate incredibly fast.”  
    - Gareth Lofthouse, Founding Partner, Longitude.
    Gareth Lofthouse, Founding Partner, Longitude.
  • Johnny Meredith, Senior New Business Manager, The Bio Agency.
    I can't rate or recommend Ross highly enough. He brings a thoughtful, personal approach to the process, carefully matching opportunities with candidates, through a good understanding of their priorities and skills. Throughout, he keeps candidates up to date in an open, honest way. A genuine pleasure to work with.
    - Johnny Meredith, Senior New Business Manager, The Bio Agency.
    Johnny Meredith, Senior New Business Manager, The Bio Agency.
  • Karen Troman, Office Manager & HR Co-ordinator, VoucherCodes.co.uk part of RetailMeNot
    Ross is the best recruitment agent I have worked with, he stayed in contact, kept me informed and was with me every step of the process. He also checked in with me during my first couple of weeks in my new role to make sure I was settling in. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him.
    - Karen Troman, Office Manager & HR Co-ordinator, VoucherCodes.co.uk part of RetailMeNot
    Karen Troman, Office Manager & HR Co-ordinator, VoucherCodes.co.uk part of RetailMeNot
  • Neil Kettleborough, CRO & Co Founder, Chalk Social
    I have worked with Ross over 4 years now and he has always delivered a really high standard of candidate both at senior and junior level. His online knowledge is second to none and all the candidates he has put forward over the years have only good things to say about Ross and his work ethic.
    - Neil Kettleborough, CRO & Co Founder, Chalk Social
    Neil Kettleborough, CRO & Co Founder, Chalk Social
  • Helen Rosemier, Commercial Director, Professional & Financial Services Practice, Longitude
    Ross is a fantastic recruitment consultant -  extremely professional, meticulous, patient and supportive. Throughout the process, I felt he represented me really well and genuinely cared about my career and finding the right role. Thanks to Ross I am now in a role I love, working with a brilliant team. Very highly recommended!
    - Helen Rosemier, Commercial Director, Professional & Financial Services Practice, Longitude
    Helen Rosemier, Commercial Director, Professional & Financial Services Practice, Longitude

© Ross Clifford Associates. Website by Outlines Design.