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Top 5 Deep Learning Frameworks for 2024

5 minute read | May 13, 2019

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To stay competitive today, more companies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve their services, offering predictive personalization and smart solutions to customers. But not all businesses have the technical prowess, capability, or manpower to create—or even understand—conventional AI and machine learning processes well enough to implement them.

Fortunately, some brilliant minds have created and generously open-sourced several deep learning frameworks that can be easily integrated by people with little to no knowledge of machine learning technology. Thanks to these frameworks, you can easily upload your data and train a deep learning model to perform accurate and intuitive predictive analysis for you. Even for skilled researchers and Ph.D.-wielding data scientists, these frameworks can dramatically improve speed and productivity.

RelatedAI vs. Machine Learning vs. Deep Learning

So let’s take a look at some of the best deep learning frameworks.

1. TensorFlow

TensorFlow

Created by the researchers at Google, TensorFlow is by far one of the most popular deep learning frameworks and has been adopted by the likes of Airbnb, Intel, and Twitter. It’s been around since 2015, so it has an active and thriving community, constantly supplying support and updates. It is also one of the most popular framework in the field of data science.

It has the most GitHub activity and learning resources, making it relatively easy for people to learn. TensorFlow also happens to be the most used framework by developers right now, which means finding experienced deep learning developers to work on a project will be easier. It is also very popular among data scientists for creating dataflow graph. Add to it the comprehensive documentation by Google and support for multiple languages, including C++, Python, and R, and you have a really comprehensive package for deep learning, leaving no reason why it wouldn’t be a great option for you.

2. PyTorch

PyTorch

PyTorch is younger than TensorFlow but is racing ahead in popularity rather quickly. Coming from another powerhouse, Facebook, PyTorch has managed to garner massive interest in the developer community due to its flexibility and customizability. As of now, it is the second most popular standalone framework and could very well take over the top spot.

It builds on Torch, a scientific computing framework that is used to train and develop deep neural networks and perform tensor computations. It makes use of CUDA and C/C++ libraries to build robust yet flexible models scalable to each business. The PyTorch framework is built with a clean architectural style, making the process of training and developing deep learning models easy to learn and execute.

3. Keras

Keras

Keras is another deep learning framework that is seeing widespread and rapid adoption among developers, not just in the U.S. but on a global scale. One of the reasons behind its swift and worldwide popularity is its beginner-friendliness. It has a lightweight architecture, making it straightforward and easy to use. It runs on Python and supports recurrent as well as convolutional networks. This makes it ready to run on both TensorFlow as well as Theano.

In fact, the very reason Keras was built was to mitigate the challenges experienced while using TensorFlow, such as an intricate, low-level library and a slightly difficult interface. Keras can run on top of TensorFlow to provide a simpler interface. It requires very little code and is one of the easiest frameworks for beginners to work with.

4. Caffe

Caffe

Lauded for its speed, Caffe can process more than 60 million images every day with just a single NVIDIA K40 GPU. This makes it one of the most loved deep learning frameworks for image recognition. It works with C, C++, Python, MATLAB and even CLI. Its expressive architecture allows for training neural nets without hard coding and its extensible code encourages active development.

On tasks like simple regression, large-scale visual classification, speech and robotics applications, and even Siamese networks for image similarity, Caffe has adequate pretrained networks and models that can get the job done easily. As a note, though, Caffe does seem to be a tad weak when it comes to language modeling and recurrent networks.

5. Deeplearning4j

Deeplearning4j

For all those who swear by Java, Deeplearning4j is the perfect deep learning framework. Since it is implemented in Java, it is, many believe, even more efficient than Python. It lets you bring together the entire Java ecosystem and it can be administered over Hadoop or Spark, allowing the orchestration of multiple host threads. Also, since it uses MapReduce, it can train the neural networks even while depending on other libraries.

