AI engineer the most popular job in China: report

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Artificial intelligence (AI) graduates have become the most in-demand talent in China as the central government ramps up efforts to ready its workforce for a technology-driven economy, said Chinese online recruitment platform BossZhipin in a report.

Image recognition engineer positions topped the list of the most in-demand jobs, growing 111% from the previous year, according to the report. Jobs in medical research and development and gaming operations followed, growing more than 88% and 84% year-on-year, respectively. In total, six out of 15 of the most in-demand jobs were AI-related, including voice recognition, image processing, and recommendation algorithm roles.

In 2019, Chinese tech companies are looking to apply AI to real economy sectors, BossZhipin said in the report, which draws on data collected from Feb. 9 to Mar. 2. The results include data from BossZhipin’s platform, surveys of the platform’s users, and publicly available information. An internal team conducted the analysis, which was limited by some of the platform’s features, according to the report. It did not specify the limitations.

“Artificial intelligence is truly popular in China’s job market and employers do offer high salary packages,” Erich Duan, a postgraduate student from the Beijing Institute of Technology, told TechNode. “However, it is not easy to be a real AI professional such as an algorithm engineer, which is quite difficult for beginners, actually.”

China has been more focused on developing leading technologies, including AI, new energy vehicles, and biotechnology, in an effort to push the country up the international value chain. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for more investment in big data and AI during his report on Tuesday at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in Beijing.

Chinese tech titans also raised proposals during the Twin Sessions meeting in support of the issue, suggesting shoring up access to e-healthcare and autonomous vehicles. At a press briefing, the legislative body announced plans to draft AI-related bills including cybersecurity and privacy guidelines within the next five years.

Earlier this year, China’s Occupation Skill Testing Authority (OSTA) released a list of new job titles that fall within officially recognized professions. AI engineers are included, alongside big data analysts and professional gamers. A government subsidiary under the Human Resources Ministry is responsible for organizing qualification tests around the country.