Chapter 10 Keys to Building a Career in AI

The path to career success in AI is more complex than what I can cover in one short eBook. Hopefully the previous chapters will give you momentum to move forward.

Here are additional things to think about as you plot your path to success:

1. Teamwork:

When we tackle large projects, we succeed better by working in teams than individually. The ability to collaborate with, influence, and be influenced by others is critical. Thus, interpersonal and communication skills really matter. (I used to be a pretty bad communicator, by the way.)

2. Networking:

I hate networking! As an introvert, having to go to a party to smile and shake as many hands as possible is an activity that borders on horrific. I’d much rather stay home and read a book. Nonetheless, I’m fortunate to have found many genuine friends in AI; people I would gladly go to bat for and who I count on as well. No person is an island, and having a strong professional network can help propel you forward in the moments when you need help or advice. In lieu of networking, I’ve found it more helpful to think about building up a community. So instead of trying to build up my personal network, I focus instead on building up the communities that I’m part of. This has the side effect of helping me meet more people and make friends as well.

Of all the steps in building a career, this one tends to receive the most attention. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad advice about this on the internet. (For example, many articles urge taking an adversarial attitude toward potential employers, which I don’t think is helpful.) Although it may seem like finding a job is the ultimate goal, it’s just one small step in the long journey of a career.

4. Personal discipline

Few people will know whether you spend your weekends learning, or binge watching TV — but they will notice the difference over time. Many successful people develop good habits in eating, exercise, sleep, personal relationships, work, learning, and self-care. Such habits help them move forward while staying healthy.

5. Altruism

I find that people who aim to lift others during every step of their own journey often achieve better outcomes for themselves. How can we help others even as we build an exciting career for ourselves?