By John P. Desmond,, AI Trends Editor
The hot AI hiring market today is exemplified by the University of Georgia (UGA) trying to hire 50 AI experts over a two-year period.
The Presidential Interdisciplinary Faculty Hiring Initiative in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence aims to recruit 50 faculty members who will educate students and advance research in data science and AI, according to a press release from the university. Rather than being housed exclusively in a single department, however, the majority of UGA’s newly-recruited faculty will be spread out. They will focus on the fusion of data science and AI in areas such as infectious diseases, integrative precision agriculture, ethics, cybersecurity, resilient communities and the environment.
“At the University of Georgia, we are constantly seeking opportunities to expand our impact on society, to solve complex challenges, and to shape the future,” stated President Jere W. Morehead. “This strategic hiring initiative will enable us to do that while building on our excellence in teaching, research and service.”
The hiring initiative originated with work from Provost S. Jack Hu, who started a task force shortly after he joined UGA in 2019. Composed of faculty and academic leaders across campus, the task force examined where the university was strong and where it had opportunity to improve its impact.
“This hiring initiative builds on the expertise of our existing faculty and leverages our strength as a comprehensive research institution with a land-grant mission of service,” stated Hu. “It will give students new learning opportunities while sparking transformative discoveries.”
UGA’s 50 new faculty hires will be recruited in eight interdisciplinary clusters that focus on broad themes. The Precision One Health Initiative, for example, is a partnership of five academic units. It seeks to recruit faculty with expertise in using data science to develop individually tailored prevention and treatment protocols for diseases that include autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
At UGA, degree programs in computer science, data science, and cybersecurity and privacy are complemented by certificate programs in informatics and applied data science, open to students from any major. “The multidisciplinary nature of UGA’s approach to data science and artificial intelligence reflects the fact that data literacy has emerged as an essential component of career success and engaged citizenship,” stated Rahul Shrivastav, UGA’s vice president for instruction.
The eight clusters at UGA are:
- Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases
- Environmental Artificial Intelligence
- Ethics, Data and AI
- Precision One Health Initiative
- Secure AI Systems for Biomedical Applications
- Integrative Precision Agriculture Center of Excellence
- Machine Learning Applications in Cyber-Physical Systems Security
- Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainability and Equity
Data Science Engineers Have Opportunity Today, LinkedIn Finds
That AI hiring is hot is also reflected in the list of the top 15 most in-demand jobs in 2021 released by LinkedIn. The fastest growing job areas over the past year were ranked based on a combination of demand and the number of jobs available. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing major disruption in 2020, LinkedIn decided to shift its focus from top trends over the past five years, to where the opportunity is currently, according to an account in Search Engine Journal.
On that list were data science engineers and AI practitioners. Hiring for data science roles has grown 46% since 2019. Top titles include data scientist, data science specialist and data management analyst. Skills sought include TensorFlow, statistical modeling and data visualization. In education, 98% of hires had an undergraduate degree or higher, and the salary range was $100,000 to $130,000.
Hiring for AI practitioners grew 32% between 2019 and 2020. Top titles include machine learning engineer, AI specialist and machine learning researchers. Skills sought include C++, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the Python programming language. In education, 99% had an undergraduate degree or high, and the salary range was $124,000 to $150,000.
AI Scientific and Technical Services Skills in Demand
A look at AI hiring by industry and by region was recently conducted by CompTIA, the IT training organization, working with Burning Glass, which keeps a database of job postings, according to a recent account in Dice.
The top industries looking for AI talent are: professional, scientific, and technical services, with 2,473 job postings in July; finance and insurance, with 1,720 openings; manufacturing, with 1,467 postings; and Information Technology, with 1,040 openings.
Regionally, hot AI hiring markets were found to be: New York, with 960 job postings in July; Washington, DC, with 812 postings; San Francisco, with 658 postings; San Jose, with 598 postings; and Boston, with 469 postings.
The top uses for AI were found to be: predictive sales/lead scoring, CRM/service delivery optimization, chatbots and digital assistants, cybersecurity threat detection, and marketing automation.
AI itself is increasingly being incorporated by human resource professionals to help in their hiring efforts. AI is being used to improve easy to source, identify, and engage talent, according to a recent account in SearchHRSoftware from TechTarget. These range from smart talent platforms, such as the Talent Intelligent Platform from Eightfold AI, chatbots, and natural language processing capabilities. AI can also be used to remove bias from candidate identification, selection, and hiring.
“AI is trending because the technologies can do a tremendous amount of heavy lifting at high speed, while simultaneously adding value and automation to the talent acquisition processes,” stated Luke Marson, author of the account. He is Senior VP, Human Experience Management, with The Silicon Partners, SAP software consultants. The technology is used to screen, sort and rank candidates, based on skills and potential compiled from candidate profiles, resumes and social media.
“These steps involve highly repetitive manual tasks, but by using an AI-based talent acquisition application, recruiters can cut the effort from hours or days to minutes,” Marson stated.
Eightfold AI Offers AI Talent Management Platform that Uses AI
Eightfold AI, based in Mountain View, recently closed a $220 million Series E round of financing, to bring the total raised by the company since its founding in 2016 to $396.8 million, according to Crunchbase.
“Current HR systems were designed to address issues from a previous era, and they have failed to keep pace with the changing nature of work and the workforce,” stated Ashutosh Garg, founder and CEO of Eightfold, in a press release. “At Eightfold, we have an unprecedented opportunity, using AI to align the career goals of individuals while simultaneously creating better results for employers.”
The funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. “Powered by AI and machine learning, Eightfold’s platform provides global enterprises with a single solution for managing the entire talent lifecycle, including hiring, retaining, and growing a diverse global workforce,” stated Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.