If you love playing around with AI and fantasize about getting paid well for it, the job title of ‘prompt engineer’ may be of interest to you. Reports indicate that this job title pays between $175k to $300k per year and there are real companies seeking prompt engineers and offering generous pay packages. However, before you start to envision a six-figure salary, know that most prompt engineer jobs aren’t really all that lucrative, and the ones that are might not exist for long.
Victor Sanh, a researcher at the AI company Huggingface, explains that the role of prompt engineering is to make systems like ChatGPT and GPT-4 more resilient to the formulation of prompts and instructions. This is achieved through teaching the system to interpret plain language and recognize formulas. Sanh explained that prompt engineers are needed to spot when a system is failing to provide a proper response and devises ways to make a given system produce a “proper response.”
While some companies, such as Anthropic, are hiring prompt engineers, and the job title is becoming increasingly prominent, one researcher speculates that it is a temporary position. The fragility of AI systems is a well-known weakness that companies producing these models are working to mitigate. Instead, a highly specialized “automated information processing system” may be favored over a chatbot for healthcare industries, such as Boston Children’s Hospital.
So what makes a good prompt engineer? While there is no credentialing process in place yet, Sanh recommended a background in coding and machine learning to help with understanding the strengths and weaknesses of AI models.
In conclusion, the title of prompt engineer is still a new area of work and while many show enthusiasm for quantifiable financial rewards, it has its pitfalls. Nevertheless, lucrative AI jobs aside, the technology is here to stay, and those with acquired skills will be best equipped to navigate the new AI-dominated world.