What Job Skills Will Be In Demand for the AI Era?

April 2nd, 2018 by ifi-admin

A group of tech employees filling trainer, explainer, and sustainer roles in the AI-Era workplace
We may not be working alongside robotic colleagues anytime soon, but as we noted earlier in our series of posts about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), AI is poised to disrupt the labor market dramatically in the next decade. While many fear the job losses that organizations such as Forrester Research or OECD are predicting, others are examining the ways in which today’s technology professionals will need to transfer or add to their skills.

In a recent article, ZDNet explored the work of authors Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson, who examined emerging positions in 1500 organizations worldwide that they catalogued in their latest book, Human + Machine. They’ve identified three broad new career categories caused by the rise of AI that they refer to as “trainers, explainers, and sustainers.”

  • Trainers
    AI systems require extensive training, data cleaning, data discovery, HR work design and error correction. Information modelers will help train the behavior of machines by using expert employees as models.
  • Explainers
    In this category, the authors envision roles that bridge the gap between technologists and business leaders. Transparency specialists will communicate why a particular AI algorithm acts as a black box, or strategists will be tasked with making judgment calls about which AI technologies should be specified for a particular application.
  • Sustainers
    Sustainers will set limits or override decisions based on profitability or legal/ethical compliance. They will be in charge of applying critical thought to AI performance and designing interfaces for AI-amplified workforces. They will also serve as watchdogs and ombudsmen for human values.

“What’s exciting about this new era in the labor market is the opportunity for expertly skilled technologists to train for cross-functional roles,” says Kay Durkin, founder of Phoenix Partners. “In the early days of computing, IT departments were segregated from the decision-making and leadership roles within a business. Increasingly, technologists are now at the forefront, leading the way to the future.”

Most of these in-demand jobs require similar background skills, including strength in mathematics and machine learning. Many roles will require a Computer Science degree or programming skills. Mastery in programming languages such as Python, Java, C/C++, and past experience in artificial intelligence, machine learning or natural language processing are all top skills employers are looking for in applicants.

According to Forrester Research Analyst, Brandon Purcell, we will continue to see job growth in anything related to AI for the next five to 10 years, which is one of the factors that will mitigate the job losses due to AI-led automation.

Are you looking to grow into a leadership role in the AI era? Talk to us at Phoenix Partners for your next career move.

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