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Prompt engineers are commanding salaries in excess of £300k

It’s being predicted that the advent of generative AI and its impact on productivity and jobs has the potential to be this generation’s Industrial Revolution.

Just last month, the government’s outgoing chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance warned that generative AI will have “a big impact on jobs”.

Prompt engineers are commanding salaries in excess of £300k

“There will be jobs that can be done by AI, which can either mean a lot of people don’t have a job, or a lot of people have jobs that only a human could do,” he told the Commons science, innovation and technology committee –  writes Aoibhinn Mc Bride, Jobbio.

“In the Industrial Revolution the initial effect was a decrease in economic output as people realigned in terms of what the jobs were—and then a benefit. We need to get ahead of that.”

Vallance’s remarks reiterate comments made by Dr Geoffrey Hinton earlier this year, when the so-called “godfather of AI” cited the “scary” chatbots he helped to create as one of the4 main reasons he decided to resign from Google.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we’re developing is very different from the intelligence we have,” he said. “So it’s as if you had 10,000 people and whenever one person learned something, everybody automatically knew it. And that’s how these chatbots can know so much more than any one person.”

It’s little wonder that so many workers, in tech and in other industries, are apprehensive about the future of their jobs—in April, the term “will AI take my job” registered a search interest of 100, up from 21 in July 2022.

But is there any real justification or cause for concern?

While Goldman Sachs data suggests that generative AI tools could impact as many as 300 million full-time jobs worldwide and Accenture has estimated that 40% of all working hours could be impacted by generative AI tools, the flip side is that the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, 97 million new jobs will have been created thanks to AI.

Future opportunities

Some of the most in-demand roles of the future look set to revolve around prompt engineering—a natural language processing role that underpins the technology that fuels ChatGPT and its image-led counterpart, DALL-E.

As such, prompt engineers are responsible for crafting well-defined prompts that inform the content that AI creates and while the field is a vital one, it currently lacks the talent and expertise needed to drive generative AI forward.

And for those who do possess the experience needed to work in the field, they are well remunerated: salaries in the US start at $230,000 and go up to $335,000 in some instances.

In 2022, the government unveiled its National AI Strategy to help the tech ecosystem realise its full potential now and in the future.

Part of this strategy includes an £8.5 million research programme designed to align funding programmes across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK, and support the wider ecosystem.

Upskilling is also key but with the water relatively uncharted at this point, how can developers or those without the necessary technical skills capitalise on this opportunity and pivot to a career in prompt engineering?

Upskilling is key

For starters, resistance is futile, and while some developers might see machine learning as a direct threat to their skills and experience, it’s essential to keep these skills up to date by availing of learning and development opportunities that can sharpen an existing skill set.

OpenAI, the company responsible for ChatGPT, is offering a free ChatGPT Prompt Engineering for Developers course which teaches new ways to use large language models, including how to build custom chatbots and best practices for application development.

There are also several online courses currently available for those with and without coding or developer experience including Coursera’s Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT which is suitable for beginners, and Udemy’s The Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp, which requires basic Python coding skills.

From an employment perspective, as AI is still an emerging technology, you might not see “prompt engineer” stipulated in the job title, but if a company has a broader AI division or has embarked on a process of digitisation that incorporates AI practices and processes and will rely more heavily on them in the future, now is the time to secure a role that will help future-proof your career.

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