Why you must jump onto AI bandwagon

Experts say anybody in any field of expertise needs it to remain relevant

In Summary

• The organisations you are going to work for won't proceed without integrating AI

Illustration of artificial intelligence
Illustration of artificial intelligence

Despite all the talk about artificial intelligence, most people don't really know how it will affect their careers in the near future. Will AI push them out of jobs or help them work better?

Students about to make career choices are especially hard hit by the lack of information on what AI means for their lives. What courses should they pursue to become relevant in the age of AI? Where are these courses available?

Joan Mbesya, an ICT expert with extensive knowledge of AI, says everyone will encounter AI in one form or another because of trends in technology. She is advising professionals in various fields to find out how they can use AI.

"What I would encourage you is to study AI applications within your expertise domain because the organisations you are going to work for are not going to proceed without integrating AI," Mbesya told a youth forum.

The University of Derby predicts AI will have an effect on many industries. Specific examples include AI helping doctors identify diseases and virtual nursing assistants monitoring patients.

Human resource specialists are likely to make greater use of automation and computer-based intelligence to assist with recruitment and staffing.  

Prof Chris Bussell of that university says young people will enter a future that is as different to today as the industrial age was different to the feudal society.

"AI is changing our world. Just as machine technology impacted our lives to create a world dominated by industry and machine manufacturing, the AI revolution will impact on human cognitive processing," Prof Bussell says.


A World Bank report states that generative AI will give rise to new jobs and career paths. Generative AI models help users create text, images and videos easily by providing suggestions and alternatives. In this way, generative AI models augment human creativity.

Generative AI can help writers create outlines, drafts or summaries for their articles or stories; developers generate code snippets or templates for their software projects; and designers develop mockups or prototypes for their product concepts.

"There will be a growing demand for professionals who can design, develop, train, test, deploy and maintain generative AI systems and applications," the World Bank's authors predict. "Asking AI applications the right questions and ‘prompt engineering’ will be a crucial skill."

The good news is that there are steps individuals can take to ensure their career aspirations adapt to the growing use of AI among employers. As ICT experts state, anybody in any field of expertise should learn something about AI to remain relevant. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has provided a series of steps for getting into AI:

1. Learn programming: AI has roots in the ICT world which, in turn, is driven by software. The core of software development is programming. If you want to become an expert in machine learning, it is crucial to learn programming languages such as Python, Java, C++ and R.

2. Embrace mathematics and statistics: AI and machine learning rely heavily on mathematical concepts. Many students wonder about the usefulness of algebra, calculus and probability theory in their lives. Now there's a good reason to get interested: those topics benefit anyone intending to specialise in AI and machine learning.

3. Take up a course: Gain formal educational qualifications in AI through online courses or university degrees in data science, computer science or related fields. Both public and private institutions of higher learning in Kenya have embraced AI and are offering courses on the subject.

4. Real-world experience: As AI is a rapidly evolving field, follow blogs, research papers and conferences to stay informed on the latest developments. Participate in projects, internships and AI competitions. Practical experience is the only way to gain proficiency in AI techniques.

"My call to young people is to invest in new skills as knowledge is changing every day, and to also keep abreast of what is happening in the labour market," Alice Kimani of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) advises. The organisation is an association that represents the interests of the private sector in Kenya.

Incidentally, surveys by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Ministry of Labour show a high demand for persons with ICT qualifications. ICT professionals are described as those who develop and improve information technology systems, such as hardware, software and digital databases.


Jacqueline Mugo, FKE'S chief executive, confirms that employers are indeed adopting new ICT technologies, such as the use of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytics and machine learning.

These technologies are evolving very quickly but employers simply can't find enough qualified personnel to operate those ICT systems. This is an interesting situation in a country where millions of people are desperately looking for jobs.

The unemployment crisis is not only caused by a shortage of jobs. It is also about job seekers not having the right skills required by employers. Incorporating AI in your profession may just be the trick you need to get ahead of the pack and get noticed.

Soft skills, such as self-management, discipline, initiative and adaptability, are just as valuable as technical skills. Persons with both soft and technical skills are in high demand, according to a briefing by the International Labour Organisation. Soft skills can be sharpened through internships and apprenticeships or, in some cases, by means of simulated work experiences that allow youth to develop these important skills.

Knowing how to use AI is not the only ICT skill in demand. Other useful specialisations that could improve one's career prospects include cybersecurity, big data analytics, mobile technologies, cloud computing, business networks and the Internet of Things (sensors, controllers and household appliances connected to the Internet).

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star