AI is booming – here’s why you need to upskill yourself in the field

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen looks at the invention "Sarat" during a visit of the AI Xperience Center at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) in Brussels, Belgium, on February 18, 2020.

By U2B Staff 

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Should you get a postgraduate degree in artificial intelligence (AI)? According to reports, opportunities are abound – all that’s left is to equip yourself with the right skill set and grab them.

AI is rewiring just about every aspect of life, be it from our personal to professional lives. 

In the realm of work, AI can assist organisations with a variety of things, including in complex decision-making and analytics, to enhance productivity. Closer to home, we see elements of AI at work in our mobile devices that we carry in our pockets to the popularity of home voice assistants that add convenience to our lives.


A PwC report notes that AI could contribute up to US$15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030, adding that it can transform the productivity and GDP potential of the global economy. However, strategic investment in different types of AI technology is needed to make that happen. They add that AI is still at a very early stage of development overall.

“From a macroeconomic point of view, there are therefore opportunities for emerging markets to leapfrog more developed counterparts. And within your business sector, one of today’s start-ups or a business that hasn’t even been founded yet could be the market leader in ten years’ time,” it said.

It’s clear that AI is a formidable force, with a wealth of opportunities waiting to be untapped. 

Shortage of AI professionals means its a ripe time to narrow the skills gap

Now might be a good time to consider pursuing a postgraduate degree in AI.

It might be time to jump on the bandwagon and gain specialist knowledge in the field, because the implications of AI are far-reaching. But reports note that there is still a shortage of professionals in the field. 

The private sector has been poaching talent from university grounds with six-figure salaries, something which universities cannot compete with, reported The Guardian. For instance, Imperial College London Professor of Affective and Behavioural Computing Maja Pantic was quoted saying that “the majority of top AI researchers moved to a handful of companies, meaning their skills and experience were not shared through society”. 

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that recruiters and would-be employers say there’s been a limited pool of AI-trained candidates, slowing hiring and impeding growth in some companies, and delay broader adoption of the technology and see certain markets develop quicker than others.

It’s clear that companies are hungry for talent, but global demand currently exceeds supply.


Professionals and graduates who are also looking for reasons to enhance their skill set in AI will also want to take note that lucrative salary prospects are also a major consideration for those who are eyeing a Masters or PhD in AI. 

Back in 2017, The New York Times reported that typical AI specialists, including both PhDs fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from US$300,000 to US$500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them.

The same Reuters report notes that Glassdoor estimates that average salaries for jobs in the field advertised on company career sites rose 11% between October 2017 and September 2018 to $123,069 annually.

Graduates can find employment in a vast number of areas, including in fields such as finance. Bloomberg notes that job seekers with expertise in AI, machine learning, and data science are among the most in-demand candidates in finance, according to hiring sites Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Hired, and ZipRecruiter.

Across the world, there are various postgraduate courses in the field, with courses varying according to institution. But with the Fourth Industrial Revolution gaining momentum, a postgraduate degree in the field may be an excellent option to help pivot your career to a new direction.