AI pioneer Yann LeCun suggests that if you’re interested in starting out in deep learning, you take all the ‘continuous math and physics class you can possibly take. If you have the choice between “iOS programming” and “quantum mechanics”, take “quantum mechanics”. In any case, take Calc I, Calc II, Calc III, Linear Algebra, Probability and Statistics, and as many physics courses as you can. But make sure you learn to program.’ This seems like solid advice.

Boston is a city of students with Harvard and MIT right on the doorstep. At the Deep Learning Summit and Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit in Boston, we spoke to some of our student attendees to find out how they began their work in the field, and why they enjoy the challenges of deep learning.

Prajacta Nagraj, Northeastern University: "Deep learning is the new black of industry and research. The power of solving difficult problems is truly within reach of machine learning and I am grateful to be a part of it. Apart from the current industrial knowledge in the field of deep learning, I am inclined towards getting a deep know-how of how healthcare problems can be solved using the same."

Aditi Shankar, MIT: "The best thing about working in deep learning is the potential of applications that one can explore to really improve access to care. It’s great to attend events like this, it gives you a good idea of the industry. At this event, I am really looking forward to learning more and understanding what's working in deep learning in healthcare and what isn't and why."

Anisha Baidya, Harvard: "Understanding that we are nowhere close to Singularity and “Robots taking over the world” is so exciting. I studied Mathematics in college. However, it was a liberal arts degree so a lot of my work included Computational Chemistry, Economics, Biophysics, neuroscience followed by a brief career in Investment banking and Systematic and Electronic trading. I have been hopping from one field to other to find something that makes me really happy and satisfied. I found my calling and AI and deep learning. It is a great blend of quantitative approaches that also requires thinking at a macro level. This is a field where you can see the results right away. It is very filling and I absolutely loved it. Also, I am huge SciFi nerd and working towards building a lifelong learning (however futuristic) is really exciting. Honestly, I look forward to going to work each day and love my job!"

Alexandru Bacanu, MIT: "Whilst you’re studying, you’re working on projects with like-minded people, and then when you graduate you’re kind of on your own. I think it’s important to stay involved with networking with industry and research experts - at the Summit I liked hearing about what other MIT graduates have been working on."

Shasvat Desai, University of Massachusetts Amherst: "The impact that Deep Learning is having in real-world applications is so huge. Being at events like this is a great experience as there are so many new things that I’ve got the opportunity to learn. It’s a plethora of knowledge that I would have never explored had I not have come here."

Mili Shah, University of Massachusetts Amherst: "Take every opportunity you get to be involved in networking with experts in the field. There were a lot of new things I learnt today. I actually got to meet many new people through volunteering and it’s been a really good experience that I’d definitely recommend to anyone starting out in the field."

We spoke to some of the expert speakers at the summit to find out what they think are the key skills needed for a career in deep learning:

Eric Miliman, Berg Health: "It’s important to have a solid background in maths or computer science, but to work in AI and deep learning what’s most important I’d say, is to find a problem that really really interests you and work on a model for that. That’s how you’ll stick to it and get really invested."

Sergul Aydore, Amazon: "It’s so important to have role models and as a woman, it can be intimidating. You walk into a room and you’re always in the minority, so I think you need to be resilient and determined. For girls, I’d definitely get involved with meetups like Girls Who Code and go to events like your Women in AI Dinner."

Tasha Magamine, Droice Health: I have a background in physics, so you don’t have to do maths or computer science from the offset, there’s plenty of time to change.

Thinking of starting a career in artificial intelligence or deep learning? At every RE•WORK event, we offer special discounts for students eager to learn more, as well as complimentary volunteer passes, and each event provides the unique opportunity for attendees to network with global AI leaders. Our dinner series is particularly exciting from a networking perspective, as the intimate environment and format of the evening encourages in-depth discussions between speakers and attendees. Special student discounted passes are also available.