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PhD Degree in Machine Learning: Careers & Salary

Machine learning is a controversial but explosive field with new opportunities and fantastic job growth. A PhD in machine learning can establish graduates in a variety of highly-sought after careers.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Machine Learning?

Machine Learning Engineer

Massive tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon recognize that machine learning algorithms are the building blocks of the future. A Ph.D. in machine learning provides you with experience and expertise to conduct original research and thus establishes you as an expert in the field. Holding a Ph.D. may help you secure a job and advance to a senior position, wherein you will work designing, building and applying models to teach machines how to use data more efficiently.

Data Scientist

Data scientists make sense of huge amounts of data by collecting, analyzing and using data to solve real-world problems. Expertise in machine learning allows data scientists to set up algorithms and automate the analysis process. Data science is just one of many technology fields wherein machine learning skills can lead to a raise in salary. According to payscale.com, scientists with a Ph.D. in machine learning make a higher average salary than those with no machine learning experience.

Software Engineer

Software engineers design and develop all sorts of computer programs, from video games to computer operating systems to phone applications. Through their studies in a machine learning Ph.D. program, candidates develop advanced programming skills. Because of the growing interest in how machine learning can be applied in software, this unique background sets graduates apart from the average computer scientist.

Python Programmer

Python is a high-level programming language that machine learning experts use to apply algorithms and streamline data analysis. Students who pursue a Ph.D. in machine learning learn, work with, and master using the Python language. Python skills are already highly-valued in the tech community, but when paired with expertise in machine learning make job-seekers even more attractive to employers.

Machine Learning Scientist

Rather than build infrastructure to use data in company or client projects, scientists explore the possibilities, limitations, and ethics of machine learning technology. Ph.D. graduates in machine learning are uniquely qualified to research and explore how human society can apply machine learning technology in new ways. Some scientists work for government bureaus and nonprofit research laboratories (helping to keep up with marketplace innovations and develop policy and laws for these new technologies) while others work for companies like Google and Amazon (exploring how machine learning innovations can advance profits).

Professor of Machine learning

Machine learning professors work in universities conducting research and training the next generation of world-changing machine learning experts. A Ph.D. is a minimum requirement to enter a tenure track teaching position at most universities. If you are more interested in research and teaching than applying your skills in the high-pressure environment of a massive corporation, a Ph.D. is the best way to kick-start your research career.

Careers with a Master's in Statistics Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-28)**
Machine Learning Engineer $112,431 16% (computer and information research scientists)
Data Scientist (with Machine Learning Skills) $99,328 16% (computer and information research scientists)
Machine Learning Software Engineer $110,000 21%
Python Programmer (with machine learning skills) $112,085 -7% (computer programmer)
Machine Learning Scientist $127,008 (source: www.glassdoor.com ) 16% (computer and information research scientists)
Professor of Machine Learning $78,470 11% (post-secondary teachers)

Sources: **www.bls.gov, * www.payscale.com

Getting into a Ph.D. in Machine Learning

The good news is that Ph.D. programs in machine learning are often fully-funded, meaning candidates receive a stipend that covers tuition, health care, and living expenses. However, machine learning Ph.D. programs are in high demand and students must work hard to prepare a competitive application. There is no specific bachelor's or master's degree requirement, but applicants often have background expertise in computer science, cognitive science, biostatistics, linear algebra, applied math, and statistics. Many programs require GRE test scores and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. To stand out students should include letters of recommendation and display previous experience and accomplishments in scientific research.

Ph.D. graduates in machine learning have the highly-desired ability to teach computers how to improve without being programmed, and for better or for worse, this skill-set allows graduates to begin engineering the future of our world. Ph.D. holders can find well-compensated jobs in massive tech companies, businesses, government agencies, universities, and nonprofit laboratories.