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Career Path to Senior Machine Learning Engineer

Last updated on: 
December 27, 2023
Abhinav Rawat
The fast well prepared banner
About The Author!
Abhinav Rawat
Abhinav Rawat
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. The skilled and experienced mastermind behind several successful product designs for upscaling the ed-tech platforms with an outcome-driven approach for skilled individuals.

With 11,000 vacancies specifically for Machine Learning on  LinkedIn alone, the ML domain is booming with opportunities. Organizations across different sectors are leveraging data-driven decision-making. This swift change has placed a surging demand for skilled professionals who can harness the power of ML. 

If you are looking to advance your career, this roadmap to a senior machine learning engineer position will provide you with valuable insights to carve out a successful career in the field.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Career Path in Machine Learning: Fundamentals Required

Positioning oneself as a senior machine learning engineer requires getting absolute clarity of basic and advanced concepts. Hence, the focus on building a career path begins with fundamentals: 

  • Mathematics

Linear algebra and calculus are the key parts of mathematics that an individual must be well-versed in. Specifically diving into each, the understanding of vectors, matrices and linear transformation in linear algebra is fundamental to mastering machine learning algorithms. The basics of differentiation and integration are enough to optimize the machine learning algorithms. 

  • Statistics

The probability and statistical inference are critical here. Random variables, Bayesian reasoning and probability distribution are the key concepts for efficiency in uncertainty in Machine Learning. Concepts of hypothesis testing, confidence intervals and p-values are the base for evaluation of machine learning models and making data-driven decisions.  

  • Machine Learning Algorithms

The fundamentals of Machine Learning are algorithms like logistic and linear regression, support vector machines, decision trees, k-nearest neighbors and clustering algorithms. Moreover, deep learning techniques like convolutional neural networks (CNNs), feedforward neural networks and recurrent neural networks (RNNs) provide a helping hand. 

  • Data Preprocessing and Feature Engineering 

Machine learning engineers must be aware of methods of data cleaning, preprocessing and transformation. They must be informed about the fate of missing values of data and the processing through scaling features and encoding of categorical variables. Feature engineering techniques are crucial for creating informative and relevant features for Machine Learning models. 

  • Model Evaluation and Validation

Explore the techniques for model evaluation, which includes cross-validation and putting in the different metrics such as recall, F1-score, accuracy, ROC AUC and precision. Also, consider learning overfitting, underfitting and strategies to optimize model generalization. 

  • Python Programming  

Entering and becoming efficient in Machine learning necessarily requires Python programming and learning Machine Learning frameworks and tools. It involves familiarizing oneself with libraries such as scikit-learn. NumPy, Pandas, PyTorch and TensorFlow. Also, learn how to work with Jupyter notebooks for experimentation and data analysis. 

What do experts say?

“Though less visible, much of the impact of machine learning will be of this type — quietly but meaningfully improving core operations.”

~ Jeff Bezos
(Amazon CEO)

Career Path For Machine Learning Engineer: Skills Required

The crucial skills in the field of Machine Learning are: 

Data Science Concepts:

  • DSA: Data structures and algorithms
  • Mathematics, including linear algebra and calculus
  • Probability and statistics
  • Data modeling and evaluation techniques
  • Data visualization 
  • Proficiency in programming languages (Python, R, etc.) for data manipulation and analysis.

Software Development Concepts:

  • Understanding of computer architecture and system design
  • Writing maintainable, scalable, and efficient code
  • Knowledge of software engineering principles


  • Tools like Jupyter Notebook for experimentation and collaboration
  • APIs to access and integrate external data sources
  • Cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) for scalable computing

Version Control:

  • Proficiency in version control systems like GitHub 
  • Programming languages such as Scala, R, Python, and C++ for implementing ML algorithms
  • SQL for handling structured databases and querying data

Roadmap for Career Path to Senior Machine Learning Engineer

Career transition to senior machine learning engineer is possible with demonstrated experience and proven proficiency: 

Step 1: Gain knowledge and application-based practice of fundamental theories, concepts, and technologies is where you should start your beginning. But even prior to that, analyze what you know and what you can do. For instance, which programming language are you familiar with or application of which mathematical concepts are you proficient? Go on to understand the tailored requirements and manage your time and energy into the right skill. 

