Looking For advice to choose subfield in AI

Hi. currently, I’m studying artificial intelligence and getting my master’s degree. But I’m struggling. to choose the subfield that I want to work on. I’m getting excited about all the topics and subjects like neural networks and deep learning, image processing, data science, and NLP, since I want to get my Ph.D. too I need some pieces of advice about which one of these options has more potential and fully funded Ph.D. positions.

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Greetings Alireza217,

Here are a few suggestions on how to choose a field:

  1. Choose an industry - The industry you work in will determine the types of problems you will solve. Do you want to work in healthcare and improve outcomes or work in a new field like computational psychiatry? Do you want to work in finance and help people improve their financial livelihood?

  2. Choose a role - Are you looking to become a Data Scientist or Machine Learning Engineer or a Research Scientist?

A Data Scientist works with people who are tasked with making strategic decisions, in areas of sales, marketing and corporate strategy. You would be doing research and designing experiments to draw inference and explain the effect of behavior on business metric to executive stakeholders.

An ML engineer looks for a problem to solve, finds the data and builds an algorithm to make predictions or draw inference. You’re constantly looking to improve your algorithm in terms of accuracy to gain competitive advantage. This type of work is very repetitive, you are looking to achieve incremental improvements 1% at a time when it comes to model performance.

I don’t know much about becoming a research scientist or what they do. You’re probably working in a lab looking to discover new insights and probably spending a lot of time writing, publishing papers and doing tons of experiments.


Thank you very much for your answer, i guess between all the roles you have mentioned I’m more into becoming a research scientist but since I’m starting from the scratch i think i have a long way to go


Yes, but we all have to start somewhere :slightly_smiling_face:

I would suggest you start looking for a mentor to help guide you through your career path.

When I started studying data science, I found a researcher who works at one of the healthcare institutions here. I reached out to him and told him how much I admire his work and would love to do something similar. He offered me a role at his research facility and I worked with him for 3 months. Mostly observing other researchers try to solve problems in healthcare.

I’ve also seen a lot of companies offer paid internship to PhD students, so something you want to consider when you get to that point.


Hey @dan_herman, thanks for this share! Please can you let me know how you found the researcher who works at one of the healthcare institutions around you? Thank you.

I’m interested in making the same type of move but maybe in finance or legal services. I’m involved in both spaces in industry.

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I was looking for issues with mental health, so I googled “mental health data science”.

The results returned this link.

I went to LinkedIn and searched for people who worked at the psychiatry department. I found a researcher who had skills in machine learning. I reached out and explained what I was trying to do and that I admired his work. I asked if he could help me find a compelling problem to solve with machine learning and he just agreed to help.

Nothing too complex, just be authentic in expressing your passion and your admiration for someone who is doing important work. Ask for help with humility and they will usually help.


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Noted. @dan_herman, thank you very much!

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