Hey guys. Hope everyone is doing well. Also using AI/ML as an umbrella term throughout - feel free to correct if needed.
Senior Web Developer. Initially started from Software Development. Developed passion for Web Development and made the move. Worked my way up to Senior position. 70% backend, 30% frontend. Currently 80-90% IC, rest managerial responsibilities. 9.5 years overall. Changed companies over time. Been in various industries.
Going back and forth about moving into AI/ML. Motivation - high interest and demand. Fear - leaving web development skills behind.
My Current Solution:
Ask reputable sources about AI/ML day to days and job responsibilities. Lots of it seems to be marketing and all that glitters is not gold.
If all checks out and my passion is rooted in evidence then I would like to take few Stanford machine learning courses online. Once fundamentals are solid would like to go for masters degree in applied machine intelligence or similar. Start looking for jobs.
These are all the questions I could think of. Apologize for the length, but thought it would be helpful to give context. Please feel free to include anything else you deem helpful. Much appreciated and Happy holidays.
Motivation - high interest and demand.
If this is your primary motivation, I wouldn't go into AI/ML. This concerns me as you mentioned that you developed a passion for web development but didn't mention the same for AI/ML. Passion should be fairly separated from what the day-to-day looks like: It should be rooted in what the field can fundamentally do and how it feels. Web development is an incredibly deep field. If you like it and are good at it, I'm sure you can reach even greater frontiers specializing even more in it 💪
For more of my thoughts on making this decision alongside a lot of good context about the field in general (including thoughts on day-to-day), I highly recommend going through this other Taro discussion.
Granted everything checks out - do you think going for Masters makes sense? Given that finances and time is not the problem.
I'm pretty skeptical of the value of a Computer Science Master's. You can find my in-depth thoughts about that here.
Would you say I have to leave a large portion of web development skills behind when making the move? What are some of the transferables?
It depends on how you have developed as a software engineer. How many of the skills do you have from this in-depth explainer about software engineering fundamentals?
would you please describe a day to day/job responsibilities for an AI/ML engineer?
This depends very much on the company, but a data point I'll share from the startup I worked at in 2014/15 (engineer focused on Recommendation systems) was mostly data engineering work. Turns out that a lot of ML is actually just looking at the data and trying to find insights.
I'm sure things have changed since then, but I'd recommend you talk to peers in your current company, or at the desired company (or in the Taro Premium network!) to understand that you'd actually enjoy the day-to-day.
A lot of the skills between web dev and ML will carry-over. One way to look at is that, given you have 9 YoE and some management responsibility, I'd imagine a lot of your job is not related to coding at all. Those skills (project management, decomposing problems, etc) should carry over completely.