With Big Data Comes a Big Demand for Artificial Intelligence Professionals (Part 1)

A female software developer, or artificial intelligence professional, with long red hair who is wearing a navy blouse with a white leaf print, a silver watch, and a silver bracelet sits at a desk in an open-plan office. She has two computer monitors and a laptop in front of her, along with some small tchotchkes and a box of tissues, and she is writing code for AI.

Some of the biggest and most successful companies in our economy have been using big data for years. Google started with incorporating data algorithms to analyze relationships between websites and improve web searches. Amazon uses a customer database and algorithms to provide personalized shopping recommendations. More recently, Facebook received attention for its use of personal information from billions of users. Researchers mine this data for everything from political ads to personality assessment.1

Today, it is challenging to find a company that is not using some form of AI. From algorithms to data mining to software development, AI has become a crucial means of becoming globally competitive. Companies such as Booking.com and India’s Flipkart use AI to inform their direction for product development. Websites such as Buzzfeed and Weibo that rely on clicks use AI to optimize the headlines they choose for their articles. Other companies, including Airbnb and Alibaba, use AI to inform their business decisions, while social networking sites such as Instagram and YouTube use it for recommending relevant content.

Given these trends, it is not surprising that AI jobs are in high demand or that the demand for AI skills is increasing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists information security analysts and other data scientists among their top 20 fastest-growing occupations. Employment in these jobs is expected to grow by 31% in the U.S. over the next decade.2 Meanwhile, in China the digital economy continues to grow rapidly, having reached $5.45 trillion USD (35.8 trln yuan) in 2019, accounting for 36.2% of the country’s total GDP, according to a report from the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies.3 The growth is expected to continue over the next two decades and lead to the creation of numerous AI job opportunities. India will also experience an increase in digital growth; according to a McKinsey report, by 2025 the digital economy in India may account for 8% to 10% of India’s GDP.4

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Network online database (O*NET) reports a bright outlook for jobs such as computer and information research scientists, database administrators, business intelligence analysts, and computer systems engineers/architects. Burning Glass International, an analytics software company that specializes in job market analytics, has seen an increase in job descriptions that request machine learning skills.5 Indeed.com analyzed more than 30,000 listings and found that the top markets for AI jobs are China, the U.S., Japan, and the U.K.6

The global demand also means there’s an increased need to identify individuals who will be successful in these roles. As a personality assessment company with more than 40 years of research on job performance, Hogan knows that selecting the right people for these jobs will provide companies a key competitive advantage for becoming successful in the digital economy.

Hogan set out to research who will be most successful in AI professional roles. We interviewed numerous professionals in the digital economy from across the globe.  As an outcome of our research, we created a general profile of personality characteristics that are important for AI professional roles. We identified a variety of jobs that fall into this job family, including business intelligence analysts, data warehouse specialists, database administrators, computer and information research scientists, computer systems engineers, computer systems developers, and data scientists. A review of occupational activities and skills revealed that there is much overlap between these roles. Our final definition of an AI job in this family is “an individual contributor who works with computers to analyze information; interprets and communicates that information to the company to drive strategy and decision-making; and develops and implements solutions to manage data.”

Helping companies select and develop the highest-performing talent is Hogan’s main goal. With this AI professional roles research, we aim to set companies up for future success by understanding the jobs of the future and recommending the highest performers for those roles. 

This is part one of Hogan’s three-part blog series on selecting and developing artificial intelligence professionals, authored by Hogan’s Karen Fuhrmeister, PhD and Krista Pederson. In the next installment, we will discuss the research process we used to identify personality characteristics of successful AI professionals and the application of the selection profile.


1. Zialcita, P. (2019, October 30). Facebook Pays $643,000 Fine for Role In Cambridge Analytica Scandal. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2019/10/30/774749376/facebook-pays-643-000-fine-for-role-in-cambridge-analytica-scandal

2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fastest Growing Occupations. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm

3. Xinhua. (2020, November 23). China’s Digital Economy Reaches 35.8 trln Yuan in 2019 [Press release]. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-11/23/c_139538040.htm

4. Kaka, N., Madgavkar, A., Kshirsagar, A., Gupta, R., Manyika, J., Bahl, K., & Gupta, S. (2019, March 27). Digital India: Technology to transform a connected nation. McKinsey Global Institute. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/digital-india-technology-to-transform-a-connected-nation#

5. Columbus, L. (2020, December 27). Top 10 job skills predicted to grow the fastest in 2021. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2021/12/27/top-10-tech-job-skills-predicted-to-grow-the-fastest-in-2021/?sh=2b78afef6fde

6. Werber, C. (2019, February 12). This Is Where You Should Move if You Want a Job in AI. Quartz at Work. https://qz.com/work/1547302/the-best-cities-and-countries-to-live-in-if-you-want-a-job-in-ai/