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

Written by Rebecca Turley

learning ai in new york with chatbot

Empire AI… Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

In a world where artificial intelligence is capturing the lion’s share of research and development and tumbling into commercial applications at a rapid-fire rate, New York is determined to stand out as a leader. Enter Empire AI – the state’s newest consortium that’s designed to secure New York’s position as a trailblazer in artificial intelligence.

Armed with more than $400 million in public and private funding, Empire AI is where New York’s leading universities and research institutions will come together to create a roadmap for artificial intelligence for the Empire State. The founding members of the consortium include Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY, CUNY, and the Simons Foundation.

Together, the members of the consortium will create a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center that will serve a number of purposes: (1) to promote responsible research and development in the field; (2) to create jobs; and (3) to explore the use of artificial intelligence for the public good. The consortium will work alongside partners in the public and private sectors to harness the power of AI and ensure that its development remains focused on responsible innovation.

As a hub of research and development, Empire AI will be vital for helping colleges and universities incubate tech startups. The collaboration between universities will create unmatched research ventures, which will also attract distinguished faculty and top researchers.

This monumental effort comes on the heels of a recent surge in tech development in the state. For example, in October 2022, Micron Technology announced plans to build a cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing campus in Onondaga County. Once complete, it will be one of the largest economic development projects in U.S. history. The company will invest up to $100 billion over the next 20 years. The first half of the plan, which will be completed by the end of the decade, will create some 50,000 jobs throughout the state.

And in October 2023, the University of Albany and IBM Joint Investment announced the creation of the Center for Emerging Artificial Intelligence Systems (CEAIS), a research group that will focus on AI research, education, policy, and workforce development. This $20 million initiative will inspire new AI research projects, expand access to AI supercomputing resources, and become an academic test bed for some of the latest IBM technology.

New York State is, of course, anchored by New York City, which is home to the world’s second most valuable tech ecosystem. Responsible for 330,000 jobs throughout the region and valued at $147 billion, NYC’s technology sector is a behemoth. Supported by world-class universities and research labs, NYC is home to 13 percent of the AI workforce in the United States.

In short, opportunities in AI in New York are simply unmatched. But you’ll need a degree if you want to position yourself as a serious contender in this field. Whether you’re looking for a foundational bachelor’s degree in the field, or you already have a strong background in a filed like computer science or data science and plan on focusing or refocusing your career on artificial intelligence, you’ll find the right AI degree at the right level here in New York.

NYC and AI: A Match Made in High-Tech Heaven

ai in the nyc skylineNew York City is forever on the frontlines of the next big thing, which is why artificial intelligence has been a natural fit for the Big Apple.

Chances are good that whether you’re grabbing the subway to go downtown, or you’re taking a stroll through Times Square, you’ll be met with artificial-powered technology. It’s not just relegated to research labs and universities (although it’s making serious inroads there, too); it’s being implemented in everything from real estate to construction, uncovering the growing potential of this marvel in technology.

Robot Realtors

NYC real estate has become the landing ground for bots. Complete with names like Emily, Brook, and Maya, real estate AI assistants are helping people find homes and apartments.

These cutting-edge “robot realtors” are conversing with property hunters who are none the wiser… that is, until they show up to a property only to find out that “Emily” was just an AI assistant. Their human-like responsiveness is so effective that they’re being used to sell more than 30,000 apartments in 250 buildings throughout the city. They provide answers, set dates for showings, and even hand out a compliment or two along the way.

While these robot realtors are used primarily during off-hours when most real estate agents are unavailable, they have become indispensable tools for satisfying apartment hunters and easing the workload of busy agents.

Subway Fare Policing Goes High-Tech

Think you can evade paying your subway fare? Think again. New York City has begun rolling out a new AI-powered surveillance system that’s designed to help law enforcement catch fare evasion.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) reported a loss of $690 million in 2022 due to fare evasion.

Right now, it’s been implemented in seven subway stations, although the MTA notes that it plans to add it to more stations starting in late 2023.

Though the MTA plans to keep the technology under wraps, including how it works, they are currently just using it as a counting tool to determine how many people are avoiding fares and how they’re doing it. The AI technology works with the transit system’s more than 10,000 surveillance cameras.

Buildots: The Next Big Thing in Construction Technology

Manhattan’s newest Columbus Circle construction project has become the site of a cutting-edge AI construction tool called Buildots – the first project in the city to use it.

At twenty-six stories, 298 feet fall, and nearly 197,000 square feet, a residential and commercial project of this size calls for advanced technology that can direct the construction process. That’s where Buildots come in.

Here’s how it works: site data is captured by using helmet-mounted 360-degree cameras. It’s then analyzed using unique AI algorithms, with the results providing the project management team with current progress reports.

Buildots is already being used with success on sites across the world. Major global construction firms have adopted the technology and found it unvaluable for achieving maximum efficiency and transparency during the construction process. Using Buildots, costs are minimized, resources are used responsibly, and the pace of construction is accelerated.

AI Jobs in New York

According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce, net tech jobs in New York totaled 535,000, accounting for about 5.5 percent of the state’s total workforce. There were about 25,000 tech establishments in the state during this time.

Between 2021 and 2022, New York reported a 3.6 percent increase in tech jobs, which equated to about 18,500 jobs. Between 2022 and 2023, CompTIA noted another increase of 2.6 percent, or about 13,700 jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for New York AI scientists and engineers, who are categorized as computer information and research scientists, are projected to grow by an impressive 35 percent in the decade leading up to 2030.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in New York City, Albany, Utica, and Rensselaer

Across business, industry, and academia, New York is home to outstanding opportunities for scientists and engineers in artificial intelligence.

