Learn AI in Mississippi: A Guide to Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs & Certificate-Level Training Courses Online & in Mississippi

mississippi network mapAs the world is being transformed by AI, leaders in Mississippi are taking a proactive, all-hands-on-deck approach.

Right now, K-12 teachers across the state are learning best practices for integrating STEM education in the classroom with an eye towards fostering a strong foundational understanding of AI fundamentals. The goal is to create a new generation of high school graduates for whom AI is almost second nature.

Leadership from multiple stakeholders –K-12 public schools, small businesses, and universities– have joined together to ensure Mississippi is fertile ground for AI. They see that right now the state’s commercial landscape is 99% small businesses, and half of all college graduates here end up leaving Mississippi for better career prospects in other states. This has to change.

And it is, thanks to investments made to ensure tech-savvy graduates here have access to local workforce opportunities. And with new startup tech incubators in Jackson and Gulfport, backed by local industry and academia, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Mississippi is finding its place as AI makes new inroads into key industries here, from defense manufacturing to Gulf fisheries.

And it’s not just computer programmers and data scientists whose livelihoods are being affected by AI. Even the head coach at Jackson State University is getting in on the AI revolution, using AI algorithms to augment football recruiting, making JSU the first HBCU in the nation to do so.

Mississippi is also breaking new ground when it comes to medical scans that take advantage of the latest developments in AI to improve patient outcomes.

Whether you’re getting started as an undergraduate in an AI-focused bachelor’s program or making the transition to graduate studies with a master’s in AI or post-bachelor’s certificate, earning a degree will put you ahead of the curve of the AI paradigm-shift unfolding now in Mississippi.

AI and the Gulf Blue Initiative

gulfport, ms mapOne of Mississippi’s most valuable resources is the Gulf, shaping the state’s economy and industrial base in shipping, defense, fishing, and petroleum products.

AI has beneficial applications in all these sectors, like it does in virtually every industry. It has the potential to lower pollution levels, protect wildlife, increase fishing efficiency, improve commercial shipping navigation, and enable safer oil extraction.

Mississippi recognizes this, which is why business, academia, and government have all united behind the Gulf Blue Initiative (GBI). Spearheaded by the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), this project is a maritime “blue” equivalent to a green development project.

The GBI has identified several key areas to focus on, all of which lean heavily on AI innovators:

  • Smart ports
  • Integration with satellites and sea systems
  • Coastal data science
  • Precision aquaculture
  • Submersible drones

Companies are already stepping up to the plate.

  • Gulfport’s Ocean Aero specializes in intelligent submersible drones.
  • AI Control Technologies focuses on aquaculture automation solutions.
  • SeaAhead envisions turning Mississippi’s Gulf Coast into a bluetech hub by investing in startups.

Scalable technology startups will be the secret sauce behind the success of the GBI, led by AI innovators and entrepreneurs. They will be the common denominator for improvements advanced by federal, state, university, and industry.

The GBI already has $17 million in investments and is projecting the need for 350 professionals to fill vacant jobs over the next five years.

Gulf Blue is strategic for Mississippi. Not only does it maximize sustainable development and practices among industry along the Gulf, but it also concentrates and develops Mississippi’s technological talent.

In many ways blue resources are untapped opportunities. The OECD estimates the fastest-growing ocean economy jobs by 2030 will be wind energy, port activities, fish processing, and marine aquaculture. The GBI is positioning Mississippi talent to assume leading roles as the future becomes the present. That’s great news for you if you’re considering an education in AI.

AI Jobs in Mississippi

Where in Mississippi can you find an 800,000 square-foot campus complete with a robotics lab, maker space, an electronics center, and a creative arts center? The Jackson (JXN) Tech District.

The brainchild of a former Amazon AI scientist who cashed in on a visual recognition technology startup company she sold in 2016, Nashlie Sephus is now investing in this new district ideally located at the site of an abandoned downtown factory on the well-trafficked borders of the JSU university district and the city’s business district. And she’s not the only one.

Once complete the JXN Tech District is slated to host tech education courses, commercial space, cultural events, collaborative workspaces, coffee shops, restaurants, residences, and finally: jobs in AI fields.

