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5 Ways A Machine Learning Practitioner Can Generate Income In 2020 (And Beyond) | by Richmond Alake | Aug, 2020

Some machine learning practitioners have expertise and skills that are highly sought after. There are individuals, companies and organizations out there that are seeking machine learning consultants or contractors that can aid in activities such as:

  • Defining the AI strategy of a company
  • Implementing AI strategy within company products
  • Build AI/ML teams
  • Provide advice on considerations in regards to AI developments
  • …and plenty more

Contractors and Consultants are individuals that act as an individual operating entity that is separate to the company that they are currently hired by.

Consultants/Contractors usually have their own limited company and are paid based on hourly rates, or day rates.

The main caveat of consultancy is that the duration of a job is set. Some machine learning engineers are hired to drive an AI initiative within an organization for six months to a year. And a lot of them are compensated handsomely.

Other consultancy or contract-based roles could last days, weekends or even hours.

Personally, I’ve acted as a consultant on a couple of occasions:

  • Providing guidance on deep learning and computer vision techniques for unique problems
  • Technical author of a ‘yet to be released’ Computer vision book.

Let’s talk numbers. 💲 💲 💲

The income I’ve made from my consultancy gigs is not a life-changing sum of money. However, the financial upside and potential of becoming an expert machine learning consultant or contractor are still appealing.

According to data from ITJobsWatch, the median daily rate of a contract machine learning engineer is £525, and the top 90% earn £700+ per day.

For the average machine learning consultant/contractor that equates to approximately £126,000 per annum.

That’s a pretty nifty yearly earning.

Action 🔥🔥🔥

Becoming a consultant or contractor is no easy feat.

You have to be the very best within your respective field and perhaps will have to be well connected than the average person.

Most machine learning consultant and contractors have skills and expertise that are within the top 5% of their profession. Clients expect contractors and consultant to typically have at least 8–10 years of experience underneath their belt.

Like I said, no easy feat.

But the steps to becoming a consultant/contractor are rather straight forward.

The actions for you to take are simple:

  1. Become a top machine learning practitioner
  2. Have years of relevant professional experience

One method of gaining consulting clients is to leverage your network, another way of gaining consulting/contracting client is by signing up to platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork. These are marketplaces for freelancers to provide services to companies or individuals.