Prepping Your Skills For The Machine Learning Revolution

In one of our recent posts, we wrote about the coming revolution in machine learning that candidates have to prepare themselves for. In truth, we’ve heard a lot of talk about it for several years now, but we still haven’t seen a lot of activity utilizing machine learning in many companies. Does this mean it’s all a myth that’s about to come and go? Hardly. We firmly believe that, unlike the artificial intelligence craze, the machine learning revolution is going to continually gain steam.

The best way to judge the success of a trend such as machine learning is by how easy or how difficult is it to implement.

If you need to have a PhD from Carnegie Mellon in Artificial Intelligence to get anything done, those projects will be far and few between. The moment you get to the point where you can accomplish a lot of results with a solid technologist who can learn how to use the tools – and with those tools being ever-more powerful and easier to use – we’ll see the technology expand beyond the small group that has been using it.

In many situations, this probably will entail building new infrastructure. The data that you need and the ability to handle that data doesn’t exist today. You cannot easily graph modern machine learning technology onto existing infrastructure.

That’s why so many of these projects wound up going to the cloud. There is a fierce and productive competition in the cloud between Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM and so many others. By competing for new projects, these companies are continually improving the environment, making it easier to build new systems and making those systems more likely to be successful. It means we’re in a virtual cycle where the more something is done, the easier it gets to do it. It’s one of the more exciting areas in machine learning technology.

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Machine Learning That Companies Want?

From our perspective, companies want a machine learning expert with a recent degree. However, for every one of those, they also realize that they need to hire a lot of technologists who allow them to have the framework within which to collect the data. Then they have the ability to collect and get the sources of the data. When the data arrives, it needs to be cleaned and maintained for people in machine learning to handle it. The trend I would expect is, as machine learning tools become more and more powerful, people will need less and less extreme statistical expertise in machine learning in order to get results.

Talman Advantage #1: Our Connections Run Deep

Why is it so critical that Roy Talman be the first recruiter you talk to? Before your resume is casually distributed to others, it’s important to understand how valuable it is to work with someone who brings a credible and highly reputable network of hiring managers. We’ve cultivated relationships with these managers for over 30 years – in fact, many of them were our candidates at one point.

But if you distribute a resume before we can leverage such connections to identify the best firm and role for you, it may be very difficult for us to help you further. So before you send out a resume, talk to Talman first!

The analogy I like to use is that when relational databases originally were thought of, very few people knew how to use them. Today, most software engineers now do SQL, even though they don’t necessarily know how to prove all the mathematical theorems that underline the algebra of SQL and data manipulation. Think of it in this way – you don’t need to be an internal combustion engine expert to drive your car. Yes, there was a time when you needed to know a great deal about it because your engine would break down and you had to fix it.

So if you can talk to your machine learning system and explain to it what you want done, that’s ideally what companies are after.

For recurring tasks, it’s not enough to have a certain amount of knowledge trapped in your brain. You actually have to convey it to a machine in a clear way and have a bigger picture for the business so it knows what is doable and what is not. That’s why so many companies that we deal with, when we talk about senior level roles, insist on knowledge of current technology. They just don’t think a manager who is not aware or fluent in the latest technology should be trusted with making technical and managerial decisions.

How can you put your skill set in sync with where machine learning is headed? Talk to Talman first. A conversation with the technical recruiting experts at Roy Talman & Associates can help gauge where your background best aligns and where some critical skills gaps may be occurring that you need to close efficiently. Instead of guessing and hoping where you should devote your learning – or worse yet, doing nothing at all other than maintaining what you know right now – we can engage you in a process that factors in your goals, your ideal environment, preference of management style and more. So as technology further evolves, you can ensure you do the same in a place you’re profoundly comfortable working in.