Artificial intelligence engineer

AI engineer
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Career outlook for artificial intelligence engineer

Average UK salary

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Currently employed in Scotland

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"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Want to shape the future of Scotland? Artificial intelligence (AI) is the way to do it. As an AI engineer, you'll be at the forefront of innovation. You'll program and train intelligent systems that tackle real-world challenges.

You might work with self-driving cars, making them safe for use on Scotland's roads. Or you could build healthcare models used to predict and prevent disease outbreaks. Many industries would look to your expertise to help take them into the future.

It's a role where you'll need a lot of technical knowledge. By writing code, you'll develop algorithms that use AI. You'll use data analytics to unlock insights. Machine learning will help you design systems that become smarter and more efficient the more they're used.

This career is perfect for creative problem-solvers who love working with technology. If you want to make a lasting difference, unleash your potential through a career in AI.

Your tasks might include:

  • designing, testing and developing AI models
  • working with large amounts of data to train AI models
  • creating and improving machine learning algorithms
  • maintaining and improving existing AI systems
  • keeping up with the latest AI advancements
  • explaining complex information to others
  • writing code in a variety of languages
  • collaborating with data scientists and software engineers

Working conditions


In many roles, you'll work 35 to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. Some employers will offer a flexible approach. There may be evening or weekend work depending on the project you work on.


You'll work from an office, at home or both. The role involves long periods sitting at a desk and looking at screens.


Travel likely won't be a big part of the job. You might visit clients, go to other offices to collaborate or travel for conferences.

UK employment status


Information is unavailable


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Self employed

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  • Verbal communication
  • Problem solving
  • Researching
  • Ethical
  • Making decisions

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You'll likely need a degree in Computer Science or an engineering field to work as an AI engineer. Some roles will ask for postgraduate qualifications.

But it's possible to get into the career without a degree if you have the right skills and knowledge.

Let's look at some of the routes you could take to work towards this career.

Apprenticeship routes into an AI career

Foundation Apprenticeships

You can start learning the skills you'll need in this career through a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA). While you're in S5 or S6, you'll gain work experience while you study.

These FAs are a great way to learn the basics of engineering or software development, including AI:

Modern Apprenticeships

If you’re aged 16 or older, a Modern Apprenticeship will let you work and earn while you study for a qualification. After you qualify, you'd be able to study further or move into a role where you can build experience. has options that'll give you skills in a variety of relevant areas. Here are some you might find helpful:

Graduate Apprenticeships

You could also earn a degree level qualification through a Graduate Apprenticeship. These options will be useful for this career:


There are a variety of subjects you could study at college that'll help in this career. You could progress to university or move into entry level positions to build your knowledge and experience.

  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Engineering
  • IT
  • Software Development

What you need to enter a course will vary depending on the subject and level of qualification. For example, to study Computer Science at HNC or HND level, you'd likely need one or two Highers at C.

National 5s, Highers or an FA in relevant subjects such as Maths or Computing will help.

Use our search to find the right course for you.


A degree or postgraduate qualification will give you the skills and knowledge to work as an AI engineer. Here are some relevant subjects you could study:

  • AI and Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Engineering
  • Software Development
  • Software Engineering

For a Computer Science course at degree level, you'd likely need either:

  • four Highers at BBBC
  • a relevant HNC or HND

Courses may ask for Highers in Maths and a science, preferable Computer Science.

Postgraduate courses will likely ask for you to have at least a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Use our course search to explore your options.


To be an AI engineer, you'll need a lot of knowledge and experience. While formal qualifications are a great way to get this, they're not the only way. You could get an entry-level or trainee position in an engineering, IT, data or software development role. You'd be able to learn skills, build experience and work towards becoming an AI engineer.

You can also supplement work experience with other types of learning and training. Use our search to find free online courses related to AI.

Useful subjects

  • Computing science
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • English
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Software Development

You will also need

You’ll need a wide range of technical knowledge to be an AI engineer. Some examples of what employers might be looking for include:

  • AI and deep learning techniques
  • machine learning algorithms
  • advanced skills in C++ and Python programming
  • image processing and computer vision fundamentals
  • SQL and NoSQL databases

This is just a small sample taken from current job adverts. There are many more areas you’ll need to develop technical skills and understanding.

Helpful to have

Getting experience in a science, engineering or technology environment might help in this career.

Use Volunteer Scotland's search to explore opportunities.