Authored by: Akshad Tambekar
I am electrical engineer turned writer and marketer. I enjoy breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand blogs. You will find me humming songs and creating modified versions of OG jingles. Often struggle with GenZ lingo. ROFL. Delulu. Toodