How Is AI Affecting Colleges?
Artificial Intelligence, or AI started to flourish around the 1950s—but usually behind the scenes. In recent decades, AI has been our daily companion via search engines and social media, but the public was only vaguely aware of it until it burst into the spotlight with generative AI programs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Microsoft Bing’s creepy “Sydney” chatbot.
Meanwhile, programs like Musenet, Jukebox, and Midjourney have been shaking things up within arts and music communities thanks to their impressive AI-powered capabilities. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This unexpected onslaught of AI capabilities has started a corporate scramble as businesses try to figure out how they can save money by turning to AI instead of human talent.
That shift has already impacted the job outlook for dozens (if not hundreds) of occupations (not the least of which are writers!). This, in turn, has college hopefuls rightfully wondering what they should be studying to prepare for their future careers. With that in mind, let’s explore a few job titles that AI will likely give a serious boost to!
Will AI Replace Any Majors or Careers?
Yes, just as technology has evolved to make our lives easier and some jobs obsolete, AI is also coming for many people’s jobs!
In fact, as of this writing, Hollywood is shut down due to the writers’ and actors’ union striking, in part, over AI concerns. Alas, the majority of professionals whose jobs will be affected by AI will eventually have to either find workarounds or retrain. That’s an unfortunate fact we must all come to terms with…and the sooner we do, the faster we can adjust and move on.
Still, there are some things AI just can’t do on its own. These careers (and their associated academic majors) should be relatively safe for a while! For example, trade jobs such as “plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, construction workers, and welders” all require humans to perform hands-on labor tasks on physical structures. Sure, AI can help in some cases, but it’s not cost-effective to utilize AI-powered robots to do these jobs (yet).
Note: An exception is work done via assembly line processes, such as in automotive manufacturing where work is performed by robots within the confines of a warehouse.
What other jobs will be relatively safe? Here’s a quick rundown:
Healthcare workers such as nurses, doctors, surgeons, and anesthesiologists, should be safe for a while from the AI revolution, again due to the hands-on nature of their duties. AI may be there to augment and assist in delicate situations (such as surgery, automating record keeping, or medicine dispensing), but it’s not likely to replace any workers entirely.
Computer programmers will definitely experience changes in their field…but the field won’t necessarily shrink. As AI gets better at coding, it’ll be able to do the work that human programmers do—but infinitely faster. However, for now, AI is simply a useful tool to help programmers, not replace them. For their part, programmers need to learn how to work with AI to reduce laborious, repetitive tasks.
Education workers may fare well against the siege of AI. Why? Because teachers possess unique skills that allow them to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of learners, and adapt accordingly. Okay, AI can do this, too, but it lacks that all-important human factor that teachers use to encourage, persuade, and motivate students. They impart and facilitate the development of crucial soft skills that AI lacks entirely!
Other career areas that will be somewhat shielded from AI taking them over include first responders, legal professionals, human resources managers, social workers, and athletic trainers. Each of these roles requires a physical presence and/or a level of creative thinking, resourcefulness, and adaptability that AI cannot fill in for. So take that, AI!
We won’t go so far as to say any of the above roles—and associated degree majors—are 100% irreplaceable. But they’re at less risk than many professions.
Now let’s look at jobs that are sure to be safe from AI for a while because AI is actually creating the need for them!
8 Jobs That AI Will Create or Demand In The Future
The advent of AI may be intimidating for workers in many fields. However, the technology isn’t all about taking away jobs. It’s driving the need for extra workers in some certain areas while creating entirely new AI jobs, too.
Here are just a handful of AI jobs and jobs of the future that AI is opening the door for!
Job title: AI Ethicist
Job title: AI Auditor
Job title: Machine Learning Engineer
Job title: Natural Language Processing Engineer
Job title: Prompt Engineer
Job title: Big Data Engineer
Job title: Business Intelligence Developer
Job title: AR Journey Builder
Which Degree Is Best for an AI Career?
Bachelor’s in Computer Science
The above list of AI jobs is only a sample of the jobs that AI is either creating or expanding upon. When it comes to college majors and degrees, the clear winner is the Bachelor’s in Computer Science.
It seems to have the most versatility and can lay a solid foundation for students seeking to enter any AI-related career field. You’ll gain an understanding of the basic principles and practices, ranging from programming languages to software development.
That said, computer science is one of the most in-demand degree majors in the country. While it should set anyone up nicely for an AI job, there’s the distinct possibility there could be too many computer science graduates in the near future.
That’s why it may be wise to select a major that’s a bit more focused on the job you want, or at least to get a minor in that area of focus. For example, at the undergraduate level, AI studies usually fall under computer science. So you could either get a minor in AI or load up on AI-related electives.
If you opt to go for a graduate degree, then you can select AI as the major (and will be better equipped for it, if you took plenty of AI classes during your bachelor’s program).
Data science is another popular option. Though related to computer science, data science is definitely its own area of study. There are areas of overlap, though, and the distinctions become more evident at the graduate level.
Data science will focus more on mathematics, statistics, and probability, but students will also learn database construction and programming languages, such as Python.
Whichever degree you choose, check out our handy scholarship finder tool to explore unique funding opportunities that match your major to help you graduate with less student debt.