Apr 22, 2024 - Business

D.C. is a hotspot for new AI jobs

New AI jobs posted per 100k people, Q1 2024
Data: UMD-LinkUp AIMaps. Note: "AI job" defined as a job requiring technical skills to build and/or use AI models; A bigger circle indicates more new jobs per capita. Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The D.C. area is an AI job hotspot, a new analysis finds, and there is an unmet need in government and the private sector.

Why it matters: As AI emerges as the hottest new thing in tech, cities outside of Silicon Valley have a chance to get in on the action — and reap the potentially lucrative economic rewards.

By the numbers: In the first quarter of 2024, the Washington region had 35 new AI jobs listed per 100,000 residents — three times the national rate.

  • There were a total of 2,241 new AI jobs posted in that period. For context, that's 581 jobs behind AI leader San Jose, California.
  • The estimates come from UMD-LinkUp, a collaboration between the University of Maryland, the job listings platform LinkUp, and consultant/executive firm Outrigger Group.

Between the lines: The defense industry's urgent interest in AI is likely driving D.C.'s numbers, says Anil Gupta, a UMD professor co-leading the project.

  • President Biden last year ordered all federal agencies to find a chief AI officer, along with giving more permission for the workforce to use AI.

What they're saying: The competition to hire talent is tricky for employers — but especially for the feds, which will need technical specialists to build customized AI products for specific agencies.

  • "One, it's expensive to hire an AI person. Two, it's astronomically expensive to hire a top-secret-cleared AI person. That is true unicorn level," says Jason Adolf, vice president at Appian, a McLean-based software company.
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