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Which Degree Is Best for a Career in Artificial Intelligence? 

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is interdisciplinary, and individuals pursuing a career in AI can come from various educational backgrounds. There isn’t a single “best” degree for AI, as it depends on your specific interests, career goals, and the aspect of AI you want to specialize in.  

What is AI? 

AI generally refers to computer software that enables machines to mimic human cognitive functions, including decision-making and language translation. It uses real-time data to adjust responses and performance. Within this broad definition, there are many specialized sub-fields such as machine learning, data science, natural language processing, and more.  

No One-Size-Fits-All 

Since AI is so vast, and stretches over various industries, finding a tailor-made program that will cover your exact field of interest may be a challenge. However, here are some common degrees and fields of study that are relevant to AI: 

  • Computer Science: A degree in computer science is a natural foundation for AI. It covers programming, algorithms, data structures, and other fundamental concepts essential for AI development. These subjects may inform the starting point of more specialized fields of study at master’s and doctoral levels, which tend to concentrate on more specific AI subfields like machine learning, data science, or robotics, which prepare students for research or advanced roles in the industry. 
  • Mathematics and Statistics: Strong math/stats knowledge is crucial for understanding the underlying principles of AI algorithms. Areas such as linear algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics are particularly relevant. This background leads to careers in data science and product analytics. 
  • Data Science: Data science degrees focus on collecting, analyzing, and interpreting large complex datasets (“big data”), which is vital for machine learning and AI applications. Data scientists work with big data to solve a wide array of challenging problems using different analytical and statistical approaches, applying technical expertise to quantitative analysis, experimentation, data mining, and the presentation of data to develop strategies for a company’s products. 
Study a Career in Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical Engineering: Some AI applications involve hardware components, and an electrical engineering degree can provide a background in the hardware aspects of AI systems. 
  • Cognitive Science: Cognitive science explores the study of the human mind and intelligence, offering insights into how to mimic cognitive processes in AI systems. 
  • Machine Learning: This specialized degree is a subset of AI which typically covers the design and function of systems that learn from data and improve with experience. These programs delve deep into the algorithms and techniques used in building intelligent systems. 
  • Robotics: For those interested in AI applications in robotics, a degree in robotics or mechatronics can be beneficial. 
  • AI Ethics and Policy: With the growing importance of ethical considerations in AI development, coursework focusing on AI ethics, policy, and societal impacts is becoming more relevant.  

“Beyond the technical hurdles, ethical concerns are significant. Who can be trusted with the power of AI deceit detection? Who determines the parameters for detecting suspicious behavior, and how do we prevent producing false positives that hinder actual AI innovation?”1  

Business Applications  

Some common business applications of AI are in machine learning, cybersecurity, customer relationship management (CRM), internet searches, and personal assistants. 

If you are specifically interested in AI applications in business, and want to enhance your qualifications in this area, you may consider several educational paths, for example: 

  • Data Science or Machine Learning Specialization: Platforms like Coursera, edX, and others offer programs that focus on practical applications of AI in business contexts. 
  • Certifications in AI and Business Analytics: Certifications from recognized organizations like Microsoft, IBM, or SAS can demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. 
  • Industry-specific AI Training: There might be specialized AI training programs tailored to business applications within the sector you are interested in. For example, financial institutions may have AI training programs focused on financial analytics. 

Networking opportunities provided by these programs can be valuable for connecting with professionals in the AI and business space. The field of AI is rapidly evolving, so staying updated with the latest trends and technologies is crucial for success in this dynamic industry. 

Moving With the Times 

EU Business School offers a new BA program, starting in the Fall of 2024, the Bachelor in Artificial Intelligence for Business. This 7-semester / 3-year program is available on all three EU Business School campuses: Barcelona, Munich, and Geneva, and through their Online campus portals. 

The Bachelor in Artificial Intelligence for Business gives students a solid grounding in the theory and use of AI technology, preparing them to apply innovative tools to operations within the world of business. The program covers fundamental concepts in AI, exploring data literacy, product design, deep learning and robotics, and teaching students how these areas can be integrated into sustainable practices, research, investment and business growth, among many other fields. Students also study responsible AI principles and the sociological impact of artificial intelligence. 

Final Thoughts 

AI professionals have diverse educational backgrounds, and industry experience and practical skills are often just as important as formal education. Online courses, certifications, and self-study can also play a significant role in gaining AI expertise. 

The best degree for AI depends on your interests and the specific aspect of AI you want to focus on in your career. This may be as a software engineer, data scientist, machine learning engineer, robotics engineer, or a business intelligence analyst in any field of industry from finance and banking to healthcare, transportation and automotive, or retail and manufacturing. 

For more information about EU Business School’s range of innovative and future-proof programs that will set you up for a successful career working with AI and thrive in the ever-changing digital business landscape, click here

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