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The most in-demand AI job of 2023 can pay over $200,000 and offers remote opportunities


Nearly one year since ChatGPT was introduced to the world, the excitement surrounding generative artificial intelligence has hardly waned — especially in the job market. 

Searches for generative AI jobs on Indeed have increased almost 4,000% in the last year, and openings for generative AI jobs are up 306% over the same period. 

While the number of AI job postings on ZipRecruiter has fallen from the highs it saw in 2022, the sheer volume of available AI jobs on the platform is still "much, much greater" now than it was before the pandemic, says ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak.

The most sought-after AI job companies are hiring for isn't in engineering, as you might expect. Data scientist is the hottest AI job on the market right now.

In the last six months, it was the most-advertised AI job on Indeed and the second most-posted on ZipRecruiter, according to data exclusively shared with CNBC Make It.

The growing demand for AI data scientists 

While data scientists have been working with AI for years, demand for these professionals has surged in recent months as more companies roll out AI-related products to make their workplace more efficient or improve customers' experience, says Trey Causey, head of responsible AI at Indeed. 

Data scientists play a critical role in achieving this business goal, he adds, by collecting, analyzing and interpreting the huge quantities of data from newer AI models to help companies make smart business decisions.

The hiring landscape for data scientists specializing in AI has shifted beyond tech to include financial services, aerospace, media and other industries, all of which are stretching their hiring budgets to get these professionals on staff or creating new roles for them, ZipRecruiter and Indeed report.

"In 2021 and 2022, a lot of the hiring that took place for AI data scientist roles was initially for temporary contract or freelance roles as companies were still testing the waters and deciding if they could monetize this technology," Pollak explains. "Now, enough time has passed that companies can see the benefits of AI and are making longer-term investments and building out their AI teams."

How to become an AI data scientist

Data scientists typically need at least a bachelor's degree in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or a related subject to start working in the field.

But even more important than your education are your skills, says Causey. 

"Data scientists need to be strong across a number of technical and non-technical skills to be successful: Statistical analysis, applied mathematics, having a solid foundation of computer science, exceptional communication and project management skills," he explains.

Continuous skill acquisition is a "must" for data scientists working with AI technology, Causey explains, so job seekers "should demonstrate how their skills have evolved with the changing landscape of the industry."

Still, many data scientist hopefuls make the mistake of underrating their non-technical skills on their resumes, Causey adds, simply "listing out the methods and algorithms they know" and providing little information about the depth of application of their knowledge and other soft skills.

Six-figure prospects and the freedom to work from home

Data scientists working in AI can expect to earn at least $100,000 with less than a year of experience, according to data from Indeed. ZipRecruiter pegs the average salary for an entry-level AI data scientist at $122,738. That average steadily climbs to roughly $150,000 with 3 to 5 years of experience working in the field, both Indeed and ZipRecruiter report. Many senior AI data scientist roles offer salaries well over $200,000. A job ad for a senior staff AI scientist at AI start-up Uniphore , for example, lists a salary range of $151,200-$207,907, while an ad for a senior AI scientist at GE HealthCare comes with a base salary of $174,800-$296,400.

There are also dozens of remote opportunities for AI data scientists, Pollak points out, and because it's an in-demand, highly specialized role, it might be easier to negotiate a flexible work arrangement.

Ultimately, to land one of these coveted data scientist positions, she adds, "You need to show employers that you're intelligent, savvy, adaptive and excited to work with machine learning and tons of statistics."

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Job postings mentioning AI have more than doubled in two years, LinkedIn data shows

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