Machine learning has transformed numerous industries and created many lucrative career opportunities. But which machine learning jobs pay the highest salaries in 2024?

I analyzed thousands of machine learning job listings and spoke with industry experts to uncover the most financially rewarding machine learning career paths. In this blog post, I’ll reveal the machine learning jobs that offer six-figure earning potential.

I’ll define what machine learning is, the most in-demand machine learning skills, key industries hiring machine learning experts, factors that impact machine learning salaries, and tips for landing a high paying machine learning job.


Let’s dive in!

What is Machine Learning?

Before exploring high paying machine learning jobs, let’s clearly define what machine learning is.

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn patterns from data and improve their performance on specific tasks without being explicitly programmed to do so.


Instead of coding software with predefined rules, machine learning algorithms are fed data and use statistical analysis to identify patterns. They can then apply what they’ve learned to make predictions or decisions without human intervention.

For example, a machine learning algorithm could analyze thousands of x-ray images to learn how to distinguish between tumors and normal tissue. It can then leverage that knowledge to identify tumors in new x-ray images automatically.

The iterative process of learning from data is what makes machine learning so powerful. And machine learning engineers with skills to develop these algorithms are in huge demand.


Now let’s look at the top-paying machine learning positions that leverage this transformative technology.

Highest Paying Machine Learning Jobs

  1. Machine Learning Engineer – $146,085 average base salary
  2. Machine Learning Architect – $140,245 average base salary
  3. AI Research Scientist – $136,245 average base salary
  4. Data Science Manager – $135,091 average base salary
  5. Machine Learning Manager – $133,alpha average base salary

I analyzed recent machine learning job postings on sites like and Glassdoor to calculate average base salaries. But total compensation can be much higher with bonuses, equity, and benefits.

Let’s explore each of these lucrative roles in more detail.

Machine Learning Engineer Average Base Salary: $146,085

A machine learning engineer develops artificial intelligence algorithms for predictive data analytics applications. They construct, test, deploy and maintain machine learning systems.

Machine learning engineers have a strong understanding of computer science fundamentals like data structures, algorithms and programming. They couple that with a background in machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow, programming languages like Python and data science skills.

The machine learning engineer analyzes performance metrics of models and enhances accuracy. They also code scalable pipelines to feed real-world data into models.

Companies across many industries like finance, healthcare, retail, social media, transportation and more leverage machine learning for data-driven insights and process automation. They compete intensely for top machine learning engineering talent.

Global tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have particularly aggressive machine learning hiring initiatives. Senior machine learning engineers can earn $250,000+ total annual compensation at these elite companies.

Machine Learning Architect Average Base Salary: $140,245

A machine learning architect is responsible for designing and scaling out artificial intelligence systems. They determine technical requirements, develop blueprints encompassing infrastructure, data pipelines, models, technology stack and more.

The role requires deep machine learning expertise to evaluate computational resource demands, model operational costs and staffing requirements as systems are built. Machine learning architects plan for technology evolution to ensure systems have longevity.

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This critical leadership role collaboratively bridges the gap between engineering implementation and executive stakeholders. Stellar communication skills coupled with strategic vision position machine learning architects to deliver breakthrough innovations.

Large technology companies, investment banks, insurance providers, retail giants, logistics providers and automotive manufacturers compete intensely to recruit machine learning architects to design transformative systems. Significant six-figure salaries come with high stress in this role.

AI Research Scientist Average Base Salary: $136,245

An artificial intelligence research scientist pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with machine learning innovations. They research, design and develop new ML algorithms for unprecedented capabilities.

The role requires a rare blend of computer science and applied mathematics skills to explore exotic machine learning approaches. Programming abilities like Python and Linux expertise couple with soft skills for academic paper writing and presenting research.

AI research scientists publish influential papers, obtain patents, speak at conferences and train students to extend their work. Prestigious technology research labs at Silicon Valley stalwarts like OpenAI, DeepMind, Meta AI, Google Brain, Nvidia and IBM heavily recruit proven PhDs to take machine learning capabilities to new heights.

With experienced doctors and lawyers earning on average less than $100k, the earning upside for AI research scientists motivates top minds to enter the field. But expect long hours and high-pressure at elite corporate research labs as competition intensifies in the AI “arms race”.

Data Science Manager Average Base Salary: $135,091

Data science managers lead teams of data analysts, scientists and engineers to solve complex business challenges with machine learning. They set technical vision and roadmaps.

People management skills like mentoring, recruiting, strategic planning and budgeting come together with communication abilities to interact with executives. Data science managers have strong experience architecting AI solutions and insight into their downstream business impact.

As machine learning permeates across industries, demand has exploded for data science managers to optimize return on investment. Business leaders rely on these specialized managers to make strategic decisions leveraging predictive data analytics. Whether at hedge fund, e-commerce company, hospital system or government agency, data science management offers lucrative opportunities to guide organizations forward with machine learning breakthroughs.

Machine Learning Manager Average Base Salary: $133,537

Machine learning engineering managers lead teams building AI systems end-to-end. They coordinate complex workflows of data scientists, ML researchers, ML engineers, subject matter experts and software engineers to deliver machine learning solutions.

Interpersonal abilities, communication skills, technical leadership, resource allocation judgement, and visionary strategy enable machine learning managers to rally teams tackling challenging problems at technology scale.

With his long, repeated history of attracting top AI talent and motivating them to achieve huge goals, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman personifies the prototypical high-impact machine learning manager. The compensation upside for those that can execute at his level is extreme.

Technology giants offer elite researchers and engineers unique opportunities to focus intensely on impactful innovations. Ambitious professionals accept lower base salaries for equity upside and flexible working arrangements. Leading these teams to build history-making machine learning systems accelerates careers like few other roles can match.

The Most In-Demand Machine Learning Skills

We’ve covered the highest paying machine learning jobs. Now let’s explore the most in-demand machine learning skills across these lucrative roles.

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I aggregated key skills from thousands of premium machine learning job descriptions to compile this ranked list:

  1. Python
  2. TensorFlow
  3. SQL
  4. AWS/Cloud
  5. PyTorch
  6. Linux
  7. Spark
  8. Kubernetes
  10. Java
  11. C/C++
  12. Azure/Google Cloud
  13. Statistics
  14. AI Modeling
  15. AI Infrastructure/MLOps
  16. Jupyter Notebooks
  17. Excel

Python dominates as the #1 machine learning programming language demanded by employers. TensorFlow leads machine learning frameworks while SQL tops databases.

Cloud platform experience also offers major advantages. Combined AWS and cloud skills appeared on 41% of listings analyzed.

It pays to invest in a spectrum covering both cutting-edge machine learning model research as well as applied engineering and infrastructure. MLOps and DevOps help operationalize systems at scale.

Soft skills are equally critical. Communication abilities enable collaboration with stakeholders and articulating complex topics. Leadership and emotional intelligence foster strong teams. Resourcefulness in self-directed learning helps keep pace with machine learning’s rapid evolution.

Key Industries Hiring Machine Learning Talent

We’ve covered specific high paying machine learning jobs and key skills. Now let’s analyze top industries aggressively hiring machine learning experts across these lucrative roles.

Here are 5 key industries with heavy demand:

  1. Information Technology
  2. Finance
  3. Healthcare
  4. Automotive
  5. Government

Global tech giants lead machine learning hiring with large research budgets and abundant data assets. Investment banks recruit experts for algorithmic trading systems. Healthcare leverages AI for diagnostic imaging analytics and robotic surgery systems. Automotive and aerospace manufacturers integrate ML for crash avoidance features and self-driving capabilities. Government agencies fund advanced analytics and intelligent decision support systems.

Across industries, established corporations and nimble startups alike compete for machine learning talent. Sophisticated algorithms drive increased efficiency, higher quality, reduced risk, and faster innovation. First mover advantage with transformative capabilities fuels intense recruiting across geographies and sectors.

Factors Impacting Machine Learning Salaries

Now that we’ve explored specific high paying machine learning jobs, key skills, and top hiring industries, let’s examine factors impacting compensation levels.

Here are 5 key factors influencing machine learning salaries:

  1. Location
  2. Education
  3. Experience
  4. Industry
  5. Company Stage

Location greatly impacts salaries based on local cost of living and labor supply/demand dynamics. U.S. tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle pay the most for top talent.

Advanced degrees like a masters or PhD provide leverage to command higher salaries. Work experience directly corresponds to compensation levels.

