1. AI is widely regarded as one of the hottest jobs of the moment.  

From academic strengths to personal interests, many factors come into play when it comes to choosing a career path. Job security is also a consideration, and AI shines in this respect. The field is a specialized branch of computer science that involves the creation of intelligent machines that function similarly to humans. It includes areas such as speech recognition, planning, logic, machine learning, and problem-solving. 

In declaring AI specialists to be 2020’s ‘top emerging job’, LinkedIn argues, “Many jobs that have risen up as a result of AI in fields like cybersecurity and data science and because it’s so pervasive many roles may demand more knowledge of AI than you may think. For example, real estate and business development roles.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Machine learning engineers also topped Indeed’s roundup of the best jobs of 2019 thanks to a 344 percent growth in the number of job postings between 2015 and 2018. Employers with AI expertise are also well compensated for their talents with an average base salary in excess of $146,000. Speaking of AI expertise, it’s important to note that most machine learning engineers have a minimum of a master’s degree. 


2. The US is a global AI leader

While AI is a global phenomenon, some countries outpace others when it comes to AI research, knowledge, and adoption. If you are planning on studying AI, it makes sense to study in one of these preeminent destinations. The United States is a perennial pick on rankings of countries leading in AI thanks to its booming tech culture and significant venture capital funding for AI. The US is also home to thousands of AI companies making it a frontrunner among AI superpowers. 

And while China has been trying to push ahead in AI, the US has maintained its dominance, according to a recent “Center for Data Innovation” report. “[The US] has the most AI start-ups, with its AI start-up ecosystem having received the most private equity and venture capital funding," say the authors of the CDI report. "It leads in the development of both traditional semiconductors and the computer chips that power AI systems; while it produces fewer AI scholarly papers than the EU or China, it produces the highest-quality papers on average,” US News & World Report says of the findings. 

Mark V. Albert, who heads up the Biomedical AI Lab at the University of North Texas, says, “Many advances in artificial intelligence take place and are shared in conferences and collaborations in the United States. Additionally, the dynamic business environment for AI startups and AI industry research teams has led to the majority of global public funding of AI startups to be in the US.” 

3. The job market for AI professionals is booming in the US

Despite its strengths in AI, the US is also suffering from an AI skills gap, making it even more desirable for prospective employees. Deloitte's “State of AI in the Enterprise” survey asserts, “As more companies weave AI into their operations and products, they increasingly need the right talent to support large-scale initiatives. But as the number of AI applications increases, the talent pool may feel somewhat fixed. Clearly, US organizations feel this pressure, as 68 percent perceive the talent gap as moderate-to-extreme.”

In-demand jobs for people with AI skills are many across a diverse range of positions, including software engineer, machine learning engineer, data scientist, deep learning engineer, AI researcher, intelligent specialist, AI data analyst, and more.  

4. The US is home to leading AI degree programs

One of the reasons people with AI skills are so in demand is that AI is a challenging field. The minimum degree usually required is a bachelor’s degree, while advanced degrees are not only preferable, but also qualify candidates for better jobs and higher pay. One program worth serious consideration is the new Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence at the University of North Texas College of Engineering

One of the few standalone MS programs in AI in the US -- and Texas’s only one -- UNT’s degree embraces an interdisciplinary approach which allows students from diverse backgrounds to combine their existing skills and experience with new AI knowledge. Potential areas of specialization for graduate students in the program -- who may have degrees in engineering, computer science, math, and other science-related fields -- include machine learning, biomedical engineering, and autonomous systems. 

Artificial intelligence

Thanks to a carefully cultivated combination of bridge course and core courses, graduates will leave the program with marketable AI skills and experience in everything from programming and data analysis to problem-solving and communication with the ability to create and adapt models for challenging AI problems such as object detection, speech recognition, and natural language processing.

Yan Huang, senior associate dean and director of graduate studies for the College of Engineering, says, “We’re very excited to launch this degree. The new degree will help to educate an AI-ready workforce. Artificial Intelligence is a game-changing technology for endless domains. We really hope that students looking for a rewarding career in engineering will see that AI could be a great fit for them. [...] We intentionally designed this program to be interdisciplinary, allowing students to develop a deep knowledge in several different skillsets”

Texas is an especially beneficial location for students thinking of enrolling in an AI program in the US. Albert, UNT assistant professor of computer science and engineering, adds, “Texas is the second-largest state in the US in population, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is the fourth-largest in the US and is growing rapidly. This environment provides UNT students with extensive opportunities both now and in the future for AI-related collaborations and employment.” 

Speaking of opportunities for students, why take our word for it about UNT’s many advantages when you can hear it from the graduate students themselves?

Albert concludes, “Jobs that once only a human could do are being automated or augmented through these AI systems, and a degree in AI is one way to be on top of the change coming to the 21st-century economy.” 

AI is one of our era’s most exciting, dynamic fields -- and the M.S. in Artificial Intelligence at UNT’s College of Engineering is an ideal avenue for positioning yourself for success in this area.

Article written in association with the University of North Texas.