How Much Should You Pay an Artificial Intelligence Developer in Canada (2021 Report)
Artificial Intelligence is becoming a trend lately as multiple IT companies focus on this direction as the market demand for artificial intelligence services is growing. This points to higher wages for specialists in this field.
The core professionals of AI are developers, and companies ransom them generously for their skills and services. Canada, which is one of the leading countries that focuses on the AI industry, continues to bring business processes to another level with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning. Now, there is only one question left for business owners and managers — what is the price tag that should hang on the services an AI developer provides?
What Tasks Should An AI Developer Do?
The first thing that companies take into consideration when hiring an AI developer is the job itself. The key responsibilities are not too many on the paper but weigh much. The main tasks that an AI developer is assigned to are as follows:
- Design, Develop and Implement AI Systems — this is the main task an AI developer is expected to do. It has three stages that are equally important. What is more important, this task takes the largest amount of time to perform.
- Develop data ingest and data architecture — this responsibility is assigned within the frame of the designing and developing. Data ingest and data architecture play a separate role, and need special attention for further business processes.
- Explain the limits of the AI system but also its capabilities — as a designer and developer of an AI system, sharing vital information with stakeholders and managers is a part of an AI developer’s job.
- Seek new AI technologies — just like any developer, those involved in AI are expected to research and find new ways and approaches to AI technologies, and implement those that best suit their demands.
These responsibilities are commonly accepted and assigned to AI developers in most companies. In Canada, the standards for hiring an AI developer are high, and there is a large spectrum of knowledge, skills, and experience that companies demand just to make sure that a professional hired for the AI developer position can accomplish the above-mentioned tasks.
AI Developer Skill Requirements Shortlist
- Knowledge of Cloud Technologies, Cloud Computing, and Cloud Platforms — not the most vital skill, but definitely mandatory for AI Developers. When developing an AI system, a developer should know how to interact with terms such as Containers, Kubernetes, and Data Sets Consumption. Also, previous experience with Azure or Google Cloud AI is welcomed, and in some Canadian companies is a must-have.
- Knowledge and Experience with Python, Scala, or/and Java — All these programming languages are used in AI development, and having a good understanding of these languages is a starting point.
- Deep Learning Platforms and Libraries — to be more precise, open-source ML (Machine Learning) libraries are essential for AI development. TensorFlow, Microsoft CNTK, Apple Core ML or PyTorch are only a few examples of what Deep-learning knowledge are required from AI developers.
- Good knowledge of OpenGL and PhysX — these are open-source real-time physics engine middleware. The first one is an API used for rendering 2D and 3D vectors, while PhysX is developed by Nvidia and used in the gaming industry to simulate and imitate body dynamics both rigid and soft.
To sum up these two chapters — the skills and the knowledge help perform tasks responsibly. An AI developer’s performance is the key factor that contributes to the money a company should pay for the services.
Entry-level salaries of AI developers in Canada
Yet the sources show a slightly different salary between them as the sources rely on different data: Salary Explorer mentions that the average salary of entry-level AI developers is $53,000/year or CAD 67,000. At the same time Glassdoor relies on a 10-salaries data set and points out that the average entry-level salary for an AI developer is $57,000/year.
The last source — talent.com, indicates that the wage of an entry-level AI developer in Canada is $52,781/year — which is closer to the data from SalaryExplorer.
It’s obvious that a company focused on AI development should have more than 1 developer, and thus, the yearly budget starts with $110,000. However, hiring entry-level AI developers is a long-term investment. It’s about training, teaching, and having the patience to get the first results. Faster development of an AI system requires skilled and experienced developers, and this takes us to the middle AI developers, and also to the average wage of a AI developer in Canada.
The average salary of an AI developer in Canada
According to Glassdoor, SalaryExplorer, and Talent.com, the average salary of an AI developer in Canada is $90,556/year.
The differences between all three sources for the average salary are bigger compared to the data for the entry-level salaries. This time Salary Explorer appreciates much higher the average salary compared to Glassdoor and Talent.com.
- Glassdoor mentions that the average salary of an AI developer in Canada is $81,671/year
- Talent.com points out that the average salary of an AI developer in Canada is roughly $80,000/year but with significant differences between the regions.
- SalaryExplorer data shows that the average salary of an AI developer in Canada is $110,190/year
It is important to note that the larger the country, the more differences are between salaries. Canada is one of the best examples here, and Talent.com has a good point when comparing salaries for AI developers in Ontario, and in Alberta.
So in addition to experience and skills, location is also an important factor in deciding the salary for an AI Developer. In smaller countries, the difference between salaries is not so big, because the talent pool is located in 1–3 cities, close to each other, and the demand for professionals comes per country rather than per city or region.
The budget for a faster-growing AI company grows from $110,000/year up to $180,000/year if it hires middle AI developers. The extra $70,000 per year is paid for the experience which comes with other benefits. Middle developers can train and help novice developers grow. Also, a better knowledge of programming languages required by the AI industry allows a faster pace in finding solutions.
The only ones that have more value, experience, and knowledge than middle AI developers are senior AI developers, but it will cost significantly more, for several reasons.
How Much a Senior AI Developer earns in Canada
To catch a senior AI developer and make him/her work for you is a mission almost impossible. First of all, AI development is a relatively new branch of IT, and not so many professionals manage to reach the senior level, at least compared to other types of developers. Second of all, the senior level is somewhere between 4–6 years of experience and retirement — a very short timeframe where most professionals don’t seek a new job place and are satisfied with the conditions where they work.
According to SalaryExplorer, a senior AI developer is considered a specialist with 10 or more years of experience — significantly more than for a senior PHP developer — 5–7 years of experience. But in Canada, a senior developer per general is considered a person with 4–6 years of experience.
About the salaries — a senior AI developer in Canada earns between $94,853/year and $169,710/year. The average salary of a senior AI developer in Canada is $127,186/year.
Just like the chart from above shows, Salary Explorer estimates that the salary a Senior AI developer in Canada earns is more not less than $169,710/year. A more moderate approach has Glassdoor and according to their data a Senior AI developer in Canada earns $117,000/year. Talent.com goes even further and reveals that the salary for a senior AI developer in Canada is $94,853/year.
If hiring 2 middle AI developers costs $180,000/year, then 2 senior AI developers would charge approximately $250,000/year. The project size usually determines the costs both for human resources and other spendings. But if it’s a project that doesn’t require too much skill and ability even if it’s large, probably there is no need to hire senior AI developers, as middle developers would do just perfectly fine. Nonetheless, there is a risk, and is scalable depending on how much the company demands from the dev team.
Level to Level AI Developer Salaries in Canada
If we follow the evolution of salaries from entry-level to senior AI developers in Canada, it’s obvious that the prices for level to level grow significantly, and so do the demands and expectations. So it’s a justified growth since a company buys not only the skills, but also the time of each professional
- If you are planning to hire one or more AI developers, the project goal, roadmap, and plan should be well-defined from the very beginning. A basic or better understanding of AI development is welcomed, and experience in this field will help a lot to understand how much you should pay the professionals for their job and time.
- There are already 44 AI-specializing companies from Canada on TechBehemoths, and you can rely on their expertise or advice if you are not sure where to start.
- If you are an AI developer, evaluate your skills and the market demand. If you get two or more job offers, study the job requirements and responsibilities, analyze the locations and eventual moving costs before accepting an offer.
- If you have very little time until you reach another level (middle or senior), don’t quit the current job until you don’t get it. You could sell your time and services much cheaper today than in 1 month.
- Artificial intelligence is one of the fastest-growing industries, and over time the demand for related services will grow significantly, while the number of specialists will remain the same in the best case.