New York City

Upstate New York

AI Companies in NYC, Buffalo, Stony Brook, and Ithaca

Artificial intelligence has quickly become New York City’s darling. In recent years, Apple, Amazon, Facebook (Meta), and Google alone have together invested in some three and a half million square feet of office space in the city, largely to increase their AI-fueled efforts.

And business is booming among AI startups, with more than 25,000 tech-enabled startups, more than 200 tech co-working spaces, and more than 100 accelerators and incubators located here.

In 2022 alone, generative AI startups in New York raised nearly $484 million over 28 funding rounds. That’s a seismic increase since 2018, when they raised just $41 million across eight funding rounds. Two Sigma remains the leader among venture capital firms in New York City, followed by Remarkable Ventures, HBS Alumni Angels New York, Partnership Fund for New York City, Coatue Management, and Betaworks Ventures.

A number of leading VC firms have also made the move to New York in recent years. Sequoia, Index, and Andreesen Horowitz all opened offices in NYC since 2021. AlleyCorp alone invested $41 million in 2022 for a six-story property to house its startups.

According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the Big Apple isn’t just giving the famed Bay Area a run for its money, it’s surpassed it. As of May 2023, Manhattan had the most early-stage startups in the nation, with many in the emerging tech fields of AI, fintech, and cybersecurity.

Some of the most influential AI startups in NYC based on funding as of November-December 2023 include:

Industry and academic AI labs are also an important component of New York City’s AI sector. It’s where you’ll find prestigious industry labs like the Fundamental AI Research (FAIR) team at Meta and Google DeepMind and university labs like New York University’s ai@nyu, Pace University’s Computational Intelligence Lab, and the AI Research Group at Cornell Tech.

Microsoft Research New York City is a large presence here, with this lab spanning the study of both theoretical and applied machine learning. Their primary focus is on building intelligent decision-making agents – those agents that learn to better understand their environment to make accurate, informed decisions for people and organizations.

Upstate New York is also home to a host of exciting academic labs, such as the University at Buffalo’s Artificial Intelligence Innovation Laboratory, Stony Brook University’s Institute for AI-Driven Discovery and Innovation, and the Cornell AI Initiative at Cornell University.

AI Salary in New York City, Utica, and Albany

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), New York’s AI professionals, who are categorized by the BLS as computer and information research scientists, earned a median salary of $140,510 as of May 2022. AI scientists and engineers with little experience earned about $102,580 during this time, while those at the top of the pay scale earned more than $224,440.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area was home to the highest median salary for AI professionals in New York, as of May 2022, at $172,220, followed by those in the NYC metro area, at $121,700. AI professionals in the Utica-Rome metro area earned a median salary of $114,900.

Similarly, the Albany metro area reported the highest salary among AI scientists and engineers, at $224,550, followed by the NYC metro area, at $207,320. The highest paid AI professionals in the Utica metro area earned about $152,780 during this time.

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

New York’s position as a national leader in the tech sector is undoubtedly tied to its outstanding system of colleges and universities that consistently supply the state with its highly qualified talent pipeline. Reflecting the state’s growth in AI, many schools have now begun offering both undergraduate and graduate options in artificial intelligence. Designed to produce tomorrow’s data scientists, machine learning engineers, software architects, computer vision engineers, and more, AI programs explore the field within the framework of computer science and engineering.

At the undergraduate level, bachelor’s degrees usually offer a strong mathematics core, with courses in linear algebra, probability, and calculus, alongside a comprehensive overview of AI theory and applications, including subfields like machine learning, data science, and computer vision.

At the graduate level, AI programs offer a more focused course of study for practicing scientists and engineers. AI master’s degree programs and graduate certificates, both in New York and across the country, are often housed in schools of arts and sciences, engineering, and computer science, although many are also offered as truly interdisciplinary programs that draw from many disciplines within the university.

In upstate New York, Rochester Institute of Technology offers both an MS in AI and an Advanced Certified in AI in Computer Science through its College of Computing and Information Sciences, while the University of Rochester offers an MS in Computer Science with an AI and Machine Learning focus through its Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

And in the city, Yeshiva University, with campuses in Manhattan and the Bronx, and Brooklyn’s Long Island University both offer an MS in AI.

AI Computer Science Degree and Certificate Options in Rochester and NYC

Computer science master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs, which are focused on building modern AI systems, feature theory and technical training in algorithmic design and coding. Natural language processing, machine learning, and computer vision are just some of the focus areas that often accompany these programs.

Long Island University

School of Engineering, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
Brooklyn, NY

long island university

MS in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $40,560

Total tuition comes in at $12,651 below the state average for similar programs.

Also offers: BS in AI

Rochester Institute of Technology (Private)

Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
Rochester, NY

Rochester Institute of Technology

MS in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $71,100

Advanced Certificate in AI in Computer Science (on-campus)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $28,440

Also offers: PhD with an AI research area

University of Rochester (Private)

Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Rochester, NY

University of Rochester (Private)

MS in Computer Science-AI and Machine Learning focus (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $59,100

Also offers: PhD with an AI-HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) focus

Yeshiva University

Katz School of Science and Health
New York, NY

yeshiva university

MS in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $42,084

Total tuition comes in at $11,127 below the state average for similar programs.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for computer information and research scientists. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, CareerOneStop. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2024.