Data and AI Skills to Witness Rise in Demand After COVID-19

by June 8, 2020

Data and AI skills

The uncertainties induced by COVID-19 have created great havoc across different industries. Across the technology sector, the positive impacts are slightly more than negative ones. The pandemic has provided a stage for new-age technologies like data-driven technologies and Artificial Intelligence to prove their value. Owing to the same reason and rising adoption of AI across various industries, we are most likely to see an upsurge in the demands of AI skills.

According to World Economic Forum, “While it was a microscopic invader rather than the rise of the robots that led to the current collapse of the labor market, it has become clear that the fallout of the pandemic will accelerate digitization and automation across a range of industries and sectors. This calls for new investments and mechanisms for upskilling and reskilling, for both deeply human skills as well as digital skills.”

In fact, the COVID crisis also exposed some yawning gaps in AI capabilities. The sudden shift in consumer and business demand brought on by the crisis threw many AI systems out of whack, MIT Technology Review reports. Some observers feel “automation is in a tailspin,” while “others say they are keeping a cautious eye on automated systems that are just about holding up, stepping in with a manual correction when needed.”

Earlier this year, WEF reported that AI and related digital technologies are poised to generate large numbers of jobs and related opportunities. The WEF authors say both “digital” and “human” skills will be critical to organizations in the months and years to come. The WEF projected demand will increase this year by 16% in data and AI, along with 12% for engineering and cloud computing skills.

The demand for AI skills varies by specialty. “While the role AI intelligence specialist is the fastest-growing new economy role, the absolute number of opportunities for this profession is relatively low,” the WEF analysts point out. “On the other hand, data scientist positions have slower annual growth rates but form the third-largest opportunity among the set of growing professions.”

The top AI-related skills noted in the WEF report will be artificial intelligence specialists, data scientists, data engineers, big data developers, and data analysts.

“AI is a rocket ship that is taking off,” relates Satya Mallick, founder of Big Vision LLC, in a recent career overview at the BuiltIn career site. “Even entry-level jobs are insanely lucrative, paying two times or more compared to regular programming jobs. The reason is a huge demand for AI talent and not enough people with the right expertise.”

While Malick cautions that soaring salary levels may not be sustainable, he adds that “people who get on this rocket ship in the next five years or so will have amazing careers financially as well as in terms of the quality of work.” Understanding the human side of AI is just as important as the technology side. “Understanding that the tech is the easiest part of AI,” says Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics. “The data and the results are both more critical. And those are both driven by the organization.”