10 Best Degrees for a Career in Artificial Intelligence in 2024

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Updated: March 4, 2024, Reading time: 9 minutes

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is found in every industry today and has among the biggest career opportunities for competent individuals with the right academic background and experience! It is the present and future of this digital era and one of the most in-demand and high-paying fields.

However, choosing which degree best suits an AI career path can be daunting due to its wide-ranging coverage.

Here are 10 degree programs to help you determine the focus of study leading to your preferred career path:

Degree Leading to an AI CareerAI Job TitleAverage Annual Income
Machine LearningML engineer$128,769
Computer ScienceComputer and information research scientist$136,620
Data ScienceData scientist$103,500
Robotics and AutomationAutomation Engineering manager/Robotics System engineer/Senior Robotics engineer$116,607
Computational LinguisticsComputational linguist$114,249
Cognitive ScienceCognitive scientist$111,343
MathematicsMathematician (in Computer Systems Design and related services)$107,740
Electrical EngineeringElectrical engineer$103,320
HCIHCI specialist$101,662
Software EngineeringSoftware engineer$127,260

Machine Learning

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If you want to pursue a field used at work everywhere, Machine Learning (ML) is worth considering. An ML degree dives deep into the critical sections of data mining, coding, and algorithms.

This knowledge will be used to build systems that recognize data and improve data analysis, decision-making processes, and automation across various domains.

As an ML graduate, you can use your knowledge in various settings. Machine learning experts are becoming increasingly essential to all kinds of businesses where maintaining high-speed operations depends on complicated data analysis and pattern identification. Examples of these industries include:

As a tech-focused industry, ML is constantly evolving. Complete Machine Learning courses to stay on top of industry updates!

Machine Learning engineers make $128,769 each year, on average.

Among the top Machine Learning degrees are offered by the following universities:

Computer Science

Computer Science will be among your safest bets in an AI career. This degree is perfect for those who want to focus more on developing their abilities and understanding of computers and computational systems. A Bachelor’s in Computer Science jumpstarts your career, along with industry-specific certificates.

Computer Science students gain the analytical and mathematical abilities to find solutions to problems. You will be thoroughly trained to design, test, and analyze systems and software. Computer science programs, may it be a bachelor’s or master’s degree, offer specialized topics/concentrations that allow you to tailor your way into AI careers. 

Each year, computer and information research scientists make an average of $136,620.

If you want to pursue a degree in computer science, here are some of the top degree-granting institutions for this major:

Data Science

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Data Science provides the data and domain for AI necessary for training and evaluating AI models. It is among the top fields that lead to AI careers as it helps empower organizations to make data-driven decisions, extract valuable insights, and drive innovation. 

As an interdisciplinary program, a Bachelor’s in Data Science explores the basic elements of computer science, including statistics, databases, and mathematics.

Although you can break into the professional world with a bachelor’s degree, you should consider a master’s degree to obtain the depth of knowledge and practical experience necessary to excel in AI. 

Professionals can enhance their knowledge through online Data Science courses featuring the industry’s challenges and advancements.

As a data scientist, you can make an average of $103,500 annually. 

The following higher education institutions offer some of the most competitive data science programs:

Robotics and Automation

If you are fascinated by engineering principles, pursue Robotics and Automation programs that are AI-oriented! These majors aid in advancing AI by supplying real-world scenarios and data for machine learning algorithms to be trained on. Robots can also be utilized as testing grounds for novel AI and reinforcement learning methods.

A Bachelor’s in Robotics exposes students to the basics of AI, building their computer science, mechanical, electrical, and control engineering knowledge. As you progress through a master’s degree, you’ll learn the intricacies of the design and programming of robots and automation systems. 

Boot camps are also very valuable in developing your competencies in robotics and automation. Udacity Camp and the Robotics Alliance Project are among the most popular boot camps. 

You can also choose Robotics as a specialization as you lay the groundwork for careers in AI

The average annual salary of Automation Robotics is $116,607.

