With NLP engineers, we can do much of what we do with our phones daily!
So if you love working with technology that’s constantly evolving with new advancements and want to be a part of making its future possible, consider becoming an NLP engineer!
NLP Engineer Job Role
NLP engineers are the people who make the world a better place—and you could be one of them.
If you love to use your skills to solve new problems and impact the world, NLP engineering is an ideal career for you.
You’ll create devices and systems that can understand human language as an NLP engineer. You’ll parcel language into shorter, more basic structures, work to understand the relationship between the forms and analyze how the structural pieces work together to create meaning.
You’ll use these linguistic tools to engineer computers that perform practical tasks involving human language—like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri!
NLP engineers have:
- A strong aptitude for mathematics, particularly algebra and statistics.
- They’re skilled at data modeling and engineering structures.
- They thrive when facing challenges.
- They keep up with the latest technologies.
- They enjoy being part of a collaborative team.
- They’re excellent communicators.
- They have a passion for building something new every day.
NLP Engineer Roles and Responsibilities
NLP Engineers are responsible for developing and designing language understanding systems and effectively using text representation techniques. It involves dealing with speech patterns, AI speech recognition, understanding natural languages, and natural language generation.
Furthermore, they work on scripts to analyze and process text data while measuring language understanding accuracy.
Responsibilities of an NLP Engineer:
- Design and develop NLP systems according to requirements
- Use effective text representations to transform natural language into valuable features
- Develop NLP systems according to requirements
- Train the developed model and run evaluation experiments
- Find and implement suitable algorithms and tools for NLP tasks
- Performing statistical analysis of results and refining models
- Constantly keep up to date with the field of machine learning
- Maintain NLP libraries and frameworks
NLP Engineer Skills
As an NLP Engineer, you’ll be responsible for creating software that can understand and respond to natural language. You’ll work with text representation techniques, semantic extraction algorithms, data structures, and modeling to design software that can effectively parse and process text.
This job requires a strong understanding of statistical methods and machine learning frameworks to design effective models you can deploy in production. In addition to these skills, you will also need programming skills such as Python and Java or R.
NLP Engineers must be able to write robust code that is testable and maintainable. They should also have experience with Big Data frameworks such as Spark or Hadoop. Writing code in multiple languages will be beneficial when working on large datasets.
What is the Average Day for an NLP Engineer?
While we just outlined the typical NLP engineer responsibilities, it’s important to point out that an “average day” for each NLP will differ based on the industry and organization. In this day-in-the-life article from Acclaro, an NLP engineer talks about how his day “has its fill of interruptions — extremely good interruptions, like emails about new projects and ideas” that can impact his company’s growth.
If you’re an NLP engineer, expect to dive deep into data, analysis, predictive models, and algorithms. Depending on the company or organization, you may likely work with other engineers, data scientists, designers, and front-end developers. You may find yourself in a fair amount of meetings and will probably have to relay technical information to a non-technical audience through reports or presentations.
Paths to Become an NLP Engineer (Degree vs. Non-degree)
Many NLP engineers come from academic backgrounds. An associate or bachelor’s degree in engineering, data science, or computer science is typically preferred. If a bachelor’s degree isn’t mandatory, a certain amount of experience may be required (including the completion of some NLP courses).
Earning a certificate is also a good way to gain experience, according to Freelancermap. In some cases, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is required.
Many companies offer junior-level or apprentice positions or internships where not as much experience is required. This is a good way to get your foot in the door.
NLP Engineer Hard Skills
If you peruse any type of NLP engineer job posting, you’ll likely see the same types of required skills, which, according to Workable, include:
- Experience with programming languages (Python, Java and R)
- Statistical analysis
- Machine learning (ML) methods
- Text representation techniques
- Ability to write “robust and testable code”
- Experience with ML frameworks and libraries
Strong programming skills and previous NLP experience is often a must-have for many positions, especially senior-level ones. Government or defense contractor positions may also require a security clearance.
NLP Engineer Soft Skills
Soft skills are often desired just as much as hard skills because employers are seeking NLP professionals who are team players, problem solvers and excellent communicators.
Additional soft skills, courtesy of Indeed, include:
- Conflict management
- Critical thinking
- Time management
Education Requirements for an NLP Engineer
So, what kind of degree is typically preferred to become an NLP engineer? The answer is an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as engineering, data science, or computer science. A master’s degree in a related subject such as data science or artificial intelligence or a Ph.D. with a focus in NLP is likely to be preferred or required for high-level positions. A certain amount of professional experience may also be a sufficient substitute for an advanced degree, depending on the company.
