How to become a Machine Learning Engineer

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that gives technology the power to teach itself; and machine learning engineers create the programmes and algorithms for these technologies to operate.

Machine learning engineers create technologies that can function with minimal human involvement. They make programmes and algorithms to not only instruct technology to do something, but to also learn from itself. 

These technologies will remember when they have done something correct and learn it for next time, so they will be able to repeat the procedure. An example of machine learning is algorithms for websites like YouTube; suggested videos are shown to the consumer, who gives feedback to the algorithm by watching or hiding these videos. 

Machine learning engineers also work with artificially intelligent products like self-driving cars or robots. They program these technologies to not only run without human interaction, but to correct themselves after mistakes. 

There is no machine learning engineer degree, but most people in this role will have a masters or higher in a related subject, such as computing or mathematics. Because this is a very new career, machine learning engineers often come from a data science and programming background. 

To become a machine learning engineer, you should also develop these skills:

  • Excellent statistical knowledge, so they can make calculated predictions regarding what might happen with their technologies in ‘the real world’. 
  • Other applied mathematical knowledge including advanced algebra and calculus.
  • Advanced knowledge of coding languages, such as Python, R, Java and C++.
  • Signal processing techniques, like time-frequency analysis and advanced signal processing algorithms.
  • Software engineering, as it is very important that machine learning engineers know how the parts of each technology work together. 

The machine learning engineer salary is high, but the role is one that requires a lot of training and education. Machine learning engineers are in high demand; this is because the increase of use in technology results in a natural correlative increase of data. It would be near impossible for a human to go through this and create tailor made programmes for consumers; teaching technology to do so is a much more productive use of time.

What degree is most commonly held by a Machine Learning Engineer?


  • Master of Computer Science
  • Master of Mathematics
  • Master of Artificial Intelligence
  • Master of Data Science
  • Master of Physics
  • Master of Computer Engineering
  • Master of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Master of Machine Learning

Career Transportability across Countries


With countries around the globe taking the step towards using more artificially intelligent technologies, there are increasing numbers of machine learning jobs everywhere. Furthermore, as it is such a new career, there are not enough people fit for the role yet - so for skilled individuals, it is very possible to find work abroad. Speaking the local language would be an advantage when finding machine learning work, but this is not necessarily essential as many international companies operate in English.

What skills are needed to become a Machine Learning Engineer?


  • Machine Learning
  • Python
  • SQL
  • Java
  • C++
  • Data Analysis
  • Matlab
  • Deep Learning
  • Linux
  • R
  • TensorFlow
  • Algorithms
  • C
  • Research
  • Programming
  • JavaScript
  • Software Development
  • Python (Programming Language)
  • Microsoft Office
  • Statistics
  • Data Science
  • Git
  • Data Mining
  • Microsoft Excel
  • LaTeX

Machine Learning Engineer Courses

There are plenty of courses on FutureLearn to supplement the education of a prospective machine learning engineer; everything from an introduction to creative AI for beginners to advanced machine learning is offered in our database of courses. Furthermore, we have many related courses about data science and technology.
  • Introduction to Creative AI

    Explore the ways AI is changing the creative industries and how you can develop your own career in creative AI

  • Advanced Machine Learning

    Improve your understanding of machine learning Explore advanced techniques and how to use them in your data science projects

Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?

We partner with over 170 world-class universities, institutions and industry leaders to create world-class courses to help you with your career. Whether you’re just starting out, wanting to deepen your knowledge or change direction, FutureLearn and our partners can help. These are just a few of our world-leading partners.

FutureLearn aims to help everyone fulfil their potential in a changing world, by transforming access to education.

Be the first to hear about our latest courses by signing up to our mailing list.
Do you know someone else looking to become a Machine Learning Engineer? Then why not tell them about FutureLearn!