3 ways to build A.I. skills even if you don’t work in tech: 'Suddenly your employability options go through the roof'

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Artificial intelligence is the hot new skill on the job market, and even those who don't work in tech could use it to open up a new world of job opportunities.

The U.S. is leading the way in artificial intelligence and generative AI jobs, according to data from the global job search platform Adzuna. Many roles fall squarely in tech, like software engineer, product designer, deep learning architect and data scientist.

But there are plenty of non-technical roles where having the emerging skillset can give you a leg-up, says James Neave, Adzuna's head of data science. One fast-growing role where there's "absolutely a shortage" of qualified applicants is tax manager. Accounting and consulting firms are looking for candidates with a mix of financial and AI skills to make their business more efficient using large language models.

It can be a lucrative move, too: The average tax manager job that'll use AI pays $100,445 a year, according to Adzuna, and the average job using the skill in general pays $146,244.

Experts say there's also lots of opportunity for AI to be used in customer service, writing, HR, education and health-care jobs, to name a few.

As such, Neave says it would be smart for non-technical workers to consider picking up AI skills and learning how it could apply to their work: "There are brilliant opportunities for people out there who want to get their hands on these tools and get experience," he says. "Suddenly, your employability options go through the roof."

Neave says generalist workers can build their AI skills, and boost their employability, in three steps:

  1. First, get to know the most popular AI tools. "Go in and get your hands on the OpenAI website, practice a few prompts and see what comes back."
  2. Second, seek out online resources to understand how you might apply AI to your own line of work. Neave recommends finding YouTube videos and articles that introduce how ChatGPT, the generative AI tool released in late 2022, is used in different tasks. For example, you might research more about the best way to use ChatGPT to write a blog or create automated responses to customer emails, he says. You could also look into certification and training courses online, from the University of MichiganCoursera and other e-learning platforms.
  3. Finally, put your new knowledge to work in some of your routine tasks. "Once you feel confident enough using it, seek out and find any way to use it in your day-to-day work," Neave says. It's a good idea to check with your manager about your company's policy on using AI in your work before doing so. And get a clear understanding of what you're allowed to input into generative AI tools and what you're not. For example, "there's a general proviso that workers should not enter sensitive proprietary company data into ChatGPT to get answers, as it's a public tool," Neave adds.

Overall, Neave says, "if a future employer is looking at your CV, it's going to be much more powerful if you can say you've gotten hands-on with ChatGPT using it for a certain purpose. That's going to be the most compelling thing for potential employers."

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