Breaking into the AI Job Market

You only have to visit a few popular career websites and you'll see plenty of opportunities exist for people wanting a career in Artificial Intelligence. 

There are hundreds of positions advertised; Machine Learning Engineer, AI Consultant, AI Project Analyst, AI Scientist/Theorist to name a few.

A five minute search of top technology companies "Job Vacancies" online will also reveal dozens more opportunities to work in AI, along with polished film clips from current employees espousing the benefits of working at their company.

But is this really the best way to break into Artificial Intelligence; or any other job for that matter? You're probably thinking "not so much," and you'd be right. Think about the last time you got a job you really liked. Was is from an online application on a company website, or from an internet job board? Probably not. 

Sure, this method does work occasionally. A lot of times you'll apply online for a specific position and wind up getting a call from a recruiter, but in the end you actually end up getting a different position than the one you applied for. And this works pretty well if all you're after is a job.

But referrals are by far the best way to get a job you really want. 

One way to get referrals is to create your own peer group. The easiest way to create this peer group is by interacting with people in the domain you'd like to work in. (Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, etc.) Start with Twitter and move to LinkedIn as your relationships deepen. You might also check MeetUp and see if there are active groups in your area for the domain you're interested in. 

Remember, referrals are the best way to get the job you really want. And the best time to find the job you really want is when you don't need one.

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