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Career Path: How to Become a Machine Learning Manager

Most companies across all sectors, particularly those with dedicated tech teams, are following the trends set by Silicon Valley and looking for Machine Learning engineers to build machines that complete an action unprompted. Machine Learning is undergoing a revival and rapidly evolving to become a common part of our daily lives, with devices and services built with artificial intelligence steadily gaining prominence.

To help guide and bolster Machine Learning engineers, companies require a dedicated Machine Learning Manager who understands the roles, goals and business need...more

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Career Path: How to Become a Machine Learning Manager

Most companies across all sectors, particularly those with dedicated tech teams, are following the trends set by Silicon Valley and looking for Machine Learning engineers to build machines that complete an action unprompted. Machine Learning is undergoing a revival and rapidly evolving to become a common part of our daily lives, with devices and services built with artificial intelligence steadily gaining prominence.

To help guide and bolster Machine Learning engineers, companies require a dedicated Machine Learning Manager who understands the roles, goals and business needs. Sound like a pretty good career choice? Read on to learn all about Machine Learning Management.

Getting Through the Door

Most Machine Learning Managers gained years of experience as a Machine Learning engineer or working in a similarly complex computer programming position. Others may have worked their way up to this career from a business role and have exceptional tech skills, bringing together their skills in a new and dynamic way. Though a Machine Learning Managers background will no doubt vary, gaining entry into this position will take several key skill sets, namely:

  • Experience leading a team through the successful completion of complex IT projects.
  • Being adept with mathematics, such as differential calculus, to perform intricate computations and algorithms in deep learning.
  • Having an aptitude for various data mining programs and how they relate to deep learning trends.
  • A working understanding of Artificial Intelligence, its associated software and an appreciation for how this can affect technology, the company and the public at large.
  • A deftness with Python and other programming languages for writing and editing code.

Degrees and Experience

Most Machine Learning Managers start their career with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, while some may have earned an MBA and have more of a managerial approach to their role than a strong tech foundation. No matter where your coursework may have started, it would behoove an aspiring Machine Learning Manager to earn certification through online programs and courses in Machine Learning and AI. This ensures your tech skills are strong enough for the role.

In terms of experience, this mainly relates to IT and mathematics. In addition to programming languages like Python, be adept with Machine Learning frameworks, including Keras, Pytorch and Tensorflow, as well as Machine Learning models, like SVMs, Decision Trees and Neural Nets. Along with differential calculus, a strong mind for statistics and probability and basic linear algebra are key to building Machine Learning models. With these skills tucked away neatly in your pocket, as well as a degree in or experience managing, getting work as a Machine Learning Manager shouldn’t be an intimidating experience.

Working as a Junior Level Machine Learning Manager

Machine Learning Managers at the junior level have proven themselves capable of managing their Machine Learning engineer team while their responsibilities should be growing to match their skill set. Because Machine Learning is becoming a big part of tech teams across all sectors, your duties may vary based on the industry in which you work. If you happen to work in media, for example, you may guide your Machine Learning engineers as they program news story recommendations for website viewers, ad selections and spam detectors. As the junior Machine Learning Manager for a large media company, you may oversee more than one team of Machine Learning engineers, ensuring that they are meeting deadlines while you complete scheduling, budgeting and liaise with program managers and directors.

Moving up the Ranks

To move forward in your career as a Machine Learning Manager requires an ability to take on more responsibilities while leading team members to success. Machine Learning Managers most likely are directed to be more managerial than as technical as their engineering teams, though they will be tasked with training their teams to use new software and other tools when needed. By showing a dedication to your Machine Learning engineer teams and the organization at large, a Machine Learning Manager should have no problem ascending the career ladder.

