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by Rob Porter | October 20, 2023

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These days, just about everyone is taking part in the AI craze, whether it’s companies looking to modernize their practices, job seekers hoping to get in on the action, or keyboard jockeys creating artwork and music. A number of new jobs have been created as a result of the continued use of AI, but none are gaining as much attention as what is now being called a “prompt engineer.” Here’s what you need to know.

What is Prompt Engineering?

If you’ve ever asked ChatGPT a question, you’ve engaged in a form of prompt engineering. Indeed, the main objective of a prompt engineer is to devise well-written, descriptive prompts in order to get the best possible results from AI systems. This may sound relatively simple on the surface, but with the full potential of AI still unrealized, prompt engineering is also in its infancy, and there is much to learn.

Let’s say you ask ChatGPT to tell you a story about an ice-skating grizzly bear. Here, ChatGPT will provide you with a nice response; however, if you go a step further, the story will take on a whole new identity. For example, if you ask ChatGPT to tell you a story about a friendly grizzly bear who discovered a hidden talent for ice skating and went on to become an award-winning figure skater, the story will include far more detail. The same philosophy applies to AI tools that create images—the more detail, the better the result.

The ideas mentioned above are just small examples of prompt engineering. In most cases, prompt engineers are working for companies that want to produce content, whether it’s for use on a website, in videos, for print, or for any other number of reasons. The point is, prompt engineering is a job where the stakes are higher, and high-quality results are necessary. Anyone can feed AI a prompt, but a prompt engineer is someone who can train AI to closely imitate the thoughts of a human being with an exceptional degree of accuracy.

How to Become a Prompt Engineer

If you’ve been obsessively experimenting with AI systems, you might have what it takes to become a prompt engineer. In nearly all cases, prompt engineers are required to have very strong writing skills. Along with this, prompt engineers have experience working with multiple AI systems, such as ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Deepbrain. Keep in mind that there are AI tools that perform different tasks; some provide text or images, while others are used for video, code, and even music. If you want to be a prompt engineer, it’s important to have well-rounded experience with multiple AI tools.

As of the present, the ability to code doesn’t seem to be a major requirement for prompt engineers. That said, potential employers may favor candidates who demonstrate at least some experience with coding, even when it isn’t specified in a job listing. If you’re serious about becoming a prompt engineer, take the time to learn coding languages such as Python, as this might make your resume more attractive to employers. It’s also possible that coding will become a requirement for this role as more people begin to enter the field, so it would be to your advantage to be prepared.

Since prompt engineering is a new field, education requirements aren’t as clearly defined as they are for other roles. Of course, a degree in computer science is a no-brainer, but you could also get away with having a degree in English or even philosophy, since prompt engineering requires strong command over language.

Demand and Salary Expectations

More and more companies from a wide variety of industries are starting to experiment with AI tools. As such, the demand for prompt engineers is increasing at a rapid pace. For those who are interested in getting into a prompt engineering role, there’s no better time than the present. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of prompt engineering is just how new it is, which means there’s tons of potential to make a name for yourself in the field.

Now then, let us get down to brass tacks. The current salary range for prompt engineers is kind of all over the place, with some sources claiming that average annual pay is around $60,000, and others claiming that certain companies are offering up to $375,000 per year! The reality is probably somewhere in the middle for most candidates, and it’s not unusual to see job listings that are offering six-figure salaries. The bottom line is, the earning potential for prompt engineers is quite high at the moment.

It’s worth mentioning that the details and requirements for becoming a prompt engineer are subject to change as the role becomes more commonplace. Different industries and companies might want to see different types of skills, backgrounds, and so forth, so keep an eye on job descriptions to stay current. If you’re able to jump at the opportunity sooner rather than later, it would certainly be to your benefit, and you’ll be on the cutting edge of one of the most exciting jobs in AI.

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