AI Prompt Engineer – A New Profession or a Required Skill?

Experience with artificial intelligence is the latest “must-have” on the tech job market. How can this technology be applied and is it worth pursuing a standalone AI profession?

Nowadays, the term “artificial intelligence” is nearly everywhere you look, and for good reason. AI has revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate, and it is poised to become even more essential in the coming years. As a result, there has been a lot of talk about the role of AI in the jobs of the future, which is supported in data from the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 report, finding that artificial intelligence will be one of the only fields that will see the creation of more jobs than it eliminates by 2027 by adding over 1 million jobs.  

In fact, the impact of AI on the job market cannot be overstated. The WEF Report predicts a 40% increase in the number of AI and machine learning specialists by 2027, and recent LinkedIn job posting data from TIME Magazine shows that the number of job postings containing “GPT” rose by 51% between 2021 and 2022. 

With AI changing everything about the way we work, many are beginning to ask the question – ‘How does AI fit into my career?’

The dilemma is a difficult one, but hopefully this overview of what it means to pursue a dedicated career in AI, such as prompt engineer, compared to upskilling an existing profession with AI skills, will help clear the air.

There’s No Denying the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Job Market

AI-based technologies continue to produce new jobs and professions that were once considered impossible, and there is increasing demand for AI-based skills in existing professions. This includes the creation of new opportunities for individuals looking to pursue a career in the technology industry. AI-based jobs are no longer limited to engineers and developers but are available across various industries, including healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. All that is required is a good handle on the various language processing platforms and a healthy passion for experimentation.

However, the adoption of AI has also raised concerns about job displacement and the need for upskilling and reskilling to meet the shifting demands of the global job market. As AI-based technologies continue to advance, certain roles may become obsolete, and individuals may need to acquire new skills to remain employable, or revamp their profession completely. 

In steps the AI Prompt Engineer.

What is an AI Prompt Engineer?

Simply put, a prompt engineer is a professional who works with AI models to develop prompts or “templates” that can be easily applied to generate specific and optimal outputs. AI is powered by natural language, which comes down to perfecting a prompt with much trial and error in order to arrive at the most intelligent and useful result. In a company, a prompt engineer can be responsible for designing, developing, and implementing AI-powered solutions that can help the business automate its processes and make data-driven decisions, faster. 

Although the role of prompt engineer is still relatively new, it already goes by a bunch of different names – like “Data Revolutionist” or “AI Trainer” – but essentially, these positions boil down to the same general task – engineering prompts to do the work more efficiently and precisely than human minds alone. These professionals are immersed in AI models and how they work, and their role can be limited to a specific field, such as finance or healthcare, or can be general in its approach of improving the performance of AI tools for all applications. 

What’s more, prompt engineers may be one of the higher paid roles in the high-tech employment landscape, with some current estimates reaching $375,000 a year. This is even more impressive when considering that many prompt engineers have little or no previous tech experience. They could be smart, analytical professionals with good language skills, or even writers, who are empowered to take on the task of challenging and improving AI models.

Could it be that there’s a new high-paying tech job that doesn’t explicitly require programming skills? 

That’s where the role of acquiring AI skills in existing jobs comes in. 

AI as a Skill in Existing Jobs

However, AI is not just limited to creating new jobs; it’s a must for existing jobs, providing workers with new tools and skills that can improve their performance. According to a report from the global consulting company Accenture, around 40% of all working hours could be impacted by AI large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT-4. This is for existing jobs – not just dedicated AI jobs like the role of prompt engineer.

AI-based skills can almost immediately increase employees’ efficiency and productivity. This is because AI-based tools and solutions automate creative tasks, like writing, designing and even developing software, while also taking care of repetitive tasks like data entry, which frees up employees to focus on more strategic tasks that computers still struggle to complete (as of the writing of this blog). Using AI-based solutions, employees can: quickly research new fields, produce quality content, generate graphics, organize data, and make better decisions, applying their knowledge and experience to deliver added value.

For example, AI can be applied to sales roles to improve lead generation and conversion. AI-powered solutions can analyze customer data, predict purchasing behavior, and recommend personalized products or services. This can help sales representatives target the right customers and increase their chances of closing a deal. Similarly, in the financial industry, AI-powered solutions can help analysts quickly digest market trends, predict stock prices, and recommend investment opportunities, while also enabling effective fraud detection and risk management.

AI has obvious benefits for “low tech” industries and professions as well. For instance, a secretary can generate well-crafted and personalized letters and email responses in a matter of seconds, or a personal trainer with no graphic design experience can generate branding materials for their client website and social media accounts. 

However, successful application of AI to task completion in an existing role requires a good deal of willingness to experiment. AI tools are wonderful, but they are by no means a “one-size-fits-all” solution. In order to achieve results, they need to be supervised rather than wielded, experimented with rather than used, and almost always supplemented with the gems of human knowledge that no computer can (currently) replicate. As a result, a significant degree of adaptability is required from employees or individuals who want to apply AI solutions to their existing roles. 

Is Reskilling To A Prompt Engineer Role Worth It?

The benefits of pursuing a career as a prompt engineer are clear. This profession is in high demand, and individuals who have the skills to develop effective AI prompts can expect to earn a high salary. Furthermore, it’s an attractive tech role that doesn’t necessarily require hefty technical experience. Even teachers and psychologists can become incredible prompt engineers with enough curiosity and willpower. 

However, there are also some disadvantages to the “golden” prompt engineer opportunity that should be taken into consideration. Firstly, there is the risk of the role becoming redundant as AI skills are integrated into more roles and industries, and engineering prompts becomes second nature. Second, it has a high potential for burnout due to the fast-paced nature of the industry and the need to constantly stay up-to-date on the latest models and tools. Finally, the job requires a near constant willingness to adapt, which can be personally and professionally challenging for someone who doesn’t have the natural urge to explore or leave their comfort zone.  

So Is AI Upskilling The Way To Go?

While the ‘prompt engineer’ is a hot topic at the moment, learning AI-based skills for an existing job can be a great way to enhance career prospects and become a more competitive candidate for jobs in existing professional fields. As mentioned, AI is already being applied across industries, from marketing to healthcare to finance, so it is very possible for employees in these fields to upgrade their existing skills to get ahead of the pack. AI skills tend to make employees more valuable to their employers as it gives them productivity and innovation advantages. 

There is a learning curve, as it takes time to develop and hone the necessary skills, either through an upskilling program, personal experimentation or other means. In addition, focusing on upskilling could mean missed opportunities to grow earnings as a prompt engineer in the near future, though investing in acquiring AI skills, even in an existing profession, is bound to pay off in the long run. That’s why it’s critical to train with verified and vetted reskilling and upskilling programs.  

Effective Job Adaptation Begins with Wawiwa Tech

At Wawiwa Tech, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn AI skills and thrive in the job market of the future. Our programs are designed to provide individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the digital age, including in AI-focused or related fields. In addition, our tech training programs are designed to enable graduate employability with applied learning projects and soft skills guidance to give job candidates a competitive edge.

Our reskilling and upskilling programs are designed to help individuals pursue either of these AI job adaption paths. AI learning is integrated into each one of our tech training programs, including the Data Analyst, Cybersecurity Analyst, and Frontend Developer programs, among others. Our partners are encouraged to thoroughly address the topic of AI so that graduates feel that they are adequately equipped with the necessary tools for the local and global job markets.

The Future of AI Jobs: More Prompt Engineers or AI Applications For Existing Jobs?

The future of AI jobs looks bright. While there may be a growing demand for prompt engineers, there is also a need for individuals who can apply AI skills to existing jobs. As noted, AI prompt engineers will likely become obsolete with time as AI skills are naturally integrated into the requirements of existing jobs, starting with those that can be fully automated like data entry positions. Yet while AI transforms into a more prominent aspect of everyday work, soft skills, like collaboration, critical thinking and adaptability, will likely become key competitive advantages in the job market. Therefore, upskilling to AI is a promising direction that could give you an advantage in your current position, while helping you prepare for the future of work.

In essence, most jobs aren’t going anywhere, but the skills that these jobs require are already changing.

Update your AI skills today. Find out about Wawiwa’s tech training programs.

Partner with Wawiwa to offer tech training programs in less than 6 months!

Wawiwa bridges the tech skills gap by reskilling people for tech professions in high demand. There are millions of tech vacancies and not enough tech professionals with the relevant knowledge and skills to fill them. What the industry needs of employees is not taught in long academic degrees. Wawiwa helps partners around the world to reskill, and upskill people for tech jobs through local tech training centers or programs. The company utilizes a proven training methodology, cutting-edge content, digital platforms for learning and assessment, and strong industry relations, to deliver training programs that result in higher employability and graduate satisfaction. This, in turn, also creates a strong training brand and a sustainable business for Wawiwa’s partners.
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