KUALA LUMPUR – While finding, attracting and retaining artificial intelligence (AI) talent is proving to be a global headache with governments rolling out various initiatives, AI ecosystem pioneer Skymind has announced major talent drives as parts of its holistic ecosystem approach.
“The rising demand for AI is placing increasing pressure on the talent supply chain, and developing the right talent from the outset is probably the first critical challenge to tapping opportunities for innovation,” said Sharifah Nur Izma (pic), who is vice president for talent development & education at Skymind.
Some of the difficulties faced in meeting this demand arise from the often wide-ranging definitions for roles in what is an emerging field, with there being at least six core roles in AI, where capabilities varying across research, engineering, production, and strategy.
Typical roles include Data Engineer/Machine Learning (ML) Engineer; Data Scientist; Deep Learning Researcher/ML Researcher; as well as Heads of the particular disciplines – Data, Research, leading up to Chief Science Officer, and so forth.
The stakes are high, she says. “With a global AI opportunity the AI industry could conservatively touch USD2.9 trillion globally by 2021 and USD15 trillion by 2030; in this sense, no country can afford to hold back on initiatives to position its talent for the future.”
Sharifah says that, as early as 1997, analyst firm McKinsey coined the concept ‘war for talent’ as an emerging challenge for organisations.
As Skymind is heavily expanding in key areas including R&D team, essential to building a fundamental AI infrastructure, the company is investing in the future.
“Skymind believes that Malaysia – and indeed Asia – has a great deal of untapped potential, which is essential to building AI talent and an AI ecosystem that can compete with the largely American-dominated software industry. With this competition, consumers will have more choices in a more robust market in the long term.”
Sharifah’s experience in different roles leads her to believe in the leadership potential of the upcoming generation.
“One of Skymind’s pillars of action is to build a Talent Hub to serve the region and beyond: currently, we are on the hunt to hire 300 talents to build our AI Dream Team from around the region, organised right here from our Malaysian hub,” she said.
With an AI institute in the pipeline coupled with Skymind Campus as part of the company’s expansion in this region, Sharifah is certain that the right kind of industry relevant skill sets will be nurtured in the coming months and years.
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