NLP Engineer vs. Other Similar Job Titles
A search for “natural language processing engineer” or “NLP engineer” on sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed will turn up thousands of search results. In many cases, “NLP” is not in the name of a job title, but the positions listed include natural language processing-related job responsibilities. These titles include:
- Software Engineer
- Machine Learning Engineer
- Artificial Intelligence Engineer
- Language Engineer
- Natural Language Understanding Engineer
- NLP Data Scientist
- NLP Research Scientist/Engineer
- Research Engineer
- Research and Development Engineer
- Data Science Solutions Engineer
- Data Scientist
How to Move up the NLP Engineer Ranks
According to Hired, starting as a junior-level NLP engineer is a good way to gain experience and become proficient with the required tools and methods you’ll need to eventually work your way up the ladder. You will also likely work with other engineers, which can be extremely valuable.
Just like with any position at any company, you can move up the ranks by proving that you’re extremely valuable to the company or organization. Attaining a senior-level position may take time, experience and advanced education. A master’s degree or Ph.D. in a related field can provide more experience and set you apart from other candidates, especially if you’re eyeing a more senior-level position — and in some cases, it’s required.
Companies by Industry Hiring NLP Engineers
NLP engineers are the most sought-after in Seattle, New York, Boston, London, and the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the job resource Hired. But the good news is that most industries — as outlined below — have job postings for all types of positions. Based on recent job searches conducted on LinkedIn and Indeed, here is a breakdown of companies by an industry that has listed NLP engineer-related positions:
- Under Armour
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
Information Technology & Services
- Fidelity Investments
- Capital One
- Bank of America
- Farmers Insurance
- Warner Bros. Entertainment
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Yale University
Defense & Space
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Lockheed Martin
Marketing & Advertising
- Johnson & Johnson
- CVS Health
- Anthem, Inc.
- The National Institutes of Health
- Federal Reserve Board
- Food and Drug Administration
- National Security Agency
Visit LinkedIn and Indeed for the most up-to-date search results.
NLP Engineer Career Outlook
The artificial intelligence industry as a whole is rapidly evolving — with hundreds of new job postings every day around the world. In fact, a recent LinkedIn search revealed more than 500 job postings in 24 hours for “natural language processing engineer” positions (and 3,000-plus postings for AI positions within the last 24 hours). While this number will change daily, it’s safe to say the outlook for NLP engineer positions is extremely promising.
On a broader level, the projected growth for Computer and Information Research Scientists is projected to grow 22% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average for other occupations. This category includes jobs that invent and design new approaches to technology and find uses for existing technology.
NLP Engineer Salaries
The salary ranges for an NLP engineer will vary depending on the company, position level, your experience and where the role is physically located, but ZipRecruiter provides an average salary of $134,096. According to Hired, the average salary for an NLP engineer in Seattle is $156,680 and $146,142 in Washington, D.C.
NLP Engineer Salary
If you’re thinking about a career in NLP and you’re wondering how much you can expect to make, the good news is that there are plenty of variables to consider, and we can help you figure out how to get the best deal for yourself.
According to Glassdoor, An NLP Engineer’s Salary ranges around $1,16,708 annually in the US, but it can sometimes be significantly higher depending on the individual’s experience.
In India, an NLP Engineer’s salary ranges around INR 7,36,609 anually. The industry and experience level substantially impact your earnings potential. Even the company you work for will change how much they pay their employees.
NLP Engineer Job Outlook
Artificial intelligence is taking over the world.
In fact, according to LinkedIn, there are more than 500 job openings for natural language processing engineers right now and more than 3,000 for AI positions.
While this number will change daily, it’s safe to say that the outlook for NLP engineer positions is auspicious. It is estimated that the number of computer and information research scientists will grow by 22% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than other occupations.
We’re not just looking at a job market for NLP engineers shortly; we’re looking at an entire career path that you can take advantage of now!
1. How do I become an NLP expert?
You can expect to use your skills to solve complex problems as an NLP engineer. You will need to be comfortable with mathematical concepts and have strong programming skills and expertise in statistical analysis.
Many options are available for obtaining a degree in computer science or a related field. The best course of action is to choose one that fits your interests and goals. You will also need to participate in internships and gain industry experience before applying for a job as an NLP engineer.
Once you’ve completed your education, you’ll want to ensure that you have all the necessary certifications for this role. Several certificates are available from leading organizations such as IBM and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
2. What is an NLP engineer?
NLP engineers are computer science experts who use their knowledge of AI, information sciences, linguistics, and other fields to create programs that can understand human languages. That’s right: They’re the brains behind the technology that helps us do everything
3. Is NLP a promising career?
The income of NLP engineers is on the upper end of the average income of engineers. So if you would like to choose a career that provides a good source of income, then it is definitely worth it.
4. How do I start studying NLP?
If you’re looking for a way to learn NLP, a great place to start is with Simplilearn’s Professional Certificate Program in AI & Machine Learning.
5. Is NLP difficult to learn?
Using the right resources to learn NLP makes it easy to learn.
6. What skills are needed for NLP?
When you pursue an NLP engineer job posting, you’ll see the same types of skills required: Python, Java and R for programming. Statistical analysis, machine learning methods and text representation techniques for statistical analysis. The ability to write robust code with testability in mind. Experience with ML frameworks and libraries for robust coding.