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

Written by Rebecca Turley

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Despite the state’s diminutive size, Rhode Island’s blue economy is anything but. By taking full advantage of its most precious resource— the ocean, of course— Rhode Island has become a powerhouse for its innovative use of marine resources. From aquaculture to ocean transport to renewable energy to fisheries, Rhode Island’s blue economy is diverse and strong, improving the lives of individuals and creating countless job opportunities. In recent years, there’s been a distinct focus on ensuring that Rhode Island’s blue economy remains viable and healthy for future generations. And that, of course, is where artificial comes in.

Rhode Island has plenty to support its $5 billion blue economy. The Ocean State is home to no less than 400 miles of coastline… a prime, Northeast location within a $4 trillion economic corridor… easy access to both New York City and Boston… world-class ports and fisheries … and the nation’s first offshore operational wind farm.

But there’s a lot to lose here, too, if the state’s blue economy isn’t nurtured and protected. Whether they’re working to restore and preserve coastal waters and ocean ecosystems, making the move to renewable energy sources, or implementing safer, less-destructive fishing practices, Rhode Island’s public and private organizations are using the power of artificial intelligence to make significant, lasting strides. They’re leveraging artificial intelligence to collect the data that’s used to optimize operations, increase efficiency, reduce waste, increase output, and protect the natural resources that will support the state’s blue economy for generations to come.

Rhode Island’s efforts are led by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s Ocean Tech Hub of Southeastern New England (better known as the Ocean Tech Hub). Here they’re developing, testing, and commercializing maritime artificial intelligence/machine learning-enabled robotics and sensors to advance ocean technology innovation and ensure that the state remains a global leader through its blue economy.

The Ocean Tech Hub utilizes the state’s seven commercial ports to conduct testing environments and develop prototypes designed to answer commercial challenges and problems. Work here is focused on creating next-generation autonomous underwater vehicles and robots that utilize artificial intelligence to track environmental changes, monitor aquaculture activities, better understand the delicate and complex ecosystem, and mitigate and prevent destructive practices that threaten our food sources. These AI-powered autonomous vehicles are also being used to protect maritime boundaries and ensure the safety of the nation.

In October 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration (through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration) announced that it was designating the Ocean Tech Hub as a regional Tech Hub – one of 31 inaugural tech hubs identified for its potential for rapid growth and job creation in specific tech sectors.

As a recipient of the first phase of the Tech Hubs program, the Ocean Tech Hub will be eligible for between $50 and $75 million in federal funding to capitalize on its blue tech innovation leadership efforts. This surge of federal dollars will support collaboration between Rhode Island’s leading research institutions, esteemed universities, and cutting-edge businesses and encourage research, development, and commercialization that will benefit the state’s coastal communities and ecosystem. It will also attract funding opportunities from venture capital and equity firms.

Beyond the blue economy, artificial intelligence is making its mark in Rhode Island in industries ranging from manufacturing to transportation to its burgeoning fintech industry. It’s a revolution in technology, with AI at the helm. To become a valuable addition to this interdisciplinary field, you’ll need the knowledge and skills that only a formal degree program can provide. Fortunately, a growing number of colleges and universities throughout the nation now offer AI programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, many of which are offered in convenient, online formats to suit busy, working adults and those with geographical limitations.

The Helping Hand: How Rhode Island’s New AI Consumer Tool Is Empowering Its Citizens

ai human handshakeArtificial intelligence is going mainstream in Rhode Island, coming to the rescue of everyday Rhode Islanders.

Instead of being relegated to high tech businesses and research labs, Rhode Island is bringing AI to the masses, offering citizens of the Ocean State the opportunity to resolve a variety of issues both expeditiously and accurately.

Uprise RI, a trusted organization covering important topics related to the rights of Rhode Island citizens, recently announced the addition of a new AI chat assistant for Rhode Islanders called The Helping Hand.

This new chatbot, which is free for anyone to use, utilizes the power of cutting-edge AI to help residents resolve a wide variety of issues related to landlord/tenant relations, food assistance, housing, and consumer complaints. Users simply type their issues or questions, and The Helping Hand responds with a detailed answer that guides the user to a resolution using specific, step-by-step instructions.

According to Uprise RI President, Greg Brailsford, this new chat assistant “carries on Uprise RI’s mission of challenging those who hold power.” Consumers, renters, and those in need can find valuable information and clear instructions on how to handle complex issues. The tool responds empathetically and breaks down topics into manageable, easy-to-understand solutions. The Hand Up can also point them in the direction of resources, such as legal assistance when dealing with unethical landlords or contractors.

The Hand Up acts as an advocate for Rhode Islanders, providing them with the information they need to take appropriate action.

Uprise RI partnered with Company 50, a website development company in Cumberland, to train The Helping Hand in areas related to landlord/tenant laws, consumer law, and regional and national resources, and more.

AI Jobs in Rhode Island

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for AI professionals in Rhode Island are projected to rise by 16 percent in the decade leading up to 2030.

According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce, Rhode Island’s tech employment totaled 27,806 as of 2022, which represented about 5.5 percent of the state’s total workforce. During this time, Rhode Island was home to 3,552 tech businesses.

Between 2021 and 2022, CompTIA reported a 1.5 percent increase in the number of tech jobs in the state, or 414 jobs. Between 2022 and 2023, they project that tech jobs here will increase again by 2.8 percent, or 785 jobs.

According to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, there are more than 180,000 computer and engineering professionals within an hour’s drive of Rhode Island.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Providence and Newport

Boasting titles like machine learning engineer, software architect, research analyst, and computer vision engineer, Rhode Island’s AI engineers and scientists are pushing boundaries, making discoveries, and implementing solutions using the power of AI.

AI Companies in Providence and Newport

A highly skilled workforce… world-class research universities… and a growing reputation as a major hub for research and development (thanks, in part, to a friendly tax infrastructure that boasts many R&D incentives, including the nation’s most generous R&D tax credit) has made Rhode Island the place to be for both established and rising AI companies.

Providence’s MojoTech, a software development and design company and fintech consulting agency that serves clients across a number of industries, is a major player in Rhode Island that specializes in custom web and mobile applications, AI engineering, and UI/UX design. This Fortune 500 company has grown to 150 full-time employees since its founding in 2008.

Utilidata, another Providence-based tech company that uses real-time, AI-powered software solutions to make the electric grid cleaner, recently announced a distributed AI platform known as Karman. This platform can deliver 100 times the processing power of other meter-based solutions to the edge of the grid, thereby capturing high-resolution data and identifying patterns in large amounts of data.

Emerging AI companies are also making their mark in Rhode Island. Delorean AI uses the power of artificial intelligence to predict the onset of renal disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, behavior health, and respiratory disease. They are partnering with big names like Microsoft, Google, AWS, and Sombanonva to identify and intervene in disease progression using responsible AI and ML technologies.

Rhode Island’s powerful R&D ecosystem is led by major organizations such as the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, the Navy’s premier R&D center for submarine and undersea warfare systems, and world-class research universities like the University of Rhode Island’s AI lab, which encourages interdisciplinary learning in AI. And in November 2023, Rhode Island College opened its Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies, which is positioned to become a national center of excellence in cybersecurity, AI, ML, and other emerging technologies.

AI Salary in Providence

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, AI engineers and scientists in Rhode Island, categorized by the BLS as computer and information research scientists, earned a median salary of $121,950. Those newest to the profession earned about $88,460 during this time, while those at the top of the pay scale earned about $151,850.

As of May 2022, the Providence metro area reported a median and top salary for AI professionals that slightly surpassed state numbers, at $122,320 and $152,110, respectively.

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

AI professionals in the business and scientific communities with the right blend of formal AI education and practical knowledge are well-compensated and highly sought-after in Rhode Island. Whether you’re interested in gaining the skills necessary to enter the field, or you have plans to specialize your computer science or software engineering skills in areas like machine learning, big data, robotics, or natural language processing, you’ll need the formal education that’ll make you an asset in this emerging domain.

Fortunately, there is a growing number of colleges and universities across the country that now offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in artificial intelligence. Many of these programs are offered in fully online formats that allow busy, working professionals and those with geographical limitations to earn the AI degree that will kickstart or advance their AI career from the comfort of their home.

AI bachelor’s degrees provide a solid foundation in computer science or engineering alongside an AI core that covers theory and practical applications. AI master’s degrees and post-master’s certificate programs are ideally designed for currently practicing engineers and scientists and career changers. These programs provide a closer examination of AI, often allowing students to specialize in one or more areas that best align with their career goals.

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 February 2024.