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9 essential degrees to kickstart your AI career

By Edvoy• Last updated: Nov 1, 2023
9 essential degrees to kickstart your AI career
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Did you know the enterprise AI market is projected to reach $155.2 billion by 2030?

Since the launch of groundbreaking AI technologies like ChatGPT, the AI landscape has been radically changing at an astonishing pace.

This rapid expansion is driving industries to adopt AI solutions for their operations, resulting in a high demand for skilled professionals who can harness the power of artificial intelligence.

With AI transforming the way we live and work, it's more important than ever for aspiring professionals to acquire the right knowledge and expertise. Choosing the best degree is a critical first step in building a successful AI career.

In this article, we'll delve into the top 9 degrees for a successful AI career, guiding you through the interdisciplinary nature of AI, helping you pinpoint degrees that align with your interests and goals, and shedding light on the skills and knowledge each degree offers.

Together, we'll navigate the ever-evolving educational landscape for AI professionals.

Also read: A step-by-step guide to crafting resumes and preparing for job interviews with ChatGPT for international students 

Computer Science

Diving into a computer science degree equips you with essential skills and knowledge that form the foundation of AI. As the bedrock of artificial intelligence, computer science is a natural starting point for aspiring AI professionals.

A computer science degree covers core topics such as programming, algorithms, data structures, and software engineering. These skills are crucial for developing and implementing AI solutions across various industries. Moreover, many computer science programs offer AI or machine learning specializations or electives, allowing students to tailor their education to their specific interests in the AI field. By understanding programming languages, developing algorithms, and mastering data structures, you'll gain the expertise needed to create cutting-edge AI systems.

For example, mastering programming languages like Python and TensorFlow is essential for building AI models, while a solid grasp of algorithms enables you to create efficient solutions for complex AI problems.

When choosing a computer science program, look for institutions that offer AI-focused courses or specialisations. This will ensure that your education is tailored to your career goals and help you stand out in the competitive AI job market.

Also read: 6 reasons why you should study Computer Science at University College Cork 

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Data Science

Data science degrees emphasize the skills needed to understand, interpret, and present complex data, which is a vital aspect of AI development. By pursuing a data science degree, you'll be well-equipped to work with AI applications that rely on data-driven insights.

Data science programs typically cover subjects such as data analysis, interpretation, visualization, and machine learning techniques. These skills are central to AI development, as they enable professionals to extract meaningful insights from large volumes of data, optimize AI models, and communicate their findings effectively. As AI systems continue to rely on big data to learn and make decisions, expertise in data science becomes increasingly valuable.

For instance, a data scientist working in AI might develop algorithms to predict customer behavior based on historical data or create visualizations to help stakeholders understand the impact of AI-driven recommendations.

When applying, stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in AI. The field of AI is constantly evolving, so it's essential to stay current with the latest research and trends. Subscribe to industry publications, attend AI conferences and seminars, and participate in online forums and communities to stay informed and connected.

Also read: Top 10 universities to study big data analytics in the UK 


Mathematics plays a crucial role in AI development, and a degree in mathematics provides the solid foundation needed to excel in advanced AI research and applications.

AI development depends on mathematical concepts such as linear algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics. These areas are fundamental to creating and understanding AI models and algorithms. By pursuing a mathematics degree, you'll develop the analytical and problem-solving skills necessary for AI research, enabling you to design efficient and accurate AI systems.

For example, linear algebra is critical for understanding neural networks, while probability and statistics play a significant role in the development of Bayesian models and decision-making algorithms.

Electrical Engineering

An electrical engineering degree offers a strong foundation in key areas like signal processing, control systems, and robotics, all of which contribute to the development and implementation of AI technologies.

Electrical engineering programs cover subjects such as signal processing, control systems, and robotics, which are essential aspects of AI. Signal processing helps in extracting and interpreting information from various data sources, while control systems are integral to the development of autonomous systems and AI-driven devices. Robotics, on the other hand, combines AI with mechanical engineering principles to create intelligent machines that can interact with their environment.

For instance, an electrical engineer might develop algorithms for speech recognition using signal processing techniques or design control systems for a self-driving car to navigate complex environments safely.

When selecting an electrical engineering program, consider those that offer AI-focused electives or specializations, such as robotics or machine learning. This will ensure that your education is tailored to your AI career goals and provide a competitive edge in the job market.

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Cognitive Science

Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field that investigates the nature of intelligence and cognition, offering valuable insights into the workings of both human and artificial intelligence systems.

A degree in cognitive science covers topics such as psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and philosophy, providing a unique perspective on the processes underlying human and artificial intelligence. This interdisciplinary approach fosters a deeper understanding of how AI systems can be designed to mimic and enhance human cognitive abilities, leading to more effective and human-like AI solutions.

For example, a cognitive scientist might study the processes behind human decision-making and apply that knowledge to create AI algorithms that make more natural and context-aware choices.

