How to Become a Machine Learning Engineer – The Definitive Guide

Machine Learning (ML) is an application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that enables computer systems to learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. In simple terms, it is a method of teaching computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions based on that learning. 

Machine learning engineers play a crucial role in developing and implementing ML models. They are responsible for designing, building, and deploying ML systems that can process large amounts of data and generate insights.

The job demand for machine learning engineers has grown by more than 344% over the past five years due to the fact that organizations across various industries, such as finance and e-commerce, are leveraging ML to gain a competitive edge. The average salary for an engineer is around $113,000/year, making it a lucrative career choice.

How to Become Machine Learning Engineer

In this guide on becoming a machine learning engineer, we will cover everything from the required education and skills to the tools and technologies used in the field. Whether you are just starting out in your career or looking to make a transition, we have got you covered! 

The Duties and Responsibilities of a Machine Learning Engineer

The Duties and Responsibilities of a Machine Learning Engineer
  • ML engineer designs, develops and deploys ML models to process large amounts of data and generate insights.
  • Strong understanding of programming languages such as Python, R, and Java, as well as mathematical concepts and algorithms for ML.
  • Identify and solve problems through ML and collaborates with stakeholders and subject matter experts. 
  • Identify the right data sources, metrics, and models for effective solutions.
  • Collects and cleans data needed to train and test the ML model. 
  • Analyzes the data to identify patterns and insights for improving model accuracy and performance.
  • Understanding of cloud computing platforms such as AWS, Azure, and GCP to ensure scalability and reliability.

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Machine Learning Engineer?

Some of the key skills that are essential for a successful career in ML include:

Programming skills: Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, R, and Java is essential to have a strong foundation in algorithms, data structures, and object-oriented programming.

Mathematics and Statistics: Knowledge of linear algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics is essential to understand the mathematical concepts underlying machine learning algorithms.

Machine learning concepts: Understanding key concepts such as supervised and unsupervised learning, deep learning, and neural networks is essential.

Data preprocessing and analysis: The ability to clean, preprocess, and analyze data using tools such as Pandas, NumPy, and Scikit-learn is crucial.

Problem-solving skills: Machine learning engineers should possess excellent problem-solving skills to develop efficient and accurate models.

Communication skills: Good communication skills are essential to explain complex concepts and models to stakeholders and team members.

Domain knowledge: Knowledge of the industry or domain in which the machine learning model will be applied is necessary to develop effective solutions.

Developing these skills through formal education, online courses, bootcamps, and personal projects is crucial to becoming a successful machine learning engineer.

6 Steps to Become an Expert Machine Learning Engineer 

Steps to Become an Expert Machine Learning Engineer 
  1. Develop Strong Foundations
  2. Earn a Degree and Learn tha Tools 
  3. Choose a Career
  4. Build a Strong Portfolio 
  5. Network and Collaborate with Other ML Engineers

Step 1: Develop Strong Foundations

Developing strong foundations is a crucial step in becoming an expert ML Engineer. It involves a solid understanding of the core concepts and principles underpinning the field. To do so, candidates should focus on several key areas, particularly mathematics, which is essential for developing algorithms and models in Machine Learning.

Candidates should understand computer science concepts such as data structures, algorithms, and programming languages. Practical coding experience is also important, as candidates should be able to code, debug, and test software applications. 

A solid understanding of statistics is important, including familiarity with hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and probability distributions, as these concepts are essential for designing and evaluating models. 

In addition, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are required to approach problems systematically. By doing so, candidates can build a solid foundation for a successful career in ML.

Step 2: Earn a Degree

Earning a degree is essential to becoming a machine learning engineer. A degree program in computer science, data science, mathematics, or a related field will equip you with the necessary foundational knowledge to excel in this career path. 

You will be required to work with various programming languages and tools, including Python, R, and Java. Therefore, it is crucial to learn and master these languages to enhance your programming skills.Learning popular tools such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-Learn will help you become a competent machine learning engineer.

Educational programs, such as machine learning bootcamps, courses, and traditional degrees, can help candidates learn the required skills and technologies. Online courses and bootcamps provide experience with programming languages and machine learning tools through projects and assignments, and therefore, students must conduct in-depth research on this. 

Step 3: Look for an Internship

There are several avenues to find internships and job opportunities in the field of machine learning. One of the best places to start is by searching on job portals such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, and Monster. These platforms allow you to search for job opportunities based on your skills, experience, and location.

Bootcamps and courses can also be a great way to explore your career options. Online courses and bootcamps offer job placement services and partnerships with industry leaders. These partnerships provide a platform for graduates to showcase their skills and connect with potential employers.

Internships are an excellent way to begin your career trajectory. They provide an opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and gain practical experience through exposure to the latest technologies and techniques. The best way to find internships is by searching on job portals or contacting your network.

Step 4: Build a Strong Portfolio 

Building a solid portfolio is another step to showcase your skills and expertise in machine learning. A portfolio is a collection of your projects, research, and other works demonstrating your ML proficiency. A strong portfolio can make a significant difference in securing job opportunities, internships, and admission to graduate programs.

It is essential to start with small projects and work your way up. Begin by working on simple machine learning projects and gradually increase the complexity and scope of your projects. You can also participate in online competitions such as Kaggle to gain exposure to real-world datasets and gain practical experience in building ML models.

Additionally, documenting your work and writing blog posts can also be an effective way to showcase your skills and thought process. Blog posts can highlight your insights, the challenges you faced, and the solutions you implemented, demonstrating your problem-solving abilities and technical skills.

Another way to build a strong portfolio is by contributing to open-source projects. This can showcase your skills in collaborating with others and provide a platform to showcase your work to a wider audience. Finally, curating your portfolio to showcase your best work is important. Focus on electing projects that demonstrate a wide range of skills and expertise,

Step 5: Network and Collaborate with Other ML Engineers

To be a machine learning expert, networking and collaborating with machine learning engineers is critical for success in this field. It offers the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, share knowledge, and build a strong network of contacts.

Platforms like GitHub, Kaggle, and Stack Overflow provide opportunities to collaborate with other professionals in the field, ask questions, and share knowledge. Social media platforms like LinkedIn also offer opportunities to connect with other machine learning engineers and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.

Attending industry events such as conferences, meetups, and workshops is another way to network and collaborate. These events provide opportunities to meet and learn from experts in the field, build relationships with peers, and showcase your work to potential employers or collaborators.

Finally, it’s essential to actively seek out mentorship and guidance from experienced professionals in the field. Mentors can provide valuable insights into the industry, offer advice on career development, and provide feedback on your work.

Step 6: Stay Up-to-date

To remain competitive, aspiring machine learning engineers must continuously learn and stay current on the latest developments in the field. Machine learning is a rapidly evolving discipline, with new techniques and technologies constantly emerging.

One way to stay up-to-date is by reading industry publications and blogs. These sources offer insights into the latest research, trends, and best practices in the field. Popular publications in the machine learning space include Towards Data Science, KDnuggets, and the Google AI Blog.

Attending conferences, workshops, and meetups is another way to stay up-to-date. Popular conferences include the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), and the European Conference on ML and Principles and Practice of Knowledge (ECML-PKDD).

Online courses and bootcamps can also help professionals stay up-to-date. These programs offer the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques from industry experts, often in a structured and immersive environment. Popular online machine-learning courses include those offered by Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare. 

How Can a Machine Learning Background Translate Into Different Career Opportunities?

A machine learning background can lead to various career opportunities in various industries. Some of the job roles that are available for candidates with a machine learning background include:

  1. Machine Learning Engineer
  2. Data Scientist
  3. Artificial Intelligence Engineer
  4. Deep Learning Engineer
  5. Computer Vision Engineer
  6. Natural Language Processing Engineer
  7. Robotics Engineer
  8. Quantitative Analyst
  9. Research Scientist
  10. Business Intelligence Analyst

These roles require different levels of expertise and have varying responsibilities, but all require a strong foundation in machine learning concepts and programming skills. 

How to become a Good Machine Learning Engineer with no Experience?

Building a portfolio of personal projects is an excellent way for candidates to showcase their skills and practical experience. You can work on projects such as developing a recommendation engine, building a chatbot, or analyzing data sets to demonstrate your skills to potential employers. Participating in coding competitions can also help candidates gain experience.

Getting involved in the machine learning community is essential. Attending conferences, meetups, and networking events can help candidates meet industry professionals, learn about new technologies and trends, and find potential job opportunities. Candidates can also join online communities like LinkedIn groups to stay updated with the latest developments.

How to Become Machine Learning Engineer – FAQs

Is Machine Learning a Growing Field?

Yes, Machine Learning is a growing field. The demand for ML professionals has increased by 344% in recent years, with many industries using machine learning to improve their business operations, leading to a growth rate of 

Can I Learn Machine Learning Online?

Yes, you can learn machine learning online. There are many online courses, tutorials, and resources available that provide a comprehensive learning experience. Platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer a range of courses and bootcamps, from introductory to advanced, that cover ML concepts and programming languages like Python. 

Can I Become a Machine Learning Engineer in 3 Months?

Becoming a Machine Learning Engineer in three months may be possible but it is challenging.  Gaining a foundational understanding of ML concepts and programming languages is essential, which can take several months. However, by taking intensive boot camps and working on personal projects to gain practical experience, students can quicken the process. 


In conclusion, becoming a machine learning engineer requires a combination of skills, dedication, and hard work. By following the six steps outlined in this definitive guide, you can build a solid foundation for a career in ML engineering.

You’ll be part of a dynamic and innovative field shaping technology’s future. So, if you’re passionate about problem-solving, data analysis, and programming, this is your perfect career path.

Don’t be intimidated by the complexity of the field. Take the first step today, and start learning by enrolling in the best online boot camps and courses. 

With the right mindset, resources, and determination, you can learn how to become an ML engineer and participate in the thrilling journey of developing cutting-edge AI solutions. So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey today and become a part of the exciting world of machine learning engineering!