In today’s technology-oriented world of digital communications, social media, and the internet of things, we generate a colossal amount of data every day. Text data constitute nearly 80 percent of this stockpile, capable of providing crucial insights to businesses.
Therefore, Natural Language Processing or NLP is gaining prominence in assisting data scientists with interpreting and analyzing this text data. In this article, we will help you understand the market demand for this branch of artificial intelligence and cover the latest NLP engineer salary trends.
Table of Contents
What is NLP?
Computers require extra support when it comes to handling unstructured datasets of human languages, which comprises different grammar languages, syntax, slangs, and dialects. NLP uses data and mathematics to help you engineer computers so that they can understand and interpret natural expressions. Learn more about natural language processing.
NLP solutions deliver immense value for organizations across different sectors, from digital communications to healthcare and medicine to finance, marketing, and retail. Here are some of the most common applications of NLP in the industry today:
- Spell checks
- Text classification
- Automatic summary generation
- Language identification
- Sentiment analysis
- Market intelligence
- Virtual assistance (for example, Alexa and Siri)
Read more: NLP Applications for Businesses
Jobs related to NLP engineering
NLP is an emerging technology that lies at the intersection of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. According to a World Economic Forum study, the proliferation of machines and algorithms will create 133 million new jobs by 2022.
Moreover, the future will hold many opportunities for experienced professionals and those with the right training in the AI/ML space. The ‘Future of Jobs in India’ report by EY and Nasscom estimated that 9% of our workforce would be employed in roles that require new skill sets.
NLP engineering is concerned with designing and developing systems and defining appropriate datasets for language learning. Companies typically hire NLP engineers to undertake the following tasks:
- To engineer a device capable of understanding human language and completing an action.
- To create computers that can analyze and generate human languages, including speech functions.
- Build computer programs and applications to understand the spoken human language.
Generally, recruiters look for people who possess a strong aptitude in mathematics and statistics. They want someone who knows the ins and outs of data modeling and engineering structures.
They also prefer candidates who can identify and implement new technologies while working with the company. For example, a banking company hires you to develop a downloadable app with voice-activated capabilities to serve its customers better. While structuring the NLP components of your app and referring to the consumer data, you may come across another voice-activated feature that can trump your competitors.
If you look at the current NLP engineer salary figures across the industry, you will notice that employers are offering attractive remuneration and incentives to reward and encourage the job market entrants.
NLP salary in India
In this section, we will infer the average pay of various NLP related career paths from two leading search engines for worldwide job listings, Indeed and PayScale. These websites perform their calculations and estimations using data from past and present job advertisements. In general, NLP engineering jobs mention machine learning, data analysis, Python, R, statistical analysis, etc. as the desired skills. Also, the paying capacity of companies varies across different geographical locations.
Upon observing the individual job positions listed on Indeed, we find the following things:
1. Data Science Intern
Role: Performing exploratory data analysis, researching new algorithms and machine learning approaches, and assisting a team of professionals in conducting analyses and solving problems.
Average salary: ₹ 13,966 per month
2. Data Scientist
Role: Designing data modeling processes to collect, clean, process raw data, and aiding data analysis tasks.
Average salary: ₹ 6,69,628 per year
Learn more: Data Scientist Salary in India
3. Research Engineer
Role: Analyzing, implementing, and testing the instruments and devices in research labs. Additionally, they may be involved in writing grant proposals and maintaining contact with research sponsors.
Average salary: ₹ 31,328 per month
4. Test lead/manager
Role: Guiding and monitoring the design and execution of testing efforts. They also ensure whether the test resources are planned and managed adequately.
Average salary: ₹ 9,00,035 per year
5. Junior Data Scientist
Role: Applying different data science techniques to extract valuable insights from data and contribute to achieving business goals.
Average salary: ₹ 788,460 per year
6. Senior Data Scientist
If you move up the engineer ranks and gain five to nine years of professional experience in a data scientist role, you can become a senior data scientist. The average total compensation at this mid-career level will be higher than your previous salary. On spending more than ten years in this field, you can expect an annual pay grade as high as ₹30 lakh. Your pay package would depend on the skill level and technical expertise relevant to the company’s needs.
