AI skills are the ticket to the best paid tech jobs in 2024

Developers with AI skills working at desks in an open plan office space.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

AI skills could offer the most lucrative job opportunities in 2024 and beyond, according to job site Indeed, netting far better salaries than general tech roles.

A new report from the company found that half of the highest-paid skills are related to AI at present, offering an average salary of around $174,000 and 47% higher than for those without the skill.

"While we’re seeing tech layoffs make headlines, many of the companies conducting layoffs are shifting their focus to AI-related efforts, which is why we are seeing an uptick in demand for these skills and roles, even at companies conducting layoffs," said Indeed editor Jocelyne Gafner.

These companies, according to the report, include Apple, Nvidia, Lockheed Martin, and Tiktok, with job postings for generative AI roles having seen a remarkable 306% increase since September 2022.

"From industry giants like Deloitte and Meta to innovative disruptors like TikTok and NVIDIA, these companies are at the forefront of driving technological advancements," Gafner said.

"As they continue to prioritize AI-related efforts, their recruitment focus on roles such as data scientists, machine learning engineers and software architects underscores the pivotal role of these skills in shaping the future of technology."

Meanwhile, searches for generative AI jobs have surged nearly 4,000% in the last year.

Overall, though, and perhaps because of turbulence and widespread layoffs in the tech sector, tech jobs barely made the cut in Indeed's annual list of Best Jobs.

This is despite having been among the fastest growing and most coveted positions in previous years.

In fact, the report found over 30,000 tech employees were laid off in January 2024 - barely a third of the number laid off in the same month last year.

"The January jobs report shows 2024 is off to a strong start with high amounts of job openings, but tech workers will have to hone their skills and work to market themselves a bit more strategically than in the past," Gafner noted.

While generative AI leads the pack as the most desirable tech skill, others include system-on-chip (SoC), deep learning, Torch, PyTorch, computer vision, SystemVerilog, Mesos, Rust, and Elixir.

Indeed noted that while 43% of job seekers consider lack of certifications as a top barrier to finding the job they want, a majority of these skills can be learned through online courses.

The UK government recently announced a new £118 million funding boost for AI skills, and promised to introduce a new visa scheme to make it easier for businesses to bring talented AI practitioners to the UK via internships and placements with domestic firms and universities.

And in a report last month, Thomson Reuters found AI roles represent nearly one-third of all advertisements on the UK job market. Nine-in-ten C-suite board directors said they planned to use generative AI in the next 18 months.

"One thing everyone can agree on is that the tech industry is changing, and likely irrevocably," Gafner said.

"Job seekers would do well to consider the changing industry's new demands, which include changes stemming from the widespread adoption of generative AI. While Gen AI will touch virtually every industry, tech will be impacted the most."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.