MSOE Machine Learning Blog
Machine Learning Job-Hunting Tips

Machine Learning Job-Hunting Tips

Young man hand working on a laptop

Machine learning got its start as a research project at Dartmouth in 1956 and received further interest from the military shortly thereafter.1 It’s already a highly complex industry requiring in-depth technical knowledge, but machine learning is still in its earlier stages of development. Predictive analytics, deep learning, natural language processing and computer vision are just a few applications of this cutting-edge industry. Yet even for all its potential, the pathway toward a machine learning career isn’t always so clear. Such technical knowledge requires rigorous training, and interviews and skills tests weed out those who lack the competencies needed to thrive in the industry.

In this post, we’ll give you a brief overview of the job outlook, salary expectations and education requirements for the machine learning field, as well as some steps you can take to get started with the job-hunting process.

Machine Learning Job Outlook

The machine learning job outlook is highly promising. Careers involving machine learning consistently rank among the most satisfying positions of any technical field–and also some of the most lucrative. Whether it’s machine learning engineers (MLEs), data scientists or other professionals who require the use of machine learning concepts, machine learning careers regularly score well above average in the most important job satisfaction metrics. Among these are:2

  • Work-life balance (4.1 out of 5.0)
  • Compensation and benefits (3.8 out of 5.0)
  • Career opportunities (4.0 out of 5.0)

There are several reasons that machine learning careers are so rewarding. First, machine learning is a highly technical field that requires a specific skill set. The result is plenty of open positions for those entering the industry to choose from, which in turn leads to higher compensation and greater flexibility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase by 23% through 2032—well above the national average of 3%.3

The nature of the work is also tilted toward everyday applications, so those involved in machine learning enjoy solving real-world problems in a cutting-edge field.

Machine Learning Salary

The tech sector boasts some of the highest salaries of any industry, and machine learning careers are no exception. The annual base salary for a machine learning engineer ranges between $106,000 and $150,000. Professionals in this area have an opportunity to earn an additional $20,000 to $37,000 per year through bonuses and profit sharing.4

Machine Learning Skills

Machine learning is a highly technical field that requires knowledge of a diverse set of topics. Some machine learning skills that you’ll need to be proficient in include:5

  • Mathematics: Linear algebra, probability, statistics and multivariable calculus are essential to machine learning
  • Programming languages: Python is the most common programming language for machine learning, but Java, C++, R and MATLAB are beneficial as well
  • Computer science/computer engineering: A deep knowledge of the inner workings of computers and software will help you write the algorithms that power machine learning
  • Machine learning methods: Data modeling, clustering algorithms, principal component analysis, neural networks and support vector machines are a few concepts you need to master, so highlight these on your resume6
  • Machine learning tools: You’ll likely use Hadoop, Scikit-Learn and PyTorch every day, so be sure to learn their ins and outs

They’re often overlooked within the industry, but soft skills are also essential for machine learning careers. As a machine learning engineer, you’ll be working on plenty of teams, sometimes with non-technical personnel. That means leadership, teamwork and both written and verbal communication are some of the most important skills you can have in the machine learning field. And because you’ll be working on real-world scenarios that impact how companies do business, a solid grasp of business principles can help as well.

Soft skills to master include, but are not limited to:

  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Decision-making
  • Continuous learning mindset
  • Adaptability

Machine Learning Education

The amount of technical material that you must master to attain a machine learning career requires some form of in-depth training. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to enter the field without a formal degree, as the average machine learning professional has at least a master’s degree, even for an entry-level position. Sometimes a doctorate is required.

Some universities may not offer a specific program for machine learning, so students at the undergraduate level would do best to obtain their degree in a discipline that’s as close to machine learning as possible. That makes a degree in computer science, computer engineering, mathematics or statistics an ideal place to start for a machine learning education. Once they move up to the graduate level, students may specialize in a subdiscipline, like data science, to complete more relevant coursework and participate in projects pertaining to machine learning.7

Machine Learning Careers: How to Stand Out in Your Job Search

After you’ve gained all the skills you need to become a machine learning engineer, you’ll need to take some proactive steps to get your foot in the door. Try doing the following to make your job hunt a success:8

  • Assemble a portfolio showcasing code you’ve written and past projects you've completed with an emphasis on the results
  • Participate in coding programs that demonstrate your expertise and link up with others in the field
  • Prepare a CV/resume and cover letter to succinctly demonstrate your experience and skills
  • Join professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed to connect with colleagues and potential employers
  • Study for interviews with test questions so you won’t be caught off guard. It’s a good idea to search the internet for common machine learning interview questions, but you can be sure you’ll be asked for examples of times at work that demonstrate your different skillsets and abilities. Be sure to brainstorm times you overcame a workplace challenge to meet a deadline, or a time you worked with a difficult client or coworker and how you worked through that challenge, for example. The more specific you can be to demonstrate your positive skills, the better
  • Prepare to write out your code by hand or on a whiteboard so that interviewers will be able to see your coding skills in real time

Another important step for those seeking a machine learning career is to obtain certifications that demonstrate expertise in the field. Organizations such as the Data Science Association and the Association of Data Scientists offer training and other resources, so membership with such an organization can further prove your value to a potential employer.9, 10

Improve Your Job Search Outlook With a Machine Learning Education From MSOE

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 below for more information, or get started on your application.

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
September 1
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.