How do you break into a career in machine learning?
I got a question the other day about how to start a career in machine learning. I gave the best answer that I could, but I’m not sure that my best was very good. Can you help? If so, join the discussion on social media (or send me a note privately):
The question was:
I am currently studying for a master’s at [a good university outside the United States -cas] while working part-time as an NLP research engineer. I would like to ask you for some advice if that was possible.
My question is: without having outstanding grades or publications in top AI journals, how could I find my way towards a top Ph.D. program or at least research internship, is there any possibility? I am currently working on deep learning (paid job) and have some Ph.D. offers. Still, I feel that internships at companies like Google or Ph.D. positions at top research centers are impossible without previous experience in a similar place, which is like a snake biting its tail. Except for students with massive GPA scores, which is not my case.
I am happy with my current job, but so far, I have just been able to grasp the opportunities that I found, so I am thinking about trying to go abroad. Everything I have found is very applied, and I would like to study more abstract or generic (even exotic) topics, instead of applying existing neural architectures to specific domains.
Lots and lots of applicants to computer science PhD programs want to do machine learning, so admissions is very competitive. I don’t think it’s necessary to have publications to get into a PhD program, although it does help, and the higher you go in the rankings, the more that you need any help that you can get.
I’m not sure that I have better advice than to learn as much as you can, do good work, network with others, and work your way up the prestige ladder. It’s true that going to a very highly ranked school gives you an advantage, but I know very good researchers who did not have very good grades in undergrad, and even if you do your PhD at a lower ranked place, if your work is good, it still can stand out.
And now, a question for my readers (all three of them), what do you think?