The JXN Tech District is just one example of how cities in Mississippi are embracing the exciting developments brought by AI innovations, jockeying to be regional leaders featuring organic talent in this new and bourgeoning field.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Jackson and Gulfport

As AI jobs become more prominent, you’ll have a leg up on your competition if you’re well versed in subjects like data science, software engineering, or robotics:

AI Companies in Jackson, Gulfport, and Starkville

In 2023 Starkville-based Camgian landed $17 million in contracts with the Department of Defense to develop AI and ML systems to automate battlefield military capabilities. The company is tasked with creating solutions for combat analysis and capability automation, based on the gathering and analysis of extensive amounts of data.

Jackson’s ppx-TEC takes health data management to the next level. It simplifies filling forms, provides a secure means of data transfers and storage, connects doctor’s office devices with Bluetooth, and can integrate with websites like the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Data (CMS). Rife with medical data, this company is priming itself for advanced AI applications.

Ocean Aero is a Gulfport-based drone submarine company looking to partner with energy, defense, and research clients. Its autonomous renewable-energy-powered underwater and surface vehicle (AUSV) collects data from above and below the water to be made available to its business partners on demand. Amenities offered include collision avoidance, water chemistry assessments, force multiplication, recovery, visual inspections, and more.

AI advancements in fields like data compression, image processing, and large language models are particularly relevant with the AUSV.

In general, the more you learn about AI and its applications, the more prepared you’ll be to assume a transformative role at any number of Mississippi’s leading tech startups.

AI Salary in Metro Gulfport and Southeast Mississippi

Based on 2022 US Department of Labor data for computer and information research scientists, the category most likely to include AI researchers and engineers, Mississippi AI professionals earn an average yearly salary of $104,870.

In the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula metro area specifically, AI professionals earn an average of $96,170 per year, and that number is $107,740 for those in non-metropolitan southwest Mississippi.

AI professionals towards the top of the salary pyramid (top 10%), where AI professionals most likely fall, earn annual salaries of at least:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Master’s Degree and Certificate Courses in Mississippi and Online

Mississippi State University (MSU) is offering undergraduate and graduate programs in key AI focus areas.

Faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi are poised to serve as key resources for students interested in researching AI. That goes double for students interested in participating in the Gulf Blue Initiative.

Jackson State University has teamed with the Mississippi AI Collaborative to promote a targeted infusion project aimed at developing an advanced understanding of STEM education pedagogy.

You can also find specialized programs in all facets of AI through online programs offered by schools throughout the country. In other words, there’s never been a more exciting time to study AI than right now!

Machine Learning Degree and Certificate Options in Oktibbeha County

MSU hosts an AI machine learning bootcamp that delivers 301 course-hours over six months. This self-paced program is part of the school’s Center for Continuing Education. It’s designed for data science professionals with some basic programming knowledge at the calculus-level of mathematics.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Computer Sciences and Computer Engineering is proud to host faculty who are engaged in machine learning, a practice key to advancing AI capabilities.

AI Robotics Degree and Certificate Options in Oktibbeha County

To foster development in this fast-growing field, every year Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering hosts an annual robotics competition. One of its faculty members won a 2021 National Science Foundation grant worth $500,000 to study AI systems’ lifelong learning abilities.

MSU is also home to the famous StaRS Lab, an acronym for Social, Therapeutic, and Robotic Systems. The institution describes itself as a lab dedicated to the study of human-robot interactions.

MSU’s Department of Industrial Technology, Instructional Design, and Community College Leadership is home to a BS degree in industrial technology with a concentration in industrial automation.

AI Computer Science Degree and Certificate Options in Oktibbeha County

MSU’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a concentration in AI, and a BS in data science. It also offers an MS in data science with the option to concentrate in fields like manufacturing analytics, geospatial science, or agricultural autonomy.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering has an MS and PhD program in computer science.

The University of Mississippi in Lafayette County has its own Institute for Data Science that sponsors related events and has connections to grants, partnerships, and research resources.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Hattiesburg and Oktibbeha County

MSU’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers a bachelor’s degree in software engineering.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering hosts an undergraduate degree in computer engineering, plus a certificate program in software engineering.