What is an AI Engineer anyway?


Swyx and Alessio from LatentSpace famously coined the title “AI Engineer” and it has gained adoption across the industry. I wanted to take some time to sit down and consider: What is an AI Engineer? What skills do they have? What responsibilities are typical for them? Are folks actually using this shiny new title? And perhaps, lastly, am I an AI engineer now?

What are the typical responsibilities for this role?

I’ve been looking around at job descriptions on LinkedIn in an attempt to ground this in something real. Here are a few key responsibilities that seemed to be repeated throughout my research:

  1. Evangelize AI - Be active in demonstrating the use of AI to both technical and non-technical audiences
  2. Execute with PoC’s and MVPs - An AI Engineer is responsible for prototyping and exploring innovative AI solutions that are maintainable and highly scalable.
  3. Think End-to-End - Be responsible and knowledgeable in the solution from front to back - including the deployment of both models and solutions.
  4. Never Stop Learning - Stay abreast of the latest developments in AI and ML and evaluate the potential impact of new technologies on products and services.
  5. Collaborate Across the Business - Understand how to break down problems in unknown areas to understand objectives and the potential impact of AI

Do AI Engineers exist?

Again, this is based on a quick look through available job postings on LinkedIn and people with “AI Engineer” in their profile. After searching around, I think there are two parts to consider when answering this:

  1. Do AI Engineers exist in any workplace?
  2. Are AI Engineer jobs available? And I think they are both answered similarly… It’s sorta like a “Yes?”

To be more specific, there of course are existing AI Engineers and job postings for AI Engineers - but both are few and far between. I suspect we’ll see the generic title “AI Engineer” adopted more - but something tells me there will be further differentiation/specificity. We might see something like “AI Implementation Engineer” or “Generative AI Engineer”.

Am I an AI Engineer?

My background ranges from designing marketing websites to refactoring away technical debt in the product world. I’m very much in touch with full-stack, production-grade JavaScript practices as well as the latest happenings in AI - through a variety of channels (podcasts, HackerNews, Twitter, newsletters). I’ve deployed things on AWS, Azure, OpenShift. I’ve developed and owned pipelines in Jenkins, Bitbucket, and GitLab.

More recently I’ve taken an interest in AI. I’ve explored a number of variations/demos with LangChain, LlamaIndex, Haystack, and less abstract implementations. All on my own time and under my own discretion.

I would say given all of that - yes. I am exactly what comes to mind when I see AI Engineer described both in theory (blog posts) and in practice (job posts).

A few resources:

  1. https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/3937940348
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/3944617840
  3. https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/3955096798
  4. https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/3875922812 (Not AI Engineer, just mildly interesting) Note: I’m refraining from citing any individuals I saw with the AI engineer title. If you are curious, search LinkedIn 🙂