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AI Engineer Salaries Where Is the Money in AI
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AI Engineer Salaries: Where Is the Money in AI?

8 minute read | April 5, 2023
Monica J. White

Written by:
Monica J. White

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It’s well known that artificial intelligence is a booming industry with great job opportunities. The field can be extremely lucrative, with the most experienced professionals at the most competitive companies earning upwards of $300,000 per year.

However, not all AI jobs can reach this level—some specializations can pay twice as much as others. Specific skills, location, experience, and educational background are also factors that can affect your pay bracket.

To maximize your earning potential, it’s essential to understand employment trends within the industry and use them to your advantage. This guide will show where the money is in AI and what you need to do to get it. 

How Much Does an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engineer Earn?

There are a lot of factors that can affect your salary as an AI engineer. However, the overall average salary across all industries and all experience levels in the United States is around $127,000.

AI Engineer Salary – By Experience Level

To look at the average salary in more detail, let’s break down the typical pay brackets according to experience level. 

Internship

AI Engineer Salary, By Experience Level, Internship

There are many different kinds of artificial intelligence internships. Some are unpaid, but if you succeed in landing a paid position, the average salary in the United States is $66,761.

Entry-Level

AI Engineer Salary, By Experience Level, Entry-Level

In the United States, an entry-level AI engineer can make $91,000-$153,000

Mid-Level

AI Engineer Salary, By Experience Level, Mid-Level

A mid-level engineer with 3-5 years of experience can expect to make around $138,000.

Senior-Level

AI Engineer Salary, By Experience Level, Senior-Level

As a senior artificial intelligence engineer, your wealth of knowledge and experience in machine learning and AI will become very valuable to companies and organizations. At this point in your career, you can negotiate with the top companies in your industry and earn a salary as high as $252,000.

AI Engineer Salary – By Job Titles and Allied Roles

While many AI engineering roles will simply be titled “AI engineer,” you will also find more niche and specific titles from big companies with large existing AI teams. These titles can reflect specializations and areas of expertise, some of which pay more than others.

As you can from the screenshots provided, overall compensation is often divided into an average base salary and additional cash compensation. 

AI Engineer

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, AI Engineer

You may also find this role combined with “ML” (machine learning) in many cases, and since AI engineer is a more general role title, it’s important to read the job description carefully to determine what kind of professional they’re seeking. 

Sometimes, even a non-specific title can involve very specific job responsibilities and skills. At other times, you’ll find that the role is for a more generalist position. 

The average salary for AI engineers in the U.S. is around $127,000.

Machine Learning Engineer

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning companies and engineers specialize in the algorithms and neural networks required to automate the training of AI. Instead of engineers pointing out what information the AI should take notice of and what it should do with it, machine learning enables the machines to make these decisions independently.

It’s a specialized area that requires specific skills and experience, resulting in an annual salary of $132,465, with highs of $212,000.

Deep Learning Engineer

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, Deep Learning Engineer

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning, focusing on creating neural networks with additional layers and attempting to simulate human brain functions. This allows machines to learn and predict with more accuracy and detail compared to the single-layer neural networks used for general machine learning. The annual salaries for deep learning engineers are in the range of $111,000-$181,000.

NLP Engineer

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, NLP Engineer

NLP (natural language processing) engineers work on giving machines the ability to process and understand human language. This is integral for conversational AI programs like ChatGTP or virtual assistants like Siri. Engineers working in this role can earn up to $218,000 per year, with more typical salaries ranging from $109,000-$176,000.

Algorithm Engineer

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, Algorithm Engineer

The two main things an artificial intelligence program needs to function are data sets and algorithms. The data sets hold all of the information an AI can access, and the algorithms instruct the machine on how to process and what to do with said information. Designing, writing, testing, and optimizing these algorithms is the job of algorithm engineers. 

It’s a highly skilled and narrow field of AI with very competitive compensation—in the U.S. a typical salary range is $102,000-$275,000.

Data Scientist

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, Data Scientist

Data scientists can take on a range of roles and responsibilities. But in the case of AI, their role is to design and test predictive models that can make accurate projections based on large sets of data. These models are generally used in a business setting to help stakeholders inform their decisions.

The average annual salary for this role is $126,361 with salaries reaching up to $200,000.

Software Engineer

AI Engineer Salary, By Job Titles and Allied Roles, Software Engineer

It’s also possible for a software developer to specialize in AI applications and programs. In this role, they develop the software that artificial intelligence (AI) will power. The average salary for this role in the U.S. is $106,956 with the typical range extending to $136,000.

AI Engineer Salary – By Education

The level of education you earn before entering the workforce can also influence the kind of role you can land and the kind of salary you can earn. 

Bachelor’s Degree

AI Engineer Salary, By Education, Bachelor’s Degree

From entry-level roles to senior positions, the majority of artificial intelligence engineers and machine learning engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree. The typical majors include computer science, software engineering, mathematics, statistics, and information technology. Some companies, however, don’t have any education requirements and prefer experience to education.