Step 2: Learn the basics of algorithms that guide the computer to perform actions. The basic algorithms enlisted in the fundamentals section must be practiced thoroughly. 

Step 3: Understand the machine learning theories and concepts like supervised and unsupervised learning, classification, recommender systems, pattern recognition and imitative learning. Supervised learning involves filling the computer with data and ensuring the mapping of the inputs to get the desired output. Unsupervised learning follows the same without informing about the correct outputs. Classification and pattern recognition involve category and pattern identification. Recommender systems predict user-preferred items and imitative learning involves machine learning through demonstration. 

Step 4: After gaining information, head on towards Machine Learning libraries. These help you save time and aid in increasing the efficiency of tasks. Gain practice in functionalities such as Theano, scikit-learn, PyTorch and TensorFlow. 

Step 5: After getting well-versed with all the requirements of handling a project, welcome yourself to the real world. Look for the projects through a simple Google search and practice them. Use your skills and knowledge and work out the strategy to solve. Practice abundantly and build a data science portfolio to exhibit your abilities. 

Step 6: Connect and build your own personalized route towards a successful career as a Senior Machine Learning Engineer. Find the opportunities through different modes. 

Career path towards machine learning engineer for beginners and experienced

Transition Towards Machine Learning

Aspirants from different backgrounds can move to a machine learning engineer career with both direct and indirect reach to the designation of senior machine learning engineer. 

  • Software developers or engineers: Owing to strong knowledge of programming, these professionals get benefits in learning Machine Learning frameworks and deployment techniques. 
  • Data scientists: They are aware of data analysis and modeling techniques that play an effective role in Machine Learning engineering. 
  • Data engineers: Their scope of work matches the job of Machine learning engineers by leveraging machine learning algorithms, infrastructure management and model deployment. 
  • Computer scientists: These individuals are expected to have a strong theoretical and practical importance for machine learning. 
  • Mathematicians and statisticians: Having a mathematical and statistical background gives a head-on towards the career opportunities here. 

Becoming a Senior Machine Learning Engineer with Interview Kickstart

With numerous online platforms focussing on imparting knowledge and practice skills, the often lacking aspect is how to face interviews. For those eager to pivot their careers, IK’s program provides a comprehensive approach to skill enhancement and core concept mastery. We equip you to confidently navigate the technical aspects of recruitment. Learn directly from hiring managers at top-tier FAANG+ companies to gain insights, prepare for interviews, and face recruiters with confidence. Register for our FREE Webinar to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions on Career Path Machine Learning

Q1. Will Machine Learning replace coding?

Ans. Machine Learning augments coding rather than replacing it. It provides algorithms that direct the computer to act in the desired way to provide the required output. 

Q2. Is Machine Learning a good career in 2025?

Ans. Based on the generated large volumes of datasets and the development of models to handle them, the next need is for a Machine Learning Engineer who can deploy these models. The increase in demand for individuals with knowledge of deployment and maintenance makes it a good career choice for 2025. 

Q3. How much coding does a Machine Learning Engineer do?

Ans. The coding requirement lies in model development, data preprocessing and building infrastructure for deploying Machine Learning models. The task, hence, requires a significant amount of coding. 

Q4. What is the difference between an AI engineer and an ML engineer?

Ans. Machine Learning engineering focuses on designing, developing and deployment of Machine Learning models and systems. Artificial Intelligence engineers work in areas like Natural Language Processing, robotics and computer vision. 

Q5. Does Artificial Intelligence require mathematics?

Ans. Yes, mathematics is crucial for a career and handling tasks of Artificial Intelligence.

Posted on 
October 6, 2023

Abhinav Rawat

Product Manager @ Interview Kickstart | Ex-upGrad | BITS Pilani. Working with hiring managers from top companies like Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon etc to build structured interview process BootCamps across domains

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