Machine learning engineer

Computing and ICT
Create Discover

Career outlook for machine learning engineer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"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?

Have you ever wondered how Youtube or Netflix make recommendations for you? That’s machine learning! It's when computers and machines take actions without humans direction each time.

In this job, you'd be the person who teaches the computer or machine how to take these actions. You'd do this by writing code, algorithms and programmes to help the machine learn.

For example, each time a user watches a video or searches for a product, a site’s algorithm gets more data. As the amount of data grows, the recommendations to the user for other content become more accurate. This doesn't rely on human intervention.

What you’ll do

  • write and create machine learning algorithms and tools
  • develop machine learning applications that operate computers or machines
  • run machine learning tests and experiments on what you’ve created
  • perform statistical analysis and fine-tuning based on test results
  • train and retrain systems when necessary
  • work with colleagues and stakeholders to understand business needs
  • communicate and explain complex processes to people who have little or no knowledge of programming
  • keep up to date with developments in the field

You could work in a variety of industries. Whether it's creating algorithms for self driving cars or improving the chatbot a bank uses to serve its customers.

Working conditions


Working hours are usually 9am to 5pm but this could vary depending on where you work.


You'd mainly be office based and would most likely be working at a computer for long periods of time.


Some travel may be required, depending on the job.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Adaptability
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Analysing

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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


Many machine learning engineers will have degrees or even postgraduate qualifications (at Master’s or PhD level) in one of these subjects:

  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Ecience
  • Machine Learning

An Integrated Master’s course can offer a degree and postgraduate qualification in the same course over a 5-year period.

It's important that any course offers industry experience and placements. This will help you stay connected with the fast pace of changes in this sector.

Useful subjects

Useful subjects would be:

  • physics
  • statistics
  • computer science

Helpful to have

While not all employers list specific qualification requirements they do ask for relevant experience, usually work based, that demonstrates a range of transferable skills.