How Much Do AI Programmers Make?

Written by Adam Morris

Updated August 4, 2023
Arms on top of keyboard facing computer monitor with code lines on screen

Do you have a knack for coding and building computer programmes? A career in artificial intelligence may be a suitable option for you. But how much do AI programmers actually make?

The demand for AI software developers is on the rise, with companies looking to develop more sophisticated services, algorithms and systems. With increased demand comes high salaries; experts in AI can make top dollar.

Factors such as experience, qualifications, and location can impact the salary of an AI programmer. This article will explore the various figures within the industry across different countries, positions and specialities, giving you a better understanding of what to expect when considering this line of work.

What Is An AI Engineer?

AI Engineers are the professionals driving the progress made in AI related applications over the past decade. Students, post-graduate students, and even those without official academic qualifications have found success in this fast paced and dynamic field. Their ability to so adeptly use technology to process huge amounts of data has opened up a world of opportunities for practical uses across many industries.

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They excel at developing algorithms that enable machines to think and perform tasks independently, finding solutions faster and more accurately than human intelligence could ever achieve. AI Engineers work with complex programming languages such as Python, Java and C++, machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and Keras effectively to provide reliable systems that automate processes, predict outcomes and make decisions with higher accuracy rates.

Additionally, they investigate methods to improve existing analytics models while considering their computational cost efficiency.

Being familiar with both basic and advanced aspects of algorithmic design is also essential for successful development and implementation of AI solutions. It doesn’t stop there; advances in AI have resulted in the need for continuous updates in skillset. Therefore, keeping up on emerging trends is paramount to keep up with industry advancements.

What Does an Artificial Intelligence(AI) Engineer Do?

AI engineers are essential in creating and utilizing AI solutions. Generally speaking, an AI engineer’s task is to create intelligent machines that mimic human behavior, understand language, and make decisions. 

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In addition to creating AI models, AI Engineers are also responsible for testing and maintaining them. This means they need to be able to monitor the performance of the model, analyze any results or errors, run predictive analysis calculations, develop algorithms based on data analysis, review new machine learning techniques and methodologies as well as collaborate with other engineers to ensure projects meet their desired results.

Further responsibilities include analyzing existing programs written by other engineers for accuracy using various tools (debuggers), developing new software tools for machine learning experiments etc.

AI Engineers Salaries

The demand for AI engineers is increasing, with potential for high financial rewards. As a result, AI engineering salaries throughout the world have unsurprisingly skyrocketed. Entry-level annual average AI engineer salaries in India sit at 8 lakhs per year, which is much higher than similar entry-level positions in other disciplines. High-level AI engineering positions can command upwards of 50 lakhs annually.

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In comparison to the Indian salary figures, American AI engineers tend to make significantly more money. Data from Glassdoor shows that on average, AI engineers nationwide are making over $100,000 annually; national average salary is estimated at $114,121 while low salary figures don’t dip under $78,000 and high salary figures hover around $150,000.

It should also be noted that these salaries often depend on geographic regions as well as company size; larger tech companies usually offer higher salaries while startup companies may provide stock options or other incentives to attract talent.

AI Jobs

The demand for professionals with knowledge of artificial intelligence has increased, resulting in more job opportunities. We will discuss some of the roles in AI, their job titles, and what your role in AI entails.

Machine Learning Engineer

As a ML engineer, you will be at the forefront of using data to develop intelligent systems that can learn and evolve with changes in the environment. 

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You will need to test algorithms on various datasets and tune them for greater accuracy and better performance. Debugging and continuous optimization is part of your job so you must have an intuitive understanding of different mathematical concepts, programming skills, and analytical thought-processes in order to create successful machine learning models.

Additionally, you should also have a strong grasp on software engineering principles such as version control systems and working with different development tools so that you can integrate your algorithms into applications used by organizations.

Data Scientist

A data scientist’s work involves extracting actionable information from huge amounts of available data that can help organizations reach business objectives. They strive to uncover patterns and relationships in the data which provide more clarity on a given situation.

These insights allow organizations to have a better understanding of the customer needs so that services can be tailored accordingly for higher efficiency. Additionally, by applying advanced analytics techniques such as risk assessment, pattern recognition, regression analysis, simulation and optimization problems – data scientists are able to forecast future trends in the market.

All these benefits help reduce costs while increasing productivity and providing a competitive advantage over others in the same field or sector. In essence, Data Scientists bring valuable deep marketing analysis insights and business intelligence that add value to any decision-making process whether it is planning your strategy or setting up specific campaigns across different channels or gaining an overview of customer behaviours and preferences.

Artificial Intelligence Researcher

As an AI researcher, you can influence the trajectory of artificial intelligence. You will use computers and algorithms to create solutions that address problems across multiple industries. Your research may involve using machine learning technology to create novel systems or programs that can learn from data, or developing algorithmic and mathematical models that can process complex inputs and generate more accurate results.

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Research on neural networks and deep learning systems may be necessary, as they have a range of applications in various fields. You will regularly interact with other professionals in the field, present your findings at conferences, collaborate on projects with fellow researchers around the world and publish ground-breaking papers in respected academic journals.

Software Engineer

Software engineers develop software to allow computers to perform various tasks. Software engineers require a broad understanding of computer science and engineering to develop algorithms, code, and fix programs. They should have good interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with project managers, developers, and clients.

Software engineers typically specialize in either front-end or back-end development. Front-end developers create user experiences through the use of languages such as JavaScript and HTML.

Back-end software engineers focus on building the infrastructure that supports the interface while taking into account performance optimization, reliability, scalability, etc. Some software engineers may combine both roles depending on the project requirements – these dual roles often need mastery of additional frameworks such as MVC (Model View Controller).

With the ever increasing complexity of technology today, those who specialize in quality assurance and testing may find themselves verifying massive amounts of information along with performing manual and automated tests to ensure their programs work properly.

Systems Engineer

Systems engineers, or systems architects, are an essential part of today’s technological world. A system is defined as a collective of elements working in conjunction to achieve a shared objective. This could include computers, networks, databases and software applications; it could even involve machinery and logistical processes.

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The role of the systems engineer is key because their job starts right at the planning stage. Working closely with other teams such as product managers and developers, they will often produce detailed requirements documents which outline specific goals and objectives to meet desired outcomes.

The documentation produced can be used as a roadmap by various team members throughout the project lifecycle – from implementation through to maintenance – thus keeping stakeholders aligned on what needs to be achieved.

User Experience Designer

User experience (UX) designers create user interface designs that have both functional and satisfying outcomes. UX designers must consider the user’s context, preferences, and motivations when developing navigation schemes and visual elements within an application or web design.

UX designers can impact anything from website layout to product features, so they must be skilled in understanding how people work with technology.

UX designers with experience and exceptional skills may be in high-demand for roles across multiple industries, including healthcare, gaming, automotive, finance, entertainment, and more. Those considering a career in AI design should keep up with latest trends and technologies in the market to gain the necessary experience and skills.

Educational Requirements

AI developers are an invaluable source of technological innovation, taking the lead on creating and programming artificial intelligence for various applications. To break into the field, a strong academic background in computer science and related fields is needed.

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A bootcamp in Data Science or a Bachelor’s degree in computer programming, engineering, and game development can help put you one step closer to a career as an AI developer. Depending on the type of organization you plan to work for, it may be beneficial to acquire a Master’s Degree in AI; however most entry-level positions require only demonstrable knowledge of the tools necessary for developing AI solutions.

Furthermore, employers will look favorably upon individuals who possess good problem-solving skills, critical thinking ability and passion for the role. An AI developer must have the courage to tackle complicated problems such as deep learning issues or solving complex algorithms.

As an AI developer you should also have excellent communication skills and an ability to work well within teams as often times you will be collaborating with peers from other branches related to technology or research projects involving machine learning systems. Ultimately demonstrating your knowhow of essential coding languages such as Java or Python and practical experience with working on real-world datasets is key for getting hired.


Who earns more AI or data science?

In general, Artificial Intelligence (AI) professionals tend to earn more than Data Scientists. AI engineers generally receive higher salaries than Data Scientists due to the difficulty and rarity of the skill set required to perform advanced tasks like machine learning and deep learning research. AI engineers are in demand due to the need for algorithms which can offer businesses a competitive advantage. Furthermore, there is a shortage of qualified Artificial Intelligence engineers, which is driving up salaries even more.

Is a bachelor’s degree needed to be an AI engineer?

Typically, employers expect AI engineers to have a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline prepares engineers for the various problems and challenges that come with developing AI systems. Furthermore, the research and professional skills learned from a degree will be valuable assets when looking for jobs in AI engineering, as well as when working on individual projects.

Do AI engineers make good money?

AI engineers often have good salaries, depending on their experience and employer. The average salary for mid-level AI engineers in the US is $116k per year, with senior level engineers reportedly making up to $140k annually. Salaries can vary greatly according to location, company size and business model – Silicon Valley’s higher demand for AI technology leads to higher pay than other areas.

What is the highest paying job in AI?

The highest paying job in AI is a Machine Learning Engineer. This job entails development of Machine Learning systems and algorithms, utilizing knowledge of mathematics and statistics to develop complex software systems with the goal of optimizing business processes. Machine learning engineers also specialize in data mining, natural language processing, robotics, vision Processing and speech recognition. Those who have over two years of experience with salaries averaging from US $117K up to US $223K annually. Companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Intel frequently hire machine learning engineers for specialized abilities.

Adam is a crypto expert & AI enthusiast who has been researching and writing on the topics since 2017.

He’s spoken on numerous podcasts and has been featured in many prominent media publications such as Forbes, CNN & CNBC.