Some of the biggest strengths of Deeplearning4j are parallel training through iterative reduce, an industry-focused and distributed deep learning platform, and micro-service architecture.  It works incredibly fast at image recognition when using multiple GPUs and has immense possibilities in text mining, fraud detection, natural language processing, and speech tagging.

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Honorable Mention

While these five deep learning frameworks are probably the most popular ones right now, there are a few others that have niche followings in the deep learning community and offer some fantastic advantages. Theano was developed way back in 2007 at the University of Montreal and is probably one of the oldest deep learning frameworks that’s still active. It lost some of its popularity after it declared that there would be no further releases, but the dedicated fan base continues to use it and updates continue.

Apache MXNET is backed by Apache and currently used by the tech giant Amazon. It still has a vibrant community. Microsoft CNTK is another open-source unified deep learning framework. It supports both convolutional and recurrent neural networks and provides respectable performance and scalability. Another intuitive and dynamic framework is Chainer, which actually lets you modify the networks during runtime and is primarily used for sentiment analysis, speech recognition, and machine translation.

Conclusion

So there you have it: the top five deep open source deep learning frameworks as well as others that come close. If you’re a beginner hoping to train your machine learning models in-house, you could go with Keras. If you are a purist and need things done the classic way, TensorFlow it is. If the modernity of everything that comes out of Facebook fascinates you, PyTorch is definitely the future. If speedy image recognition is your need, consider Caffe. Carefully analyze what your priorities are and choose a framework that best supports your goals.

Companies are no longer just collecting data. They’re seeking to use it to outpace competitors, especially with the rise of AI and advanced analytics techniques. Between organizations and these techniques are the data scientists – the experts who crunch numbers and translate them into actionable strategies. The future, it seems, belongs to those who can decipher the story hidden within the data, making the role of data scientists more important than ever.

In this article, we’ll look at 13 careers in data science, analyzing the roles and responsibilities and how to land that specific job in the best way. Whether you’re more drawn out to the creative side or interested in the strategy planning part of data architecture, there’s a niche for you. 

Is Data Science A Good Career?

Yes. Besides being a field that comes with competitive salaries, the demand for data scientists continues to increase as they have an enormous impact on their organizations. It’s an interdisciplinary field that keeps the work varied and interesting.

10 Data Science Careers To Consider

Whether you want to change careers or land your first job in the field, here are 13 of the most lucrative data science careers to consider.

Data Scientist

Data scientists represent the foundation of the data science department. At the core of their role is the ability to analyze and interpret complex digital data, such as usage statistics, sales figures, logistics, or market research – all depending on the field they operate in.

They combine their computer science, statistics, and mathematics expertise to process and model data, then interpret the outcomes to create actionable plans for companies. 

General Requirements

A data scientist’s career starts with a solid mathematical foundation, whether it’s interpreting the results of an A/B test or optimizing a marketing campaign. Data scientists should have programming expertise (primarily in Python and R) and strong data manipulation skills. 

Although a university degree is not always required beyond their on-the-job experience, data scientists need a bunch of data science courses and certifications that demonstrate their expertise and willingness to learn.

Average Salary

The average salary of a data scientist in the US is $156,363 per year.

Data Analyst

A data analyst explores the nitty-gritty of data to uncover patterns, trends, and insights that are not always immediately apparent. They collect, process, and perform statistical analysis on large datasets and translate numbers and data to inform business decisions.

A typical day in their life can involve using tools like Excel or SQL and more advanced reporting tools like Power BI or Tableau to create dashboards and reports or visualize data for stakeholders. With that in mind, they have a unique skill set that allows them to act as a bridge between an organization’s technical and business sides.

General Requirements

To become a data analyst, you should have basic programming skills and proficiency in several data analysis tools. A lot of data analysts turn to specialized courses or data science bootcamps to acquire these skills. 

For example, Coursera offers courses like Google’s Data Analytics Professional Certificate or IBM’s Data Analyst Professional Certificate, which are well-regarded in the industry. A bachelor’s degree in fields like computer science, statistics, or economics is standard, but many data analysts also come from diverse backgrounds like business, finance, or even social sciences.