Average annual salary: ₹14,68,688
7. Machine Learning Engineer
An ML engineer is responsible for training and creating data models. Their work involves automating processes like speech recognition, image classification, marketing forecasting, and many others. This process requires exceptional mathematical, statistical, and programming skills. You can start at the entry-level, move on to senior designations, making upwards of a seven-figure yearly salary in Indian currency.
Average annual salary: ₹692,363
Learn more: Machine Learning Salary in India
8. Software Developer
As a software developer, you build computer applications or other devices that can perform specific tasks. Usually, they work directly with vendors, clients, or users. Software developers must keep abreast of the technological changes in different systems and learn about the best practices in development. To update their knowledge, they can attend workshops from time to time.
Additionally, they may be required to convey technical information to employees from other backgrounds. Coaching and mentoring junior software developers can help develop the requisite communication skills for this purpose.
Average annual salary: ₹487,129
Learn more: Software Developer Salary in India
8. Senior Software Engineer
Besides the requirements listed above, senior software engineers should be an efficient multitasker and have qualities like strong attention to detail. They need to stay focused on the job at hand, working independently as well as a part of the team.
- Translate business requirements into technical specifications
- Test and document applications for clients
- Write, modify, and debug software
- Review the work of junior engineers
- Plan project timelines to deliver quality products to clients
Average annual salary: ₹876,252
NLP engineering is an ever-evolving career. And you can steadily work your way up the ladder and advance to higher ranks on the back of your technical competence. For instance, you can take up a full-stack engineering role wherein you will design and develop software for the backend and frontend of applications.
If you are interested in research, you can become a research scientist or manager, overseeing the tech and research teams in your organization. Such senior-level positions come with greater flexibility, responsibility, and pay scales.
Global trends in NLP engineering
- The global market has benefitted from major architecture breakthroughs, including attention mechanisms like transformer models and BERT.
- We have experienced considerable growth in the use of convolutional and recursive neural networks, reinforcement learning, unsupervised learning, deep generative models, etc.
- Innovative techniques, earlier restricted to the research arena alone, are now becoming more mainstream via several business applications.
- AI/ML job profiles continue to evolve, and companies are paying lucrative NLP engineer salary.
A quick snapshot of what we learned
In this article, we covered how NLP is becoming a game-changer for computer science and business intelligence. We also examined the technology’s scope and explored the different types of job roles in the market today. We then looked at the NLP salary in India and concluded with some emerging trends in this engineering field.
If you’re interested to learn more about machine learning, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s PG Diploma in Machine Learning & AI which is designed for working professionals and offers 450+ hours of rigorous training, 30+ case studies & assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, 5+ practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.
What is NLP?
NLP or Natural language processing is a super-specialized branch of computer science or, more precisely, artificial intelligence. It is all about providing computers with the ability to detect and understand spoken words and text in a way that is very similar to how we human beings can understand. With the help of NLP programs, computers can respond to verbal commands, translate textual commands into different languages, and even summarize huge chunks of text in real-time speed. In our daily lives, NLP can be found in our GPS systems that are voice-operated, smartphone assistants, dictation software, and even customer desk chatbots.
Where is NLP being used?
NLP is widely being used in many applications today. Some of its most interesting uses involve spam detection, analysis of social media sentiments, virtual assistants and chatbots, and machine translation. Nowadays, the top spam detection applications and technologies employ NLP to classify texts. This helps them to accurately sense phishing and spam content by scanning emails. Extracting insightful data like understanding emotions and attitudes from social media posts is crucial for modern businesses, for which they rely on NLP. Alexa and Siri, two of the most popular digital assistants, employ NLP to process voice commands. Machine translation tools like Google Translate extensively use NLP for accurate and effective translation.
How much does an NLP engineer earn in the US?
Various factors determine how much salary an NLP engineer draws per year. However, the average annual earnings of an NLP engineer in the US ranges at around $146,200, which is roughly $75 an hour. In the case of entry-level jobs, the range can start at $120,000, while highly experienced NLP professionals can earn as much as $187,500 per year on average. According to talent.com, based on different regions in the USA, NLP engineers in Georgia and California make $160,000 on average, while those in Pennsylvania make roughly $140,000 per year.