by James Petter, Pure Storage
Artificial Intelligence is everywhere. From personalization of movie recommendations on streaming services such as Netflix, to robot-assisted surgery and diagnosis in healthcare, the presence of AI in today’s society is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.
In order for AI to continue making a phenomenal impact across industries, enterprises need to upskill and recruit the right talent, who will be the key to unlocking its true potential.
In reality, recruiting AI talent is easier said than done – and until recently, the global search for AI talent has cast a shadow of job insecurity over a considerable portion of professionals across all departments, including IT. The truth is that thanks to new technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and advanced analytics, there are now more promising career opportunities than ever before – all of which require mastery of storage and data management. In fact, machines and algorithms in the workplace are expected to create 133 million new roles by 2022, according to a 2018 report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Meanwhile, IDC suggests that global data volumes will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. This deluge of data is driving organizations' search for specialists in new technologies, but it it is also providing an unprecedented opportunity for today's IT professionals to learn new skills and specialize in emerging fields. Not only is this surge in data great news for candidates who possess the technical skills to enter newly in-demand roles such as an AI software engineer, AI ethicist or AI architect, but it is also promising for those already in technology roles within innovative companies, who now have the opportunity to upskill.
Data is the most valuable asset a business has, and this will be true for decades to come; the individuals who are able to apply analytics to distill insight from this data are in a great position to future-proof their careers and stay in-demand for many years.
In the UK specifically, there is a growing appetite for a number of roles that need filling with niche talent in order to help fuel the next wave of progress in AI. In fact, demand for data scientists – and other IT professionals with AI and machine learning skills – has soared nine-fold in just four years, according to a new joint report by recruiters Robert Walters and lead generation firm Vacancysoft.
Such roles are only the tip of the iceberg, the labor market disruption caused by AI and emerging technologies is only set to grow. It is highly likely that in five-to-ten years’ time every major tech company will have staff in place with roles we haven’t thought of yet. All the more reason for organizations to start early, and recruit the best AI talent they can today, to lay a foundation for the future.
A consistent aspect of the roles mentioned above will be the ability to effectively train AI systems through machine learning. This requires an advanced knowledge of mathematics and statistics, combined with technological know-how and programming skills. Eventually it may be possible for machines to train themselves after initial programming, however we expect a partnership between humans and machines for the foreseeable future, in a process very similar to that of educating and teaching a real person.
As demand for professionals with AI and data analytics skills continues to mount, enterprises must set themselves apart from others in terms of benefits packages. Competitive salaries, incentives, support and loyalty schemes will be needed to attract and retain such in-demand talent. IT professionals can capitalize on this growing trend by equipping themselves with the latest qualifications and skills needed to stay relevant in the tech industry, and differentiate themselves from their peers as AI takes center stage in the coming decades.
James Petter is VP International at Pure Storage, a developer of all-flash storage hardware and software.