We live in the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning, with chatbots, self-driving vehicles, automated customer service, and other innovations. So naturally, new tech means new careers and positions, which in turn requires people to fill those vacancies. And, to the surprise of no one, the topic of salaries makes up a big part of the job-hunting process.
This article shows you what to expect from the typical machine learning engineer salary. We will be looking at the role of the machine learning engineer and why it’s vital, and break down salaries by experience and knowledge, hiring companies, and location.
Finally, we’ll round things out by checking out the machine learning engineer job outlook and how you can expand your machine learning skill set to boost your value and help you earn a higher salary.
Let’s get the ball rolling by exploring the role of machine learning engineering and why it plays such an essential role in today’s IT world.
The Machine Learning Engineer: What Does the Role Involve and Why Is It Important?
Before discussing what an ML engineer salary looks like, let’s look at the role and its importance in today’s IT world. Machine learning engineers are vital for our modern IT landscape because it encompasses a series of uncommon yet critical skills needed for artificial intelligence and machine learning, two concepts that are gaining considerably more traction these days.
Machine learning engineers can operate alone or as part of a data science team, functioning like computer programmers, but with significant differences. For example, data scientists create programs that allow computers to do things independently, without human intervention, an essential aspect of artificial intelligence.
Machine learning engineers must be experts in math and computers and have an in-depth knowledge of probability, programming, computer architecture, algorithms, data structures, and statistics. Unfortunately, these skills are challenging to master and not commonly found. In fact, machine learning engineers typically require at least a master’s degree and often a Ph.D. in computer science or a similar related field.
Skilled machine learning engineers often study a task currently performed by people and figure out how to adjust it for automation. This undertaking requires mathematical modeling, programming, analytical expertise, and an understanding of the methodologies and tools needed to apply machine learning principles to real-world activities.
Other responsibilities include studying, developing, and creating the artificial intelligence that drives machine learning and maintaining and upgrading current artificial intelligence systems. In addition, a machine learning engineer frequently acts as a critical communication link between various data science team members, directly collaborating with the data scientists who design AI system construction models and the people who build and run them.
Here’s a quick roundup of the most common machine engineering roles:
- Conducting statistical analyses
- Implementing machine learning algorithms
- Designing and developing machine learning systems
- Testing and experimenting with artificial intelligence systems
In summary, machine learning engineers must be highly educated, highly trained professionals who can work well in teams and serve as machine learning project coordinators. No wonder the typical machine learning engineer salary is so high, as we’re about to see.
What is Considered the Average Machine Learning Engineer Salary?
Let’s look at the average machine learning engineer salary. According to Indeed.com, as of February 2023, the average standard ML engineer salary in the United States clocks in at $129,669 annually. The bottom range is $69,728, and the top is $241,137. Of course, these numbers are subject to fluctuation.
Now that we have established a median baseline, it’s time to break down ML salaries based on various mitigating factors. We must now consider things like experience, industry, and location.
Machine Learning Engineer Salaries by Experience
Not every ML engineer salary is the same. Like any other occupation, professionals with more experience typically earn more, as they have greater knowledge and have used their time on the job to develop stronger skills. Let’s see how machine learning engineer salaries break down based on experience, courtesy of Payscale.com.
Entry-level machine learning engineers, typically people with less than one year’s experience, can earn an average of $96,095 annually. A machine learning engineer whose career is past the newbie stage and now has one to four years of experience can expect an average of $112,962 per year. Mid-career machine learning engineers, typically defined as five to nine years of machine learning experience, can make an average of $143,641. Experienced machine learning engineers, with typically means 10 to 19 years of relevant experience, can bring in an annual average salary of $150,708. Finally, the late-career experts, considered as 20 years and higher, earn an average yearly total compensation of $150,322.
The more you know, the more valuable your services and time are to prospective employers. Keep this in mind when applying for a position and when it comes time for your annual review and (hopefully) merit increase. If you have the right ML skills or experience, don’t sell yourself short!
Machine Learning Engineer Salaries by Industry
Unsurprisingly, when you study the machine learning engineer salary situation in different industries, you will realize that some tend to pay better than others. Here’s a breakdown of the top five machine learning engineer salaries based on the industry, as reported by Glassdoor.com.
- Real Estate: $187,938. This rate is 13 percent higher than other industries.
- Information Technology: $181,863. This rate is 10 percent higher than other industries.
- Media and Communication: $161,520. This rate is 1 percent lower than other industries.
- Retail and Wholesale: $157,766. This rate is 3 percent lower than other industries.
- Healthcare: $148,971. This rate is 9 percent lower than other industries.
On a related note, here are the top ten machine learning engineer salaries based on the best-paying companies, as indicated by Glassdoor.com.
- Qualcomm. $176,660 per year
- Apple. $203,747 per year
- Adobe. $196,406 per year
- ServiceNow. $153,110 per year
- Workday. $192,388 per year
- Meta. $224,532 per year
- Amazon. $200,567 per year
- Intel Corporation. $195,736 per year
- Target. $152,252 per year
- Capital One. $143,758 per year
Machine Learning Engineer Salaries by Location
A machine learning salary can vary depending on where the job is located. Here are the cities in the United States for the optimum machine learning salaries, courtesy of Indeed.com.
- New York, NY. $205,044 per year
- San Francisco Bay Area, CA. $193,485 per year
- Austin, TX. $187,683 per year
- Cupertino, CA. $187,531 per year
- San Diego, CA. $146,262 per year
- San Francisco, CA. $143,125 per year
- Dallas, TX. $143,107 per year
- Bellevue, WA. $132,192 per year
- Durham, NC. $104,834 per year
Also Read: What are Today’s Top Ten AI Technologies?
Salaries of Positions Similar to Machine Learning Engineers
Under the right conditions, machine learning engineers may take a position related to machine learning. Here’s a sample of average annual salaries for jobs closely related to machine learning, as reported by Indeed.com.
- Data Scientist. $145,668 per year
- Data Engineer. $134,296 per year
- Deep Learning Engineer. $161,821 per year
- Software Engineer. $119,348 per year
- Computer Vision Engineer. $109,394 per year
- Data Analyst. $72,673 per year
But Wait, There’s More
Although we’ve done a decent job looking at machine learning engineer salaries from various angles, other variables could play havoc with the above figures. For instance, demand may vary. We are currently experiencing a significant IT skill gap, but who knows how long that will continue.
In addition, there’s the economy to consider. Job demands rise and fall depending on how robust the economic conditions are.
Let’s see if we can predict where machine learning engineer careers are going.
Machine Learning Engineer: Career Outlook
Now that we’ve checked out the machine learning salary picture, we should see what the career’s future looks like. Is it worth getting into? After all, even though yes, the pay is fantastic, the prerequisites and requirements are steep and require extensive education and training.
The U.S. Board of Labor Statistics predicts computer occupations will grow at approximately 13 percent over ten years, ending in 2026. This forecast is for IT positions in general, but we can infer from these figures that machine learning will enjoy the same level of growth. In addition, NASDAQ predicts that the artificial intelligence and machine learning industries are the disruptive technologies of tomorrow and are shifting into high gear, poised to grow to $20 billion by 2025.
So, all things considered, yes, the machine learning engineer picture looks bright!
How to Expand Your Skill Set and Boost Your Machine Learning Salary
If you’d like to increase your current machine learning engineer salary or get in on the ground floor of this challenging career, you should consider enrolling in this comprehensive machine learning bootcamp.
This interactive six-month program covers some of the top skills machine learning engineers will need, including computer vision, deep learning, neural networks, reinforcement learning, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition, and more.