Advance Your Career: How to Become a Senior Machine Learning Manager

Becoming a senior level Machine Learning Manager takes years of hands-on experience and a demonstrated desire to learn and grow. Be sure to understand the roles of those around you as you will likely work with several tech teams on company-wide projects and want to maximize your own and their capabilities. Take the time to improve your own skills and your team members by suggesting special training and workshop events. Always be an excellent leader and take ownership of the projects your teams complete, whether the project is exceptional or less-than. These are just some of the ways to stand out and make your employers see how ready you are for a promotion to senior level.

Study the Core Fields

There are several main sectors that directly relate to your role as a Machine Learning Manager. Understanding these will help you better define your duties as well as possibly help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. These core fields include deep learning, which, like Machine Learning, uses algorithms, but in deep learning, algorithms are structured in layers to create an artificial brain-like center to learn and make decisions, beyond the data Machine Learning requires; artificial intelligence, which predates Machine Learning and only acts upon the exact information fed to it; and finally, automation, another Machine Learning goal, which allows for Machine Learning devices to operate and update automatically. Machine Learning Managers who have a grasp on these core fields will no doubt make them a better colleague and leader.

Invest in Yourself

This is especially important when working in a complex and evolving field like Machine Learning Management. To keep your skills sharp and stay ahead of the curve, it benefits a Machine Learning Manager to take additional courses and certifications where and when possible, helping to enrich their already fertile understanding of Machine Learning, AI and deep learning. Also, many Machine Learning Managers find it is helpful to attend seminars and conferences that help improve their managerial duties. Discovering new insights into managing teams is a surefire way for you and your team to succeed.

Don’t Stop at Machine Learning Management

By investigating other like-fields, a Machine Learning Manager can better determine their own goals and those of their colleagues. There are plenty of tech roles that Machine Learning Managers are likely to encounter on a regular basis, including data analysts, product managers and design managers. All three of these roles are likely to collaborate with Machine Learning Managers and their team to design and build exceptional products and services. Understanding every role’s functions and duties will make collaboration an effortless and enjoyable experience.

Machine Learning Manager Job Description

Machine Learning Managers oversee Machine Learning engineer teams that create devices and systems that can complete an action without human intervention. These managers need to have excellent leadership skills as well as strong technical abilities.

As more and more industries see the benefit Machine Learning makes in their operations, there is no limit to what Machine Learning engineers can do, especially with a skilled Machine Learning Manager guiding them forward.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Supervising teams that create software components responsible for autonomously completing an action with little to no supervision.
  • Identifying new opportunities to implement Machine Learning principles in other software.
  • Collaborating cross-functionally with other tech departments to create pioneering products and services that fuel our company and customers.
  • Training team members to ready them for new projects.

We Look For

  • Prior experience in a management role or equivalency in coursework.
  • Someone keen to lead engineers working with cutting-edge technology.
  • Familiarity with Machine Learning concepts, i.e. – probability and statistics, data modeling and evaluation, algorithms and software engineering, etc.

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Great organizational skills
  • Excellent time management
  • A natural leader
  • A communications maestro

Senior Machine Learning Manager Career Paths: Where to Go from Here

Reaching a senior Machine Learning Manager position is a wonderful accomplishment. It is emblematic of years of juggling multiple Machine Learning teams and guiding them through completing incredible tasks.

Though some are happy to stay on as a senior Machine Learning Manager, others may view it as an opportunity to make a lateral move into a whole new position that allows the skills you have garnered to shine. Common career moves Machine Learning Managers make is towards data analysis, those who collect data and use it to consult companies on how to better operate. Senior Machine Learning Managers have years of experience mining data and make evaluations, so being a data analyst may come naturally. They may also enjoy a managerial role in a more creative field, such as UX design. UX designers also rely on data to inform how they design products, so leading a team of these designers may appeal to a Machine Learning Manager.

Should the senior Machine Learning Manager decide to stay put, they can continue to guide and mentor junior Machine Learning engineers on their path to creating deep learning devices and systems that will go on to revolutionize society.

Top industries hiring Machine Learning Managers

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