Average Salary

The average base salary of a data analyst is $76,892 per year.

Business Analyst

Business analysts often have an essential role in an organization, driving change and improvement. That’s because their main role is to understand business challenges and needs and translate them into solutions through data analysis, process improvement, or resource allocation. 

A typical day as a business analyst involves conducting market analysis, assessing business processes, or developing strategies to address areas of improvement. They use a variety of tools and methodologies, like SWOT analysis, to evaluate business models and their integration with technology.

General Requirements

Business analysts often have related degrees, such as BAs in Business Administration, Computer Science, or IT. Some roles might require or favor a master’s degree, especially in more complex industries or corporate environments.

Employers also value a business analyst’s knowledge of project management principles like Agile or Scrum and the ability to think critically and make well-informed decisions.

Average Salary

A business analyst can earn an average of $84,435 per year.

Database Administrator

The role of a database administrator is multifaceted. Their responsibilities include managing an organization’s database servers and application tools. 

A DBA manages, backs up, and secures the data, making sure the database is available to all the necessary users and is performing correctly. They are also responsible for setting up user accounts and regulating access to the database. DBAs need to stay updated with the latest trends in database management and seek ways to improve database performance and capacity. As such, they collaborate closely with IT and database programmers.

General Requirements

Becoming a database administrator typically requires a solid educational foundation, such as a BA degree in data science-related fields. Nonetheless, it’s not all about the degree because real-world skills matter a lot. Aspiring database administrators should learn database languages, with SQL being the key player. They should also get their hands dirty with popular database systems like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. 

Average Salary

Database administrators earn an average salary of $77,391 annually.

Data Engineer

Successful data engineers construct and maintain the infrastructure that allows the data to flow seamlessly. Besides understanding data ecosystems on the day-to-day, they build and oversee the pipelines that gather data from various sources so as to make data more accessible for those who need to analyze it (e.g., data analysts).

General Requirements

Data engineering is a role that demands not just technical expertise in tools like SQL, Python, and Hadoop but also a creative problem-solving approach to tackle the complex challenges of managing massive amounts of data efficiently. 

Usually, employers look for credentials like university degrees or advanced data science courses and bootcamps.

Average Salary

Data engineers earn a whooping average salary of $125,180 per year.

Database Architect

A database architect’s main responsibility involves designing the entire blueprint of a data management system, much like an architect who sketches the plan for a building. They lay down the groundwork for an efficient and scalable data infrastructure. 

Their day-to-day work is a fascinating mix of big-picture thinking and intricate detail management. They decide how to store, consume, integrate, and manage data by different business systems.

General Requirements

If you’re aiming to excel as a database architect but don’t necessarily want to pursue a degree, you could start honing your technical skills. Become proficient in database systems like MySQL or Oracle, and learn data modeling tools like ERwin. Don’t forget programming languages – SQL, Python, or Java. 

If you want to take it one step further, pursue a credential like the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) or the Data Science Bootcamp by Springboard.

Average Salary

Data architecture is a very lucrative career. A database architect can earn an average of $165,383 per year.

Machine Learning Engineer

A machine learning engineer experiments with various machine learning models and algorithms, fine-tuning them for specific tasks like image recognition, natural language processing, or predictive analytics. Machine learning engineers also collaborate closely with data scientists and analysts to understand the requirements and limitations of data and translate these insights into solutions. 

General Requirements

As a rule of thumb, machine learning engineers must be proficient in programming languages like Python or Java, and be familiar with machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow or PyTorch. To successfully pursue this career, you can either choose to undergo a degree or enroll in courses and follow a self-study approach.

Average Salary

Depending heavily on the company’s size, machine learning engineers can earn between $125K and $187K per year, one of the highest-paying AI careers.

