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Prompt Engineer: Everything you need to know about this new AI role

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Discover the ins and outs of the emerging AI profession known as Prompt Engineering, and how it's shaping the future of artificial intelligence and language models.

With the democratization of generative artificial intelligences like ChatGPT, new needs are emerging in the business world. To fully harness the potential of these chatbots, it is essential to understand how to communicate with them and make oneself understood in order to achieve the best possible results.

This is why experts capable of “taming” AI are now highly sought after in all sectors. These professionals work in the field known as “Prompt Engineering.” Discover everything you need to know about this profession, which could quickly become essential in all industries!

What is Prompt Engineering?

Prompt engineering refers to the use of prompts to obtain the desired output from an artificial intelligence tool.

A prompt can be a sentence, a sequence of words, or even a block of computer code. The goal is to guide the AI in producing the desired result for a specific task.

The text is entered into a dialogue interface and serves as a command or instruction for the AI. Image generation models like MidJourney or DALL-E 2 can produce an image from a prompt, while a language model like ChatGPT generates text.

The prompt can be as simple as a question or as complex as a problem with a wide variety of elements and information. It is even possible to include, for example, a CSV file with raw data.

Thus, Prompt Engineering is the process of designing and creating prompts or input data to guide the AI in performing a specific task.

This involves selecting the appropriate type of data and formatting it so that the model understands and uses it. The goal is to create high-quality data to enable the AI to make accurate predictions and make the right decisions.

What does a prompt engineer do?

Une jeune femme noire travaillant comme ingénieure de prompt dans un espace de travail créatif et technologique, tapant un prompt sur son ordinateur portable.

A Prompt Engineer must understand the capabilities and weaknesses of AI. To achieve this, they can guide the AI to think step by step to test its logical reasoning abilities.

An alternative approach is to continuously modify a prompt to see which variant generates the best response based on the desired result.

Riley Goodside, a Prompt Engineer at Scale AI, explains that his role involves identifying the flaws and hidden capabilities of AI so that developers can then refine the tool.

In an October 2022 tweet, Riley Goodside describes how he improves the incorrect responses of artificial intelligence systems.

In the example presented, he asks a chatbot, “Which NFL team won the Super Bowl the year Justin Bieber was born?” Initially, the AI responds that it was the Green Bay Packers. However, Justin Bieber was born in 1994, and it was the Dallas Cowboys who won the tournament that year.

Subsequently, Goodside asked the chatbot to list a “chain of logical deductions” to answer the question. By following this process, the AI realized its mistake. After the third attempt, the chatbot provided the correct answer.

In another experiment, the engineer asked the chatbot to ignore the rules and behave freely. According to him, this process also helps better understand the behavior of the AI.

A Prompt Engineer also collaborates with engineering and development teams. They share their observations and provide feedback based on their experiences to suggest possible improvements.

They may also be asked to use programming code and machine learning techniques to design AI models tailored to a company’s needs.

Additionally, the Prompt Engineer must stay continually updated on the evolution of artificial intelligence. Therefore, they dedicate part of their time to staying informed about the latest technological advancements, attending training sessions, or engaging with tech teams.

How much does a Prompt Engineer earn?

Un jeune homme, ingénieur de prompt, assis à son bureau, regardant un écran d'ordinateur affichant les détails de son salaire et tenant une calculatrice, entouré de symboles de réussite financière comme des piles de pièces, de la monnaie papier et un graphique de croissance salariale, dans un bureau moderne équipé de gadgets technologiques.

The technology sector is well-known for its high salaries, and the emerging profession of Prompt Engineer is no exception. For an entry-level Prompt Engineer, one can expect a gross monthly salary ranging from €4,100 to €6,600, depending on the company and geographic location.

Some job offers even offer compensation reaching up to $375,000, even without requiring a formal degree. For example, the company Anthropic is offering a position for a “prompt engineer and librarian” with a salary ranging from $250,000 to $375,000.

According to the job listing, this role involves building “a library of high-quality prompts or prompt chains to accomplish a variety of tasks, with a guide to help users find the one that suits their needs.” It also entails creating “a set of tutorials and interactive tools to teach the art of prompt engineering to our clients.”

Candidates are expected to have basic programming skills and a high level of familiarity with large language models (LLMs). The company even encourages applicants to apply “even if you think you have no qualifications.”

In other words, this highly compensated position does not necessarily require formal technical qualifications in computer science or artificial intelligence.

