We are going through a metamorphosis, akin to how our world changed with the invention of electricity. Just as electricity turned some skills obsolete while sparking demand for others, AI is reshuffling the career deck for graduates. And if you are hoping to turn that NTU academic grind into meaningful work, pay heed.
Even though the limelight usually falls on Generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT or Midjourney, remember this – AI is more than just one trick. It is an ensemble of technologies transforming the way humans work with data. These technologies get computers to act like human beings for specific jobs. Here is a simple way to understand why everyone is talking about it.
Imagine you have an employee at your beck and call. The employee sifts through words, images and sounds, making connections faster than any human can. It makes recommendations and decisions in milliseconds. Now imagine that this employee works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That is AI. It is not some rogue robot from a sci-fi flick. On the contrary it is sophisticated algorithms taking mammoth amounts of data and turning it into actionable insights.
AI IS TRANSFORMING THE INDUSTRY AND HIRING NEEDS
AI is already changing the way businesses operate, artists create, and, yes, even how you Netflix and chill. In essence, AI is less about ‘them,’ the machines, and more about ‘us,’ amplifying our capabilities and setting us on a course to solve problems we did not even know we had. So, if you are not in sync with AI, you are essentially using a typewriter in an iPad world.
More importantly for your career, AI is transforming jobs. Tasks that are typically done by humans, particularly the repetitive ones, can now be easily handled by AI. Accountants, paralegals, radiologists, market analysts, security guards, cleaners, and drivers are all being replaced. But do not think it stops there. Engineers and managers are on the list too. And those programming roles? Demand is dwindling. AI can write code quite well! Essentially any job role that involves repetitive decision-making will either be replaced or modified.
That might sound alarming but here is the silver lining: Existing professions are getting AI makeovers. Journalists are using AI to scan data for stories. Doctors utilise it for faster and more accurate diagnoses. Even artists and musicians are collaborating with algorithms to create. Programmers are even using AI to write elegant code faster.
Moreover, this shift is also birthing new roles. Jobs like data scientists, AI trainers, or ethicists were barely on the radar a decade ago, and now they are hot commodities.
RECOGNISING NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN AI
Here is a good way to think about the impact of AI on jobs: Regardless of your field and discipline of study, you can adapt and upskill to stay relevant.
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do in NTU to future proof your career in the world of AI:
Learn: Pick up skills related to AI and Machine Learning by taking up relevant electives or embarking on self-paced learning via online learning platforms. NTU’s Career and Attachment Office also offers workshops on related tech topics such as data visualisation.
Network: Reach out to professionals in the AI field and speak to them about their work. This could open doors to potential opportunities in the field.
Experiment: Incorporate the use of AI tools in your school projects and assignments. If there is an AI tool that replaces an existing work tool, jump on it.
Apply: Choose to work on projects or select an FYP topic with an AI touch. Think ahead of the game and let your AI expertise do the talking in your resume.
Participate: Do your internship at a company that is navigating the AI transition and witness the transformation first-hand. Remember, the best way to predict the future is to create it.
In this brave new world, those who understand and collaborate with AI will be the trailblazers, and I am betting you want to be among them. So, before you toss that cap in the air, take a beat. Reflect on how you can weave AI into your skillset. In a rapidly evolving landscape, you do not want to be the one playing catch-up. AI is not a fleeting trend; it is the new normal.
About the author: Kamran is Managing Director of GEM Learning and co-founder and CEO of Zaheen Systems, a startup that develops computer vision technology for commercial and industrial applications. Kamran’s passion for learning and innovation drives him to help businesses harness the potential of AI and deep learning. Kamran leverages his expertise in technology design, innovation, and business transformation to train and advise organisations on how to adopt and implement AI effectively and ethically.