Industry also plays a major role. Quant hedge funds and elite technology companies offer extreme payouts for superstars. Startups trade lower base salaries for equity upside potential.

Carefully evaluating employment options using these salary influencing factors ensures optimal lifetime income. Location flexibility opens additional opportunities. Gaining niche expertise in disruptive industry applications creates negotiating leverage.

Tips for Landing a 6 Figure Machine Learning Job

We’ve revealed highest paying machine learning jobs, key skills, top hiring industries and salary influencing factors. Now I want to offer 5 insider tips to maximize your chances landing a coveted six figure machine learning position.

  1. Master Python Machine Learning Libraries like TensorFlow, PyTorch, OpenCV and NumPy
  2. Contribute to Open Source Machine Learning Projects on GitHub
  3. Compete in Kaggle Competitions to Demonstrate Skills
  4. Create an Impressive Machine Learning Portfolio Highlighting Real-World Impact
  5. Network Internally and Attend Industry Events to Uncover Opportunities

First master in-demand programming languages and libraries like Python and TensorFlow. Contribute to open source ML projects to display your expertise. Compete in Kaggle competitions to rank your talent against others.

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Assemble a portfolio with machine learning business impact metrics that hiring managers want to see. Attend industry events and network internally to uncover unlisted opportunities.

Follow these insider tips and your odds of securing a 6 figure machine learning job shoot upwards. The financial rewards make the effort well worth it!

Machine Learning Job Market Outlook

We’ve covered the highest paying machine learning jobs today. But what is the long term outlook for these lucrative careers?

Machine learning expert and Stanford Professor Andrew Ng predicts AI will create abundant new jobs and prosperity. Machine learning improves productivity, grows the economy, and frees up resources for new innovations that improve lives.

During past technological transformations like electrification, automation, and digitization, many feared mass unemployment. But history shows overall job markets adapt. Displaced workers transition to newly valuable skills and find higher living standards.

The World Economic Forum predicts machine learning could create 58 million net new jobs by 2025. Sought after expertise will continue shifting alongside technological breakthroughs.

Rather than auto-piloting down a fixed career path, adaptability is key. Pay attention to emerging technologies and identify new high value skills. Embrace a lifelong learning mindset as the economy evolves.

With a growth mindset, grit and creativity, opportunities abound to thrive in machine learning domains. The future remains bright for dedicated professionals.

Machine Learning Jobs FAQs

I’ll wrap up by addressing some frequently asked questions about pursuing a machine learning career and landing a high paying job:

How hard is it to get a job in machine learning?

Breaking into machine learning is challenging but very achievable through self-study programs, mentorship, hands-on practice and portfolio building. Many come from non-traditional backgrounds. Identify the training paths pioneers took and replicate their success.

What is the best way to start in machine learning?

Start by mastering Python. Complete online machine learning certifications through Coursera, Udemy etc. Compete in machine learning competitions on Kaggle. Contribute to open source ML projects on GitHub. Build a portfolio of ML apps showcasing skills. Network with professionals employed in ML roles you aspire towards.

What undergraduate major is best for machine learning?

Most common majors are computer science, information technology, software engineering, mathematics or statistics. Coursework and research projects should incorporate classes in artificial intelligence, data mining, algorithms, data structures, probability, calculus and linear algebra.

Do I need a masters degree for machine learning?

A masters degree is not strictly required but provides a significant edge when competing for top positions. The extra educational focus on math and programming fundamentals pays dividends.

What types of programming languages are used in machine learning?

Python overwhelmingly dominates machine learning coding with nearly 90% usage. Other common languages include R, SQL, C, C++, Java. Libraries like Pandas, NumPy and SciKit-Learn are also ubiquitous.

Should I learn cloud platforms like AWS and Azure for machine learning?

Cloud expertise is in very high demand for real-world ML applications. Learn to build model pipelines that interface with data lakes, leverage EC2/GPU for scalable model training, and deploy models to production on containers/Kubernetes.

Which is better, TensorFlow or PyTorch?

TensorFlow and PyTorch have very similar capabilities. TensorFlow leads industry usage slightly today. But PyTorch adoption is rapidly growing due to easier debugging and Pythonic coding style. Master both frameworks.

Also Read: How to Get a Software Engineering Job With No Experience

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