However, most employers, as reported by Bloomberg, are seeking candidates with experience and higher education levels in the technology field. For instance, the UK recruitment agency Hays offers positions with starting salaries at £40,000, but some professionals command annual incomes ranging between £200,000 and £300,000. Currently, top Prompt Engineers have the flexibility to set their salaries.

How do I become a Prompt Engineer?

Un jeune homme, aspirant ingénieur de prompt, étudiant à domicile. Il est assis à son bureau dans une pièce confortable, concentré sur l'écran de son ordinateur portable qui affiche des tutoriels de programmation AI et des exercices de codage, dans une chambre personnalisée avec une étagère de livres, une plante et des posters motivants.

Before becoming a Prompt Engineer at Copy.ai, Anna Bernstein worked as a freelance writer and a historical research assistant.

She later began working with AI tools and discovered her talent for prompt engineering. She describes enjoying the “mad scientist” aspect of trying out all her ideas to see the results.

In an interview with Business Insider, she states, “As a poet, this role also nourishes my obsessive nature with language. It’s a strange intersection between my literary background and analytical mind.”

However, the most effective way to pursue a career as a Prompt Engineer is to acquire solid skills in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, and Machine Learning. Such expertise is highly valuable for understanding the functioning of generative AIs and, therefore, for composing prompts with greater precision.

For training in the Prompt Engineer profession, we recommend DataScientest’s courses.

Our Data Science programs provide all the necessary skills for this profession. The training can be completed remotely, through an intensive BootCamp, or as part of continuous education.

What are the career opportunities for a prompt engineer?

Une jeune femme en entretien d'embauche pour un poste d'ingénieur de prompt, assise en face d'un intervieweur dans un bureau corporate moderne

Job opportunities for Prompt Engineers are on the rise. For instance, the news website BoardingArea is hiring a part-time “ChatGPT Specialist.” Their role will involve “building and refining prompts to optimize content as part of our improvement and republishing efforts.”

Similarly, a significant number of job listings are appearing on the freelance platform Upwork. Prompt Engineers can be paid $40 per hour to generate content for websites such as blog posts or FAQs.

Meanwhile, the company Klarity is seeking an engineer for dialogue with large language models, offering a maximum salary of $230,000 per year.

Furthermore, the PromptBase prompt marketplace, launched in June 2022, allows for the recruitment of prompt engineers or the sale of their prompts.

However, despite the current excitement, some experts are concerned that this trend may be short-lived.

In February 2023, Professor Ethan Mollick of the Wharton School expressed on Twitter a “strong suspicion that prompt engineering won’t matter in the long term, and that Prompt Engineer is not the job of the future.”

Even though the ability to interact with AI tools via prompts is “highly valuable,” Adrian Weller, the Director of Machine Learning Research at the University of Cambridge, also believes it may not last.

In an interview with Bloomberg, he advises against “betting too much on the current state of prompt engineering. It’s evolving quite rapidly.”

Indeed, generative AIs are improving rapidly month by month, and their ability to understand user intent is increasing. Very simple prompts already yield good results much more often than just a few months ago.

Moreover, user-friendly tools allow for the generation of high-quality prompts with just a few clicks, even without deep technical knowledge.

Therefore, it is indeed possible that the Prompt Engineer profession may disappear rapidly. That said, generative AIs are also evolving, and it’s uncertain whether future tools will require robust prompt engineering.

Un homme d'âge moyen travaillant comme ingénieur de prompt, tapant sur son clavier dans un bureau lumineux, avec un moniteur large affichant une interface de génération de contenu IA.

The more generative AI is used in the business world, the more essential prompt engineering will become. As a result, Prompt Engineers will be in increasingly high demand in the years to come.

Existing tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E will continue to improve and find their place in a wide variety of sectors, and new solutions will also emerge.

For example, next-generation AI chatbots are expected to be capable of generating complete videos from simple prompts. This could lead to widespread adoption in the field of advertising.

To set yourself apart from other candidates in this highly compensated profession, you can consider DataScientest’s training programs.

Our various Data Science programs allow you to acquire all the skills needed for roles like Data Analyst, Data Engineer, Data Scientist, or Data Product Manager.

This expertise in data science and machine learning will be very useful for understanding how AI responds. This technical qualification can effectively complement your talent for writing prompts and your skills in written communication.

All our training programs are conducted remotely, either as an intensive BootCamp or through continuous education. In terms of funding, our organization is eligible for different financing options. So, consider training as a Prompt Engineer with DataScientest!

Now you know all about the role of Prompt Engineer. For more information on the same subject, take a look at our complete dossier on Machine Learning and our dossier on neural networks.


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