To make the most of your cognitive science education, engage in research projects or internships that focus on AI applications. This hands-on experience will not only deepen your understanding of AI but also allow you to apply your cognitive science knowledge to real-world problems, making you a more versatile and sought-after professional in the AI field.


Physics plays a significant role in AI research, with concepts from the field being applied to the development of cutting-edge reinforcement learning and optimization algorithms. A physics degree equips you with a strong foundation to excel in these areas.

A degree in physics offers a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental laws and principles governing the natural world. This knowledge can be applied to AI research, particularly in areas like reinforcement learning and optimization algorithms, where understanding complex systems and developing efficient solutions is crucial. By building a strong foundation in physics, you can contribute to the development of advanced AI technologies.

For instance, concepts from statistical mechanics and thermodynamics are used to design advanced optimization algorithms, while the study can inform reinforcement learning techniques of physical systems and their behaviors.

To fully harness the potential of your physics degree in AI, consider attending workshops, conferences, or seminars that focus on the intersection of physics and AI. Networking and learning from professionals in both fields will help you identify opportunities for collaboration and stay up-to-date on the latest advancements at the crossroads of these disciplines.

Also read: Top 6 universities to study Physics abroad

Applied Mathematics/Statistics

Degrees in applied mathematics and statistics provide practical, hands-on exposure to key components of AI, such as machine learning, optimization, and probabilistic modeling.

Applied mathematics and statistics programs emphasize the practical application of mathematical concepts to real-world problems, often including coursework on machine learning, optimization, and probabilistic modeling. These subjects are integral to AI development, as they enable professionals to create and refine AI models, develop efficient algorithms, and predict outcomes based on data analysis.

For example, an applied mathematician or statistician might use optimization techniques to enhance the performance of a machine learning model or employ probabilistic modeling to predict the success of AI-driven marketing campaigns.

To maximize the value of your applied mathematics or statistics degree in AI, consider developing a strong coding background, particularly in popular AI programming languages like Python or R. Combining your mathematical expertise with programming skills will allow you to implement your knowledge effectively in the AI field, making you a more versatile and valuable professional

Also read: Best universities for AI courses


A degree in neuroscience offers valuable insights into the neural mechanisms that underpin intelligence, helping you understand the biological basis of learning and decision-making in AI systems.

Neuroscience focuses on the study of the nervous system, including the brain and its functions. By pursuing a degree in neuroscience, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the neural processes that drive learning, memory, and decision-making. This knowledge can be applied to AI research, particularly in areas like neural networks and biologically-inspired AI systems, where understanding the brain's inner workings can lead to more efficient and advanced AI solutions.

For instance, a neuroscientist might investigate the neural basis of learning and apply that knowledge to develop more effective training algorithms for artificial neural networks, enabling AI systems to learn faster and with greater accuracy.

To make the most of your neuroscience degree in AI, consider collaborating with AI researchers on interdisciplinary projects or joining a research lab focused on the intersection of neuroscience and AI. These experiences will allow you to apply your expertise in neuroscience directly to AI research, fostering innovation and boosting your career prospects in the field.


A degree in linguistics provides an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of human language, which is invaluable for the development of NLP algorithms, a major subfield of AI.

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, encompassing its structure, usage, and evolution. By pursuing a linguistics degree, you'll develop the expertise needed to comprehend the complexities of human language, which is vital for the development of advanced NLP algorithms. NLP is a key area of AI, focused on enabling machines to understand, interpret, and generate human language, and linguistics plays a crucial role in enhancing the capabilities of NLP systems.

For example, a linguist might analyze the grammatical structure of a language and use that knowledge to develop more accurate and efficient parsing algorithms for NLP systems, helping them better understand the nuances of human communication.

To enhance the relevance of your linguistics degree in AI, consider taking online courses or completing certifications in NLP, machine learning, or programming languages commonly used in AI, such as Python. Acquiring these additional skills before entering the job market will help you demonstrate your commitment to AI and NLP, making you a more competitive candidate for AI-related positions.

Also read: 5 things you should know about studying linguistics

A Short Video about Degrees to Kickstart Your Career in AI


The AI market is booming, and now's the time to jump in. We've covered nine top degrees for an AI career, from computer science to linguistics. Each one offers unique skills and insights to help you succeed in the AI world.

Remember, choosing a degree is just the start. Keep learning, networking, and applying your knowledge to real-life situations. Your AI journey is a lifelong adventure.

Ready to kick off your AI career? Head to Edvoy, a platform that makes searching and applying for degrees easy. It'll help you find the perfect program to match your goals and interests.

On Edvoy, you'll discover top schools offering AI-focused courses in the degrees we mentioned. Plus, you'll get personalized recommendations to find the perfect fit.

Don't wait. Start your search on Edvoy today and launch your exciting AI career. The future is calling!

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degrees for ai
artificial intelligence
data science
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