What Unexpected Cities and Regions are Hiring AI Experts? What Unexpected Cities and Regions are Hiring AI Experts?
To get a job in AI, you have to get your start in California, right? If that doesn’t appeal to you,... What Unexpected Cities and Regions are Hiring AI Experts?

To get a job in AI, you have to get your start in California, right? If that doesn’t appeal to you, there’s good news. AI is finding its way into even smaller markets as skills penetration for data science and artificial intelligence spreads across the country—more and more places are hiring AI experts. 

[Related Article: Top Jobs That Pave the Way for Becoming a Data Scientist in 2020]

Though you wouldn’t think Bryan-College Station, Texas would have a strong AI skills presence or Oak Ridge, TN would have the highest concentration of PhDs (Burning Glass statistics), the landscape of tech is changing. That means finding a job outside the reach of Silicon Valley or even MIT is well within your grasp.

The Reach of Artificial Intelligence: What Cities are Hiring AI Experts?

Considering jobs outside the major metropolitan areas can still provide you a chance to work on the bleeding edge of tech. If a mid-sized or smaller city appeals to you, here are few places to consider when you’re looking for a place to work.

Columbus, Ohio

According to a study from Burning Glass, Columbus, Ohio, is experiencing the biggest rush of AI jobs in relative numbers. This high growth is due to a number of influences in the area. 

First, there’s Ohio State’s state of the art robotics and artificial intelligence lab, producing forward thinkers and innovators right in the city. The Lab, the Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Lab, is a public/private partnership between the state university and local tech and manufacturing companies.

Batelle is a recent DARPA award winner and will begin to explore the intersection of brain science with artificial intelligence in Columbus as well. It’s part of a DARPA program exploring intelligent neural interfaces, and Batelle will be working on smoothing out issues with neural decoders. 

It’s also home to IBM Watson’s big data center, the information nonprofit OCLC, and the research center CAS (a division of the American Chemical Society, Columbus could become the epicenter of experiments and questions concerning the intersection of AI and society.

Knoxville, TN

Knoxville’s rise in AI could be attributed to its proximity to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a leading institute delivering research insights through supercomputing. The area is home to one of the largest concentrations of PhDs in the nation and that talent funnels to and from Knoxville.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville hosts NeuroNet, a large scale neuroscience research center with partnerships between Oak Ridge and other factions of UT. The city is home to quite a few AI startups, including Lirio. Along with Ohio, Tennessee itself is experiencing considerable growth in AI job postings and opportunities because of the state’s friendliness to business, and its regional affordability.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville is home to a large military installation and quite a few artificial intelligence startups. According to Burning Glass, Jacksonville’s AI market is growing almost as fast as Columbus. Government contracts looking to the future of AI for both data collection and things like predictive intelligence could pop up in an area heavily influenced by military presence.

Some interesting Jacksonville-based startups include SGS, an artificial intelligence solutions company focusing on consulting, and NLP Logix, which recently formed a partnership with Data Dimensions.

Florida is also home to groundbreaking work in artificial intelligence and medicine, with VA hospitals concentrated in Tampa using AI to diagnose and treat cancer. Building a career focused on military operations through intelligence AI could be a good reason to look to Jacksonville and even the state of Florida itself.

Rochester, Minnesota

If you can handle those Minnesota winters, you can find some excellent job growth in AI here. Google recently announced the intention to open an office in Rochester to partner with the Mayo Clinic in a ten-year partnership deal to accelerate medical research

The Mayo Clinic is heavily invested in AI-based research for a variety of objectives in the area of health, and a variety of local startups are exploring the same end goal. HealthTech startup Amicii is hoping to democratize AI algorithms for diagnosis by a mobile device. Phenomix Sciences is using AI to provide intuitive obesity treatments by using an AI-driven segmentation process, and Phraze hopes to develop an AI-driven medical scribe to handle the administrative load of documentation and digital transformation.

The state of Minnesota is building a substantial influence in the medical space through a variety of startups and research partnerships, all working with the power of modified AI algorithms to address everything from discovery to research to administrative tasks.

Moving AI Outside Silicon Valley

Finding cutting edge work with AI can happen without having to relocate to a large urban area. There’s an excellent chance that you’ll be able to find cutting edge work within lesser-known areas even outside the ones on this list, because the list of places hiring AI experts is always expanding.  

[Related Article: Big Fields Hiring Data Scientists for 2020]

More and more cities and states are responding to the potential of AI and tech by funding new startup ventures and bringing partnerships into their areas. With the right connections and a good idea, you may even find more traction to start one of your own with less competition than the infamous California bubble.

How ODSC Can Help

ODSC East this April 13-17 is a great way to both find a job and brush up on the skills you need to get a job. At the AI Career Lab & Expo, you’ll be able to meet with hiring partners, interview for jobs on-the-spot, and hear inspiring talks from leaders in AI on how best to get a job, improve your resume, and carve a niche in the field.

Elizabeth Wallace, ODSC

Elizabeth is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for startups. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do. Connect with her on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethawallace/