Published on August 7th, 2018

By year’s end, the artificial intelligence and automation industry will be worth $1.2 trillion, a staggering increase of 70% over 2017. With far-reaching implications that extend beyond manufacturing environments and into banking, sales, customer relationship management, big data, healthcare, and more, AI’s latest innovations are nothing short of revolutionary. Let’s explore the growing AI market and how it affects technology hiring in 2018.

AI Facts and Figures

While AI is not a new concept, the AI and automation market is reaching a critical adoption point due to a perfect storm of investment, interest, and technological advancement. In addition to robotic process automation, customer service chatbots, and “smart” consumer products, AI investment is heavily driven by businesses looking to take their data analytics to the next level. Artificial intelligence can make better sense of data more quickly, providing leaders with business insights before they even ask for them. This pushes demand for Chief Data Officers to an all-time high, and as they vouch for more AI-based technology, the cycle continues.

Within the flurry of AI activity in 2018, there are a number of key facts and figures shaping the industry:

  • China is advancing heavily, on pace to create a $1 trillion national AI industry within 12 years. That alone would double today’s current global level.
  • Ford pledged to spend $4 billion on autonomous vehicle technology in the next five years.
  • Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are investing heavily while racing to bring AI and machine-learning platforms to developers.
  • AI holds the power to transform DevOps and drive digital transformation for organizations.

The Great Skills Shift

Many headlines point to new AI-based technology as making certain long-standing jobs obsolete. While some skills are indeed dropping in demand, there is a great skills shift underway. If roles are replaced by automation, that means technologists are needed to program, maintain, and oversee those operations and new technologies. Of course, this increases demand for technologists skilled in AI as businesses scramble to capitalize during the window of early adoption.

The skills shift may also end up becoming a geographic one. Consider if Chinese companies continue on their current trajectory and become worldwide leaders of AI. While many great technologists in India or Europe currently choose to seek opportunities in the U.S., a Chinese boom in AI may substantially change this dynamic. Likewise, in a day and age when many professionals can fulfill their jobs remotely, it’s not hard to image American-based technologists taking jobs with Chinese firms offering access to cutting-edge software and larger paychecks.

How All IT Hiring Is Impacted

Like any huge push in one specific niche, the proliferation of AI affects technology hiring as a whole. Imagine seeking a skilled app developer for an open role. Naturally, it won’t be easy because the current number of qualified technologists is heavily outweighed by the number of open app developer roles. While that makes it an attractive niche for a technologist, learning to develop AI programs instead of apps can be an alternative with even less competition and higher paychecks.

In other words, technologists versed in other skills will look to move into AI roles, causing deeper shortages in app development, cloud security, and the like. Some currently existing roles will of course adapt to include AI responsibilities, but many new AI-specific roles will be created, and that’s a blessing and a curse for hiring managers.

Exploring the Growing AI and Automation Market

Advances in artificial intelligence and automation make the technology industry one of the most exciting. Just as with other breakthroughs in cloud, IoT, and mobile technologies, AI is disrupting the industry and changing how to hire in this new climate. AI is coming and requires a strong foundation to work right. Are you ready for it?

For more insight on trends affecting IT hiring and employment, download the complimentary Denver Technology Salary Guide today.

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Written: August 2018