Quantitative Analyst

Qualitative analysts are essential for financial institutions, where they apply mathematical and statistical methods to analyze financial markets and assess risks. They are the brains behind complex models that predict market trends, evaluate investment strategies, and assist in making informed financial decisions. 

They often deal with derivatives pricing, algorithmic trading, and risk management strategies, requiring a deep understanding of both finance and mathematics.

General Requirements

This data science role demands strong analytical skills, proficiency in mathematics and statistics, and a good grasp of financial theory. It always helps if you come from a finance-related background. 

Average Salary

A quantitative analyst earns an average of $173,307 per year.

Data Mining Specialist

A data mining specialist uses their statistics and machine learning expertise to reveal patterns and insights that can solve problems. They swift through huge amounts of data, applying algorithms and data mining techniques to identify correlations and anomalies. In addition to these, data mining specialists are also essential for organizations to predict future trends and behaviors.

General Requirements

If you want to land a career in data mining, you should possess a degree or have a solid background in computer science, statistics, or a related field. 

Average Salary

Data mining specialists earn $109,023 per year.

Data Visualisation Engineer

Data visualisation engineers specialize in transforming data into visually appealing graphical representations, much like a data storyteller. A big part of their day involves working with data analysts and business teams to understand the data’s context. 

General Requirements

Data visualization engineers need a strong foundation in data analysis and be proficient in programming languages often used in data visualization, such as JavaScript, Python, or R. A valuable addition to their already-existing experience is a bit of expertise in design principles to allow them to create visualizations.

Average Salary

The average annual pay of a data visualization engineer is $103,031.

Resources To Find Data Science Jobs

The key to finding a good data science job is knowing where to look without procrastinating. To make sure you leverage the right platforms, read on.

Job Boards

When hunting for data science jobs, both niche job boards and general ones can be treasure troves of opportunity. 

Niche boards are created specifically for data science and related fields, offering listings that cut through the noise of broader job markets. Meanwhile, general job boards can have hidden gems and opportunities.

Online Communities

Spend time on platforms like Slack, Discord, GitHub, or IndieHackers, as they are a space to share knowledge, collaborate on projects, and find job openings posted by community members.

Network And LinkedIn

Don’t forget about socials like LinkedIn or Twitter. The LinkedIn Jobs section, in particular, is a useful resource, offering a wide range of opportunities and the ability to directly reach out to hiring managers or apply for positions. Just make sure not to apply through the “Easy Apply” options, as you’ll be competing with thousands of applicants who bring nothing unique to the table.

FAQs about Data Science Careers

We answer your most frequently asked questions.

Do I Need A Degree For Data Science?

A degree is not a set-in-stone requirement to become a data scientist. It’s true many data scientists hold a BA’s or MA’s degree, but these just provide foundational knowledge. It’s up to you to pursue further education through courses or bootcamps or work on projects that enhance your expertise. What matters most is your ability to demonstrate proficiency in data science concepts and tools.

Does Data Science Need Coding?

Yes. Coding is essential for data manipulation and analysis, especially knowledge of programming languages like Python and R.

Is Data Science A Lot Of Math?

It depends on the career you want to pursue. Data science involves quite a lot of math, particularly in areas like statistics, probability, and linear algebra.

What Skills Do You Need To Land an Entry-Level Data Science Position?

To land an entry-level job in data science, you should be proficient in several areas. As mentioned above, knowledge of programming languages is essential, and you should also have a good understanding of statistical analysis and machine learning. Soft skills are equally valuable, so make sure you’re acing problem-solving, critical thinking, and effective communication.

Since you’re here…Are you interested in this career track? Investigate with our free guide to what a data professional actually does. When you’re ready to build a CV that will make hiring managers melt, join our Data Science Bootcamp which will help you land a job or your tuition back!


Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at The 20 Media, a content marketing agency that specializes in data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing and loves to read and write about AI, machine learning, data science, and other emerging technologies. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and listening to music. Connect with him on Twitter @belanigaurav.

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