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Choosing a Career in Artificial Intelligence : Startup Vs A Big Company

Will Murphy gives some advice on choosing a career in AI in a Startup versus opting for jobs in artificial intelligence in a big Company. His advice is based on the current job market scenario and his own experiences.

Artificial Intelligence Will Murphy AI Expert

Begin at the beginning
First thing to do is to figure out what one wants. Ask yourself

  1. Do you want to start off with a Startup or do you want to enter a large Company? (Only a small percentage of people will be able to answer this question with authority)
  2. Do you know for sure if you want to be in a big Company and wish to stay there forever and want to generally stay in large companies?
  3. Do you know for sure if you want to be in a Startup and continue to be there forever?

You will find yourself unable to definitively answer all these questions. However, it doesn't really matter. You can begin your early career in a large Company and then strategize and jump into a startup. You can do this vice versa also.

Secondly, working for a large Company or a startup need different strategies and advice.

General Advice for Companies
It does not matter where you are geographically located. Find a good, established large company, whether locally or otherwise and join them. Large companies pay well and once in you can get to know the company's ecosystem. You can always move into your perfect job a little later. If you are unable to find your perfect job there, then look for a cool company to work with and do whatever it takes to work your way to that perfect job.

Large companies have their own internal ecosystem. Once in, meet and network with the people there. As an employee, you will have a better shot at meeting and building new contacts. Here, Will Murphy talks about his own job at FedEx and how he leveraged it to promote himself and interacted with the top management.

The best advice is to look for the perfect job in a large, reasonable company. This, or look for the perfect company and then try to reach the perfect job in that company. Rarely, does one find the perfect job in the perfect company at the outset itself?

AI Advice for Startups
AI is an art and requires a few years to perfect. A lot of employers are looking at degrees right now and it is very valuable to be a programmer and coder today. Sometimes, employers look at the capabilities and not just at the degree. But this is an exception more than the rule. Startups also look at degrees as far as AI is concerned. There is a difference in incentives offered by both. In a big company, the manager will hire someone who is going to reduce the workload while making him look good in front of the bosses.

A Startup is generally pitching for money. if you have a PhD In AI, data science, machine learning, etc. it looks impressive. Also, when you come out school with a relevant degree, it shows that you have been working with models, have the necessary coding skills and the relevant technical skills.

Will Murphy concludes by saying that it is best to have a 50-50 combination of academic degree and practical experience and knowledge in AI.

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