Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Robot, Futuristic, Data Science, Data Analytics, A.I.

Why Get a Master’s Degree in AI?  

Artificial intelligence (AI) is in virtually every headline nowadays. It has begun to filter into every industry, including art, education, social media, business, and beyond. Those in the technology field have known about the usefulness of AI and have been using it to train and build algorithms for years.  

As the emphasis on integrating AI tools into the workforce increases, the topic is becoming unavoidable. It is starting to affect how businesses operate, research is conducted, analytics are reviewed, content is created, and much more. While it might seem scary initially, AI opens a new door for professionals to gain a leg up on the competition and become thought leaders in the industry.  

That said, some universities have recently begun offering degrees that focus solely on AI learning, like the new master’s in AI graduate program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). There is now a huge opportunity for computer, business, and tech professionals alike to expand their knowledge of AI and become valuable assets in the workforce. 

Who Can Get a Master’s in AI? 

Anyone with an undergraduate degree can get a master’s in AI. Since artificial intelligence is relevant to almost all industries, there are lots of opportunities for STEM and non-STEM professionals alike.  

  • Tech enthusiasts and innovators: If you have a passion for technology and innovation, then a master’s in AI might be for you. These programs cater to individuals who find themselves intrigued by the latest advancements in AI, cybersecurity, robotics, machine learning, and data science. These programs allow exploration into AI and push the boundaries of AI technology.  
  • STEM graduates: Students with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) are well-suited to excel in an AI master’s program. A master’s degree in AI offers the opportunity to specialize further in this field and to help you bring the power of AI to your research.  
  • Professionals seeking career advancement: For individuals already working in the tech industry or related fields, pursuing an AI master’s degree can open doors to new career opportunities and advancement. Whether you are a software engineer, data analyst, or IT specialist, acquiring expertise in AI can enhance your skill set and make you more competitive in the job market.  
  • Entrepreneurs and business leaders: As AI continues to reshape industries and drive innovation, entrepreneurs and business leaders recognize the importance of understanding AI technologies. An AI master’s degree equips these individuals with the knowledge and insights needed to leverage AI for business growth, whether through developing AI-powered products and services or implementing AI strategies within organizations.  
  • People looking to change careers: If you are looking to change your field of work, a master’s in AI can provide a new set of skills. AI graduate programs are designed to accommodate those from many different industries and skill sets and will provide you with the necessary background to jump into a new field.  

Software developers discussing programming code and planning how to create innovative softwareWhat Does a Master’s in AI Entail?  

While every AI program is different, many will encompass the following:  

  • Foundational courses. Most programs will begin with several courses aimed at the basic understanding of programming and AI modeling. They are usually an overview of the topics that you will dive into later in your program.  
  • Machine learning. You will likely take classes on machine learning, which is about how AI models process and weigh data. Students learn about various machine learning algorithms, techniques for data preprocessing and feature engineering, model evaluation, and model evaluation and optimization.  
  • Data science. Data is the foundation for all AI models, and thus, you will have several courses in data science. You will learn how to effectively manage information, apply meaningful models to that data, and fine-tune those models to optimize AI performance.  
  • Natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision. NLP can be simplified using a familiar example: ChatGPT. NLP is how AI models respond and execute commands from text. Computer vision is how computers can identify patterns and objects through repetition and code. Think of a self-driving car that needs to recognize objects such as stop signs, pedestrians, and walkways. You will have some classes focused on understanding this technology and how it can be used.  
  • Ethics, data privacy, and societal impact. As AI becomes a larger part of business and society, many programs will require courses on the ethical and responsible use of AI. Courses may explore AI’s impact on business, policy, government, and society.  
  • Research projects. Most master’s programs require a capstone or final research component of the degree. Here, you will apply the skills you learned in your classes under the guidance of your professors. These projects allow you to get hands-on experience, build your resume or portfolio, and have a chance to make a meaningful contribution to the field of AI.  

African American young developer in eyeglasses concentrating on his online work on computer sitting at workplaceHow Much Money Can I Make With a Master’s Degree in AI?  

Regardless of your job or industry, having a master’s degree usually makes you a higher-value asset in the job market. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a master’s degree earn 16% more than those with just a bachelor’s degree, on average. This number will change based on the industry and job title you hold, of course. The same organization showed that those with a master’s in fields related to computers and information research are paid the highest out of most of the fields, with a median salary of around $136,000. This is just the median number, however, meaning earning potential can be even greater.  

And since there’s currently a skills gap in AI, companies in all industries are competing for qualified candidates. Having a master’s in AI means you could be a standout applicant, with higher earning potential overall.  

What Jobs Are Available to Those With a Master’s in AI? 

You can do many types of jobs with a master’s in AI, but most are as engineers and analysts in the tech and science industries. It is important to note that all industries need technical skill sets, so your options extend beyond one industry. Here are some jobs and estimated salaries you could expect to see with your newfound AI skill set, according to PayScale

  • Data engineer, $70,000–$130,000 
  • Senior software engineer, $94,000–$171,000 
  • Software engineer/developer/programmer, $64,000–$121,000 
  • Senior data scientist, $86,000–$150,000 
  • Data scientist, $68,000–$127,000 
  • Senior machine learning engineer, $95,000–$177,000 
  • Machine learning engineer, $71,000–$145,000 
  • Software product manager, $78,000–$137,000 
  • Business intelligence analyst, $62,000–$100,000 
  • Software development engineer, $79,000–$158,000 
  • Software engineer/developer/programmer, $64,000–$121,000 
  • Robotics engineer, $63,000–$118,000 

Whether you are looking to change your career or expand your skill set, a master’s in AI is a versatile degree. Anyone with an undergraduate degree can be eligible to earn their master’s in AI, and the first step is to apply. You’ll be able to find a program online or on campus to suit your schedule. For example, WPI’s Master of Science in AI is available both on campus and online. To learn more about a graduate degree in AI from WPI, view the program highlights