Some of the schools offering degrees in robotics and automation include:

Computational Linguistics

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Computational Linguistics should be your major if you’re interested in focusing on AI-sophisticated language-related tasks. It will help you develop the skills required for language generation, natural language understanding, and sentiment analysis.

Computational linguistics is very essential in empowering AI with human-like language capabilities. 

You can expect to study in a multidisciplinary curriculum when pursuing a computational linguistics degree, including world languages, computer science and engineering, and linguistics.

You’ll also delve into linguistic theories and principles that underpin natural language processing (NLP) systems. Coding courses emphasize how computer language works structurally, semantically, and pragmatically.

As a computational linguist, you can also expect to earn high wages, depending on your expertise level. On average, these professionals make $114,249 each year. 

Among the top producers of computational linguists include: 

Cognitive Science

If you want to study a degree combining mind and intelligence, this major is for you. Cognitive science delves into philosophy, psychology, AI, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology. With the vast-ranging knowledge you’ll obtain through this major, you’ll have a competitive edge in AI careers.

Cognitive Science students investigate further the subjects that help you understand how information is perceived, processed, and transformed. It explores the basics of Computer Programming in building computer programs that mimic or simulate the cognitive functions of humans.

You can often focus on a problem of interest and pursue concentration on that issue, including engaging in research and collaborating with faculty members or research labs. 

Cognitive scientists have an average annual pay of $111,343.

Among the best universities for a cognitive science degree for an AI career include:


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Some might think AI is magic, but it isn’t. It’s mathematics!

Mathematics is the backbone of any AI algorithm and model, from linear algebra and calculus to probability theory and statistics. Mathematics is used for designing neural networks, optimizing models, and making probabilistic predictions for tasks like natural language processing.

Maths majors who teach the subject can pursue an AI career! Your background in solving challenging, deep, and abstract problems with traditional math methods and techniques helps you shift gears with ease!

You’ll delve into the intricacies of optimization theory to understand how algorithms can be fine-tuned for better performance. 

Mathematicians in computer systems design and related services have an average wage of 107,740.

The most competitive higher education schools for mathematics majors include the following institutions: 

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers have vast knowledge widely used in developing and advancing AI fields. They have the math skills to cope with neural networks at the most advanced levels.

Electrical engineers also have concentration areas, such as systems engineering, power engineering, instrumentation, optics and photonics, and more that are integral in AI learning. 

A Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering is the minimum requirement for the profession. However, it’s best to pursue a master’s degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree if you want to engage in advanced AI activities in your profession. Master’s degrees allow you to specialize in a field, giving you greater experience and expertise in AI.

Electrical engineers are paid a median wage of $103,320.

Here are the top providers of master’s degrees in electrical engineering with AI concentrations:

Human-Computer Interaction

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If you want to participate in advancing interactive technologies, the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) major should fit you well. HCI focuses on the interface between humans (the users) and computers in addition to technology design, evaluation, and implementation.

HCI uses the principles of UX to make technology more user-friendly, efficient, and enjoyable

As an HCI major, you will learn fundamental skills, a project-based curriculum, and in-depth experience to prepare for a career in AI.

Your coursework will include:

HCI graduates have an average median annual wage of $101,662

Higher education institutions with advantageous degrees in HCI include:  

Software Engineering

Although there is wide speculation that AI will overtake software engineers, software engineering remains a robust field. In fact, today might be the best time to earn a degree in Software Engineering and pursue an AI/ML concentration to keep up with the times.

As a software engineering student, your coding knowledge will become useful in implementing AI algorithms, including machine learning models, NLP algorithms, computer vision algorithms, and more.

Your undergraduate degree training will also allow you to handle large datasets and optimize algorithms for performance efficiently. 

A bachelor’s degree will help you jumpstart a career in software engineering. However, if you want to advance into AI, you would need additional training and education through a master’s degree. After completing a bachelor’s in software engineering, consider completing a Master’s in AI. 

The average annual salary of software engineers is $127,260.

Among the top undergraduate degrees in software engineering that will help you prepare and qualify for a master’s degree in AI include:

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