Master’s Degree

AI Engineer Salary, By Education, Master’s Degree

With a master’s degree, you can apply and impress companies that are looking for highly-trained AI professionals. These positions are likely to include design and research rather than pure implementation, as those with less research and academic experience can take over these tasks.

Roles that list a master’s degree as a requirement or a preference tend to have high pay brackets, often $120,000 and up.

Ph.D.

AI Engineer Salary, By Education, Ph.D.

Roles that require a Ph.D. are often director positions, someone who can lead and shape the company’s AI vision. It’s not a guarantee that the highest level of education will get you the highest salary, as it depends on each company’s goals and values as well as the skills and value you bring. However, Ph.D. positions will typically come with a minimum salary of $100,000, regardless of location or industry.

AI Engineer Salary – By Location

In addition to your skills and education, location plays a huge part in your salary. In some cases, AI engineers in Silicon Valley can earn double the salary of someone in the same position in Europe. Occasionally, this can even be the case within the same company.

We will convert each salary into dollars but it’s important to remember that costs of living greatly differ in each region. 

USA

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, USA

The USA has an average salary of $127,939 for AI engineers across all levels and industries.

United Kingdom

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the average wage for an artificial intelligence engineer is £51,103, about $62,995.

South Africa

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, South Africa

In South Africa, artificial intelligence and machine learning engineers can expect to earn around ZAR 704,122, about $38,712.

India

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, India

The average salary for an AI engineer in India is around ₹1 million, about $12,181. 

Australia

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, Australia

Artificial intelligence engineers in Australia have an average salary range of A$100,000-A$133,000 per year, about $77,541.

France

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, France

In France, AI engineers will earn between €40,000-€68,000 on average. This translates to around $43,000-$73,000.

China

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, China

AI engineers in China earn an average of CN¥311,005, or $45,230.

Brazil

AI Engineer Salary, By Location, Brazil

In Brazil, the average monthly wage for an artificial intelligence or machine learning engineer is around R$9,269, or $1,788 in U.S. dollars. 

Factors Affecting AI Engineering Salaries

Factors Affecting AI Engineering Salaries

Many different things can affect your salary as an AI engineer.

Educational Background

Advanced degrees can help, but their value depends on the values of the company in question.

Skills

Your AI skills can help you both land a job and negotiate a higher salary. 

Location

Some cities and countries have bigger tech and AI industries than others. Countries with higher costs of living also tend to have higher salaries.

Organization

The company you work for also greatly affects the salary you receive. Different types of organizations all have different budgets for their AI staff. 

Experience

Depending on the company and the industry you’re working in, professional experience can be equally or more valuable than education. Proof that you’ve done the job before is more important to some hiring managers than proof that you attended a relevant university course.

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How Can You Improve Your AI Engineering Salary?

There are several things you can do to increase your value as an employee and negotiate higher salaries. 

Become a Specialist

As you progress down your career path, you can narrow your area of expertise and appeal to companies that are interested in the specific skills you can offer. In the field of AI, these include: 

  • Machine learning
  • Neural networks
  • Natural language processing
  • Robotics
  • Speech processing
  • Evolutionary computation
  • Linear algebra 

Go Where the Jobs (and Money) Are

If you’re willing to relocate, you will have a much better chance of maximizing your salary. Some cities simply pay more than others due to the number of AI companies and the competition that creates. Some of the best major cities for AI engineers include San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston. These cities do, however, have a higher cost of living, so make sure you factor that. 

Gain More Experience

Gaining experience is a great way to boost your salary. You can do this by taking part in community open-source projects, personal projects, taking artificial intelligence courses, taking on some freelance work, or engaging in other projects at your company. 

Build Your Network

AI engineering is a lucrative career path and you will come across many successful and high-paid professionals through your work. To increase your tech industry knowledge and grow your network, it’s best to connect with these individuals on platforms like LinkedIn.

Pursue a Relevant Certification

Certifications look great on your resume and also show motivation and professional development. For AI engineers, there are multiple IBM certificates and certifications that can help boost your value.

Ask for a Salary Review

If your company doesn’t have regular salary reviews, then ask for one if you feel like your compensation no longer matches your value. 

AI Engineer Salary FAQs

We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Is AI Engineering a Good Career?

Yes, artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a bigger part of our lives and integral to business success so the skills are currently in very high demand. It’s also a field with good job satisfaction and average compensation.

Are AI Engineers in High Demand?

Yes, the demand for AI specialists has continued to rise. The role placed 4th in LinkedIn’s jobs on the rise report for 2022.

Do AI Engineers Make Good Money?

In the United States, salary estimates for AI engineers are quite high, averaging around $127,000. For experienced engineers working at top companies, salaries can reach highs of $268,000.

Which Job Has the Highest Salary in AI?

Within the field of AI engineering, specialists who design and write AI algorithms typically make the most money. The average salary for an algorithm engineer in the United States ranges between $129,000-$218,000.

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About Monica J. White

Monica is a journalist with a lifelong interest in technology, from PC hardware to software and programming. She first started writing over ten years ago and has made a career out of it. Now, her focus is centered around technology and explaining complex concepts to a broader audience.