Essential Skills Needed for Machine Learning: A Guide for a Non-Technical Manager

July 30, 2020



For the past 10 years, machine learning has made a silent revolution in the world. From capturing selfies with a blurry background and focused face to having any question imaginable answered by virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, if you are like most – you are becoming more and more dependent on applications and products that implement machine learning at the core.

Due to the uptick in demand for machine learning capabilities, more people are asking – what are the skills needed for machine learning-based careers?

While there are several technical skills required, for non-technical managers who deal with machine learning in their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, there are a few soft skills to know.

Communication Skills

Communication is an essential skill to have, even as a non-technical manager. Some of the areas where effective communication is essential include:

In each of the scenarios mentioned above, having superior communication skills puts you ahead of people who don’t have these skills.

Being able to communicate your qualifications and projects appropriately will put you ahead of your competition. This is crucial when applying for a new job or hiring those for your team.

There are several ways to improve your communication skills. These include:

As you can see, good communication skills are essential in this field/position.

Team Work

As someone who works in the machine learning field, you have the essential responsibility of managing projects and various AI initiatives in a company. This results in those in these positions being able to operate within a cross-functional team.

For example, in this role, you may have to communicate with data administrators on the provision of data storage or data lakes. Most of the software products used today require a front-facing interface, as a result of this.

You will work closely with software developers, testers, machine learning engineers, and designers, which means having the ability to work as a team is crucial. An environment of effective teamwork helps create a pleasant working environment, resulting in efficient working processes.

Teamwork is a skill that works along with superior communication skills. The more effective you are at communicating personal and technical requirements, the easier it will be to contribute and collaborate effectively with your team.

There are several tools you can use to help support effective teamwork – both in-house and remotely. Some of the most popular include:

Each of these offers and easy-to-use interface that helps you remain updated about what is going on with particular projects.

Time Management Skills

Time management refers to delegating a specific amount of time to a certain measure of success. One of the main by-products of proper time management is efficient task completion and increased productivity.

While you will have the role of implementing machine learning systems and models, you have other responsibilities, too. A result of these additional duties means that you must prioritize tasks and assign the proper amount of effort and time to complete them to a satisfactory level.

Some of the responsibilities you have include:

Remember, though, making a plan isn’t enough. There is a lot of effort needed to maximize productivity with proper prioritization. When you tackle the essential tasks first, you will feel as though you have correctly utilized your time.

When asked about the time needed to complete a machine learning task, whatever time you think of initially, double, or even triple it to be safe. This will ensure you can meet your deadline and potentially exceed expectations.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is a crucial soft skill for any non-technical individual working in machine learning. It does not matter what level of your career you are in; you have to cultivate leadership traits.

This is a trait that enables a person to inspire, motivate, and to direct a group of people to achieve a common goal.

There are several ways you can show off your leadership abilities and skills. These include:

Show Your Passion

You must always portray a passion for the project you are working on, or at a minimum, the desire for AI. By showing your passion, you can create inspiration among the members of your team.

Understand the Cause

You must understand the cause behind your project, organization, or company. When you know the “why” to the actions and the decisions made by an organization or business, you can properly execute the needed actions beyond just the technical capabilities you have.

Lead by Example

One of the perfect ways to illustrate this will be for you to take on or to complete a task or project that is virtually impossible. When you show your ability and willingness to take on challenging tasks, they will be more willing to follow suit.

Soft Skills Needed for Machine Learning Managers – Now You Know

When it comes to the soft skills needed for machine learning, you will find there are several things you must be able to do. Don’t underestimate the benefits of having the right skills, as this is going to pay off in the long run.

If you are interested in learning more about the skills required for the machine learning field, look into our educational courses. We offer the information and skills needed to ensure project success.