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Why Washington DC (and the rest of the U.S.) Needs More Machine Learning and Computer Science Graduates

In 2019, an executive order was issued by the President of the United States that announced the American Artificial Intelligence Initiative, https://www.whitehouse.gov/ai/, an effort to promote and protect artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The order included the following directives for the federal government to advance AI:

  • Invest in AI research and development (R&D)
  • Unleash AI resources
  • Remove barriers to AI innovation
  • Train an AI-ready workforce
  • Promote an international environment that is supportive of American AI innovation and its responsible use.

With initiatives such as this, the market for artificial intelligence and machine learning, a sub-set of AI, is booming. AI itself is a subset of the even more famous field of Computer Science, and to participate in the high-end career opportunities in artificial intelligence key paths of study include Computer Science or Data Science, programs such as a BS Computer Science, MS Computer Science or BS Data Science provide the needed technical knowledge base.

Machine Learning (ML) engineer, deep learning engineer, and senior data scientist topped the list of jobs involving machine learning or artificial intelligence skills, reports Indeed. With government directives focused on AI and ML, it’s no surprise that Indeed found ML engineer as the best job of 2019.

Recent workforce changes and initiatives in the D.C. area support this finding.

Amazon announced in 2019 that they are opening additional headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The Amazon headquarters, known as HQ2, will add 25,000 jobs to the metro area over ten years.

Another D.C.-area stronghold in the world of AI and ML is the U.S. Department of Defense. The DoD founded the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) in 2018, with the goal of accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI.

“We’re moving the Department’s mindset and culture from a hardware-centric and industrial-age force to a software-driven and information age one,” states Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy on the JAIC website.

As such, the DoD is in great need of product managers, testers, data scientists, and machine learning engineers, among other AI- and ML-involved positions.

Health care is yet another area where AI and ML engineers are in demand. IBM’s Watson Health, IBM’s health division, has locations in Bethesda and Woodlawn, Maryland, in addition to a dozen other states. Watson Health utilizes AI and ML in a variety of ways: to improve health outcomes, clinical trial efficiency, and interoperability.

“Healthcare organizations have so much data that humans can not possibly analyze it by themselves,” reports Watson Health. “Deep, continuous analyses with AI and analytics tools can find patterns people miss, which could help enhance services and move research forward.”

With so many businesses utilizing AI and ML, the need for employees with strong skills in these areas is vital. Students pursuing AI and ML will have many opportunities to put their skills to work.

For more information on Capitol Tech's Computer Science and Computational Systems degrees, which incorporate AI and ML lessons, click here.