Artificial Intelligence Analyst Salary and Jobs Guide

Written by Scott Wilson

ai analyst job

Analysis is a fundamental part of any complex undertaking. Someone has to break down all the pieces, look at them in perspective, and think long and hard about where it’s all going and what things will look like when they get there.

There’s no more complex effort in the modern world than the work of building and using artificial intelligence. Creating thinking machines comes with all kinds of benefits, pitfalls, unexpected challenges, and apparent brick walls.

At the same time, AI itself is offering powerful new tools for performing analysis. In fact, the whole world of data science was built on top of machine learning algorithms that emerged from AI research.

There is a lot to scrutinize at the intersection of AI and data analytics, and AI analysts are the ones to do it.

What Is an AI Analyst?

AI analysts are individuals who have one foot in the world of artificial intelligence research and development and the other in general social and business considerations.

Different from AI careers that are in some way related to the development of artificial intelligence and AI applications, the role of the analyst is to look deeply into current trends and capabilities and work out the implications. They may specifically be tasked with:

If there’s a question you can think of about artificial intelligence, chances are an analyst somewhere is working on answering it.

These positions show up in companies, both inside and outside the AI industry, under a variety of different titles:

Analysts commonly work as AI consultants, but are also permanent employees at many major corporations.

With AI coming on strong and having implications for just about every industry, AI analysts are critical to figuring out the best way forward.

What Does an AI Data Analyst Do?

crunching numbersThe daily work of an AI analyst can be as varied as the industry they work in or the kind of issues they are working on.

It’s a job that involves both number crunching and creativity. But it starts with research. Analysts can only build conclusions out of data. So they will spend plenty of time keeping up to speed on the latest developments in both AI and the areas in which it will have an impact.

That involves a lot of meetings and discussions with other experts. They may sift data both internally in their organization or from public sources.

In some cases, AI data analysts may be halfway to being data scientists with the depth and complexity of their investigative efforts.

Of course, identifying key information and developing ideas and predictions does no good if those results aren’t communicated. So AI analysts also have to create reports, presentations, and communicate their findings to executives and other parties in the organization.

Working with generative AI, analysts of another stripe may use their knowledge of such systems to interpret and generate better results than other staff or executives. In fact, most management analysis jobs are likely to move in this direction in the future. They will require some level of familiarity and training on AI systems.

How to Become a Data Analyst in AI

soaking up informationWhile AI analysis can be a fun job, it’s also a tough one. Analysts are expected to come up with ideas no one else has had yet and develop insights from data that requires a lot of processing to get through.

That makes getting a college education in AI the first step on every path to an AI analyst position. A four-year bachelor’s is your first step toward any analyst position. It helps build your general knowledge as well as specific skillsets in evaluation and analysis.

What are those skills? Well, communication skills are right at the top of the must-have qualities for an analyst. You have to be able to elicit information from people and communicate your findings clearly and concisely.

Reasoning and logic are also areas you’ll have to master. Statistical analysis almost always plays a role in AI data analyst positions. Finally, strategic theory and planning is often crucial for understanding and pointing out major and minor implications in AI systems.

Experience is a common requirement for these jobs. It’s unusual for anyone to come right out of college and start kicking out industry-shaking insights. Usually, you need to spend time around your subject material and absorb the way things are working on the ground first.

You can often gain experience in junior analyst jobs, working at the coal face under the supervision of more senior analysts.

Industry specialization is more-or-less a must for AI analysts. While you need to know a lot about AI, you also need to understand the ins and outs of the area in which you are evaluating its use. This is really the key piece of the puzzle for analysts. When you can give executives, investors, and product managers insights they couldn’t otherwise develop in a particular field, that’s when you’re worth your weight in gold.

AI Analyst Salary Levels Are Likely to Rise as the Technology Spreads

How much gold, exactly? Well, it’s tough to draw any clear lines in AI analyst compensation.

There aren’t a lot of AI analysts working in the field just yet. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has no separate category for either the AI industry or AI analysts themselves.

BLS puts all analysts in the overall category of management analyst. In many cases, people working in the job are simply finding that AI is now in their focus no matter what their area of expertise was previously. But it’s a good bet that the analysts landing those assignments are the ones who have more experience and higher levels of technical education.

For 2022, the top ten percent of those positions earned $167,650 or more per year.

Naturally, that number is likely to vary across industries, depending on the importance of AI in the near term. And it fluctuates from region to region, based on cost-of-living expenses and population concentration.

As demand increases and AI continues to integrate into business and society more broadly, though, you can expect that number to keep climbing.

Getting the Right College Degree to Become an AI Analyst

speaker in convention roomWhile a college education is a must-have credential in AI analysis, many organizations aren’t all that picky about what kind of degree that is. In many cases, you can start off at the grunt level with only a bachelor’s degree. But your major can be in anything from HR to Mathematics.

A Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence will get you set up with the kind of expertise in AI to make your analyses worth reading. But at the same time, it may be too narrow for the full spectrum of experiences analysts need to bring to bear. A Bachelor of Arts in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will include much of the same AI/ML training, but with a stronger set of classes in social sciences, communication, and the arts to help you develop additional perspectives.

AI is a complex field, of course, and while a bachelor’s is a must-have to get you started in analyst jobs, it’s career limiting to stop there. Moving on to more advanced studies like a Master of Business Administration in AI or a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics with an AI Graduate Certificate gives you additional expertise in both AI and its impacts in other areas.

Is Professional Certification a Good Idea for AI Analysts?

talking businessProfessional certifications, as opposed to educational certificates, are more about demonstrating qualifications in certain focused or technical areas. That means most of the AI certification options in the market today aren’t really aimed at analysts.

However, some of the more general certifications aimed at business professionals could help your resume stand out from the crowd. The Certified Artificial Intelligence Professional from the Global Association for Quality Management, for instance, offers a general set of evaluations around AI strategy, ethics, and social issues that could all be applicable in analyst jobs.

For the most part, though, analysts sink or swim on the basis of their ideas and reasoning. Not unlike artificial intelligence itself, you’ll need to show that you can think quickly, spot trends that other people can’t, and communicate your analysis clearly and accurately.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Management Analysts reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed December 2023.