As machine learning becomes more popular, you may find yourself in need of a machine learning developer for your digital agency. Many developers of all skill levels are making the switch to machine learning, so you’ll want to know how to determine who is equipped for the job.
Hiring the right developer doesn’t have to be as challenging as you may think. There are a few basic foundations all machine learning developers should have, even if they are relatively new to the field. Knowing just a little about machine learning will help you recognize these skills and spot the right developer for your agency’s next project.
In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of machine learning for your digital agency. Then we’ll teach you about three vital skills every machine learning developer should have. Let’s get started!
Why is Machine Learning is relevant to your digital agency?
Machine learning is a style of programming that enables computers to provide guesses or decisions about incoming data, based on patterns from past data. The resulting algorithm might be able to identify objects in photos, or decide which content from a given set will perform best or provide the most results.
In other words, machine learning in programming makes deeply personal experiences possible for each individual user of a website or program. For example, it can recommend products based on your past search results, or predict what movies you’ll like by looking at your recent viewing history. This technology is important because personalization is becoming more prevalent in marketing, and may be considered standard practice in the not-so-distant future.
There are a few reasons machine learning personalization is still up-and-coming. Right now, many solutions focus too much on the scripts themselves, rather than how they can serve the user. This makes machine computation expensive, requires the content provider to have a huge variety and quantity of content, and risks losing the viewer’s interest when it predicts incorrectly.
As the industry grows, however, more machine learning algorithms are taking into account user preferences. When personalization is done right, it can be beneficial to both the user and the company trying to make a sale. Machine learning enables companies to show the right products and ads to the people who would be most interested, right when they are ready to buy. This also means those who aren’t interested are less likely to be pestered by irrelevant advertisements.
If you are ready to add these capabilities to your digital agency, you just need the right developer. Let’s talk about the skills you should look for when hiring a machine learning professional.
3 skills agencies should look for when hiring machine learning developers
Many developers are new to machine learning, as it is a fast-growing industry. However, not all of them are actually ready to make the leap from normal development. If you don’t know what to look for, you might end up hiring an unqualified developer. By vetting for the following three skills, you will be able to predict who can write strong machine learning scripts for your agency.
1. A Basic understanding of statistics
Machine learning is heavily based on statistics and probability. In order for a developer to build a machine learning program that suits your needs, they must understand how statistics are used to make basic predictions about new outcomes.
Statistics is an important concept for any business to understand, as it helps you make better sense of customer buying habits, investigate which factors impact sales, and so on. A developer who has experience with statistics will ensure that the proper reports are generated, which can help you further refine your services.
Therefore, when hiring a developer look for a solid background in statistics and prediction models. Ask them to explain basic concepts such as linear regression, correlation, confidence intervals, and conditional probability (you can easily look up these terms online if necessary). Their accuracy and confidence will provide a clue as to whether they have what it takes to pull off machine learning.
2. The ability to accurately analyze data
With few exceptions, machine learning is still dependent on the developer to write logic pointing the program in the right direction. If they don’t understand how to get the desired result from a dataset, the developer will be unable to script a machine learning program that can do the same thing.
Like statistics, analysis is an important skill for anyone working with business data. Your developer should know how to turn data into actionable plan, whether the result is recommending that you adjust the budget or scripting a program that chooses which ads to show a user for the highest possible engagement rates.
The developer you hire should have a track record of analyzing and interpreting data – preferably large and complex sets. To test your potential recruit, ask them to explain the importance of research questions when analyzing data. Then prompt them for an example of one or two research questions they’ve worked on that had surprising results. Even if you don’t know much about the topic yourself, the depth and specificity of their answers will tell you something about their level of experience.
3. Knowledge of Machine Learning fundamentals
Machine learning is a complex subset of data science. What makes machine learning different from similar predictive methods is that this type of algorithm can automatically improve itself over time. Plus, it can make new recommendations for improving the external systems it was built to analyze.
At the least, developers who want to work in this field need to understand the difference between supervised and unsupervised machine learning. If they haven’t grasped this important distinction, you may end up hiring someone who builds you the wrong kind of solution (most of the time, what you need is unsupervised machine learning).
During the hiring process, ask questions that provide a clear demonstration of whether the developer understands what machine learning is. For example, have them explain the nuances of supervised and unsupervised machine learning in their own words, and pay close attention to their answers.
Where to find qualified Machine Learning developers
Now that you’re ready to properly vet potential developers for your new machine learning project, it’s time to find them! There are a few sites where you can find experienced developers with a background in machine learning and data science. Some of the most popular are:
- Upwork: A popular freelance site where many developers are looking for gigs.
- Freelancer: Another site for freelancers, with a subset of developers available to hire.
- R-Users: A site specifically for programmers who know the language ‘R’, which is often used in statistics and machine learning.
- Kaggle: A site dedicated to data science and machine learning, where you can see developers’ public work before you hire them.
Once you’ve advertised your job and lined up a few developers to interview, be sure to check whether they have all three skills we’ve talked about.
Machine learning is a complicated field, but you don’t need to be an expert in it to learn how to hire one. If you understand the fundamentals a machine learning developer should have, you’ll be able to spot qualified candidates right away.
In this article, you learned about three skills to look for when hiring a machine learning developer:
- A basic understanding of statistics.
- The ability to accurately analyze and interpret large amounts of data.
- Knowledge of machine learning fundamentals.