A google search with keywords, “Machine Learning Jobs” gives over 15 million results. While all of them may not have unique jobs within them, the mere number of search results signifies the importance of machine learning as a field in businesses.
Generally, machine learning focuses on teaching algorithms to evolve as they get exposed to new data, thereby creating artificial intelligence in these algorithms. The programs are trained by its creators (read humans) to detect patterns in data and adjust program actions accordingly. In reality, it is no longer a science fiction that used to exist in our favorite movies like I, Robot; Blade Runner or The Matrix. Today, it has emerged as a powerful science impacting businesses and customer experiences across industries through applications like recommendation engines, voice recognition systems such as Siri and Cortana, Google maps, combating fraud, determining arrival-pick-up times for cab services, recognizing human faces on internet, smart reply functions on Gmail and many more - all applying the principles of machine learning as a foundation.
Earlier, Alphabet CEO(now CEO of Google) Sundar Pichai was quoted saying “Even though we are in the early days of AI, we are already rethinking how to build products around machine learning. It’s a new paradigm compared to mobile-first software, and I’m thrilled how Google is leading the way.” Bill Gates told CNBC that artificial intelligence will make our lives 'more productive and creative.'
And this is true not only for the technology industry but across all industries. Healthcare has seen tremendous potential in leveraging this science to improve outcomes, early predictions and change the way doctors think about providing care. Harpreet Singh Buttar, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan said, “By 2025, AI systems could be involved in everything from population health management to digital avatars capable of answering specific patient queries.”
Retail and e-commerce have seen an incredible adoption of machine learning to enhance customer experience. From building insights based on demographics and shopping patterns, machine learning finds ways into dynamic pricing and recommendations. Alibaba recently tried a machine learning based interface to help to make clothing and accessory suggestions to customers based on the items they are trying on.
Logistics is getting transformed through more accurate and optimized carrier selection, rating, routing, and quality control processes – all based on machine learning. The media industry is also engaging users with relevant ad content, placement, and recommendations, using the innate understanding of user preferences through machine learning.
Clearly, with this profound impact on the ways businesses operate; machine learning is emerging as a skill for tomorrow. A recent study by IBM found that machine learning, big data, and data science skills are the most challenging to hire and if these positions are not filled, they have the potential to disrupt the businesses significantly.
In India, UdacityPropel, a leading job fair that brings the Nanodegree graduates and companies together witnessed huge demand for machine learning candidates. New-age organizations such as Ola Cabs, Hi-tech Robotic Systemz, Engineer.ai, Swiggy, Shuttl, Visteon and many more were the first ones to hire for machine learning skills.
And where do you find potential candidates trained on machine learning? Udacity data on aspirants registering for Machine Learning Nanodegree Programs presents an interesting view of where recruiters can find these potential candidates. Majority of the enrollments for these programs come from candidates based out of Bengaluru (30%) followed by Delhi-NCR (18%), Hyderabad (8%) and Mumbai (7%).
While AI and machine learning ruled 2017, it is surely going to continue in 2018 and a lot more years to come as machines become smarter and augment the human cognitive capabilities beyond imagination. And as for talent leaders, it becomes critical to step out and identify, engage and retain the right talent with these skills capable of disrupting the businesses completely.