MSOE Machine Learning Blog
Machine Learning Careers and Industry Growth

Machine Learning Careers and Industry Growth

Machine Learning Specialist Crossing Arms in Room Full of Computer Displays with Technological Data

Recent years have highlighted some uncertainty about the direction and stability of the tech industry. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted operations but ultimately caused a strong rise in the market value of big tech companies.1 However, those same companies have drawn attention for substantial layoffs in the first half of 2023,2 due in part to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes in response to inflation.3

Nevertheless, the current predictions for the industry as a whole are strong,4 and machine learning careers in particular are expected to see significant growth. After all, AI chatbots are just the tip of the machine learning iceberg. As companies both in and outside big tech keep investing in technology to stay competitive, machine learning will continue to stretch into new corners of every industry.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the future of machine learning careers, including salaries, the skills you’ll need to land a job and how you can start off on the right foot with a top-tier machine learning education.

Machine Learning Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that data scientist and computer and information research scientist careers will grow by 36% and 21%, respectively, from 2021 to 2031.5,6 These figures represent much faster growth than the average of 5.3% across growing occupations7 and include positions such as natural language processing engineers and machine learning engineers.

Three industries (of many) that are increasingly using machine learning are healthcare, information security, and agriculture.


Most machine learning positions in the medical sector are in research, and the applications in the works are diverse. As just two examples, many research efforts in the last few years have focused on predicting pandemic patterns8 and training models to detect anomalies in medical images to improve diagnostic speed and accuracy.9

Importantly, a wide variety of recent studies have called for additional research on various forms of AI and machine learning in healthcare,10 highlighting the pressing need for more machine learning expertise in the field of medicine.

Information and Cyber Security

Cyber threats are always evolving. Although machine learning helps to reduce the person-hours needed to track and keep up with those threats, the growth of infosec careers is expected to keep pace with that of data science careers.11 This is likely due to ongoing network and infrastructure developments along with the evolution of cyber attacks, all of which impact how machine learning algorithms need to approach pattern recognition.


Climate change and geopolitics, among several other factors, have become significant threats to national and global food security. The agricultural sector has been forced to learn new ways to adapt to such exceptional circumstances, including extreme weather events and supply chain interruptions.

Machine learning careers in agriculture include both research and practical data science/engineering positions. In terms of specific applications, machine learning has been used in precision agriculture to improve yields and plant health13 and can aid in the early detection of plant pests and diseases.14 Because agriculture is so dependent on external factors, the job outlook in this field is likely to follow the upward trends in global disruptions, climatic and otherwise.

Machine Learning Salaries

As with most careers, machine learning salaries vary depending on the industry, your location and experience, and other variables. If you have an idea of how and where you want to work with machine learning, you can tailor a salary search to that information for a more specific range. In the meantime, here are some approximate average, base pay machine learning salaries you can expect from various positions, based on sources such as Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter:

  • Machine learning engineer: $130,000/year15
  • Natural language processing engineer: $133,000/year16
  • Cybersecurity analyst: $128,870/year17
  • Machine learning researcher: $133,000/year18
  • Data scientist: $117,554/year19

Essential Machine Learning Skills

As with salaries, the skills you’ll need for your machine learning career will vary. However, there are some core skills you need to have regardless of your chosen path.


You’ll need to be proficient in certain programming languages to get into machine learning. Python is the most commonly used, but you might also find C/C++, Java, and R to be helpful.20 Throughout your machine learning education, you’ll learn how to use different tools, such as Scikit-Learn and TensorFlow, and how to select the right tool for the job.21

You’ll also need to know database systems for data management and version control.


Much of machine learning is based on complex mathematical models. You’ll need to have a firm understanding of how the algorithms work, so you should be familiar with concepts such as conditional probability and Bayes’ theorem along with linear algebra and multivariable calculus.22

Specific Machine Learning Concepts

To land a machine learning job, you’ll have to prove that you understand the different types of algorithms, such as decision tree, linear and logistic regression, k-nearest neighbors, and random forest models. Knowledge of concepts such as overfitting and underfitting and supervised vs. semi-supervised vs. unsupervised learning will also be required.

Get Your Machine Learning Education at MSOE

It’s not impossible to get a machine learning job with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and relevant experience. However, many machine learning careers require candidates to have a master’s degree. Furthermore, graduate studies will better prepare you for a machine learning career in research or industry by allowing you to dive deeper into important machine learning concepts and how they’re applied in practice. Undergraduate education tends to just scratch the surface.

Milwaukee School of Engineering’s online Master’s in Machine Learning will give you all the skills and knowledge you need to succeed on your machine learning journey. Whether you start with the online Graduate Certificate in Machine Learning or jump right into the online Master of Science in Machine Learning, MSOE’s online programs will give you the essential machine learning skills that you need to succeed in this exciting field. Connect theory to application with a curriculum that focuses on hands-on learning.

Get started today. Complete the form for more information, or get started on your application.

  1. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from techmonitor.ai/technology/cloud/why-big-tech-stocks-boomed-covid-19
  2. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from statista.com/chart/29175/largest-tech-layoffs-since-2020/
  3. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from techtarget.com/whatis/feature/Tech-sector-layoffs-explained-What-you-need-to-know
  4. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/technology-industry-outlook.html
  5. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm
  6. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/math/data-scientists.htm
  7. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from bls.gov/emp/tables/occupations-most-job-growth.htm
  8. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2019&q=machine+learning+epidemic+prediction&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5
  9. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2019&q=machine+learning+medical+image+analysis&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5
  10. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666603022000069
  11. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
  12. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2022/10/17/what-you-need-to-know-about-food-security-and-climate-change
  13. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11831-021-09588-5
  14. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from glassdoor.com/Salaries/machine-learning-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm
  15. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from glassdoor.com/Salaries/nlp-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,12.htm
  16. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/NLP-Engineer-Salary
  17. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Cyber-Security-Salary
  18. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from glassdoor.com/Salaries/machine-learning-researcher-salary-SRCH_KO0,27.htm
  19. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from glassdoor.com/Salaries/data-scientist-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm
  20. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from towardsdatascience.com/what-is-the-best-programming-language-for-machine-learning-a745c156d6b7
  21. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from towardsdatascience.com/essential-skills-for-machine-learning-engineers-720938c6e12b
  22. Retrieved on July 4, 2023, from pub.towardsai.net/4-math-skills-for-machine-learning-12bfbc959c92

Discover Your Next Step

This will only take a moment.

By clicking "Get Program Brochure" and submitting this form, I agree to receive text messages, emails and other communication regarding educational programs and opportunities, and to be contacted by Milwaukee School of Engineering and Everspring, its authorized representative. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. View our privacy policy and disclosures.

MSOE and You: Better Together

Earn your master’s or certificate in machine learning online with MSOE. Complete the form to get a program details sheet for the program of your choosing—Master of Science in Machine Learning or Graduate Certificate in Applied Machine Learning—delivered to your inbox.

Admissions Dates and Deadlines

Priority Deadline
August 1
Fall 2024
Application Deadline
August 12
Fall 2024
Start Date
September 3
Fall 2024

Milwaukee School of Engineering has engaged Everspring, a leading provider of education and technology services, to support select aspects of program delivery.