Machine learning
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Want a career in machine learning? Here’s what you need to study

17 May 2017

With the CAO change-of-mind facility, there’s still time to switch degree for a career in machine learning.

Machine learning is similar to data analysis, but they’re not quite the same thing.

While a data analyst has to produce insights and be able to tell a story with the data they have, a machine learning engineer’s output is largely software-based, which means their data has to be understood by machines instead of people.

For this reason, software engineering knowledge is critical to a machine learning engineer. There are specific software engineering courses in various institutions including: University College Dublin (UCD), Maynooth University, NUI Galway, Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

At Maynooth, there is a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in computer science and software engineering.

AIT has a bachelor of engineering degree in software engineering and a bachelor of science degree in software design.

For further study, DIT has a master’s degree in applied software technology and University of Limerick has a master’s in software engineering, with UCD also offering a PhD in the latter field.

While software engineering is an important skill in machine learning, you don’t have to complete such a specific degree to start off with. More than 20 institutions across the country offer computer science degrees, many of which include machine learning as a module.

Another education road you can go down for something more specifically related to data is a degree in big data or data science.

Dublin City University has a bachelor’s degree in data science and a master’s degree in computing with data analytics, in conjunction with IBM.

There are other master’s programmes in data analytics at University College Cork and UCD.

With so many options available, there are plenty of ways to gain an education in machine learning. When deciding what to study and how to be a successful machine learning engineer, remember that data and software engineering are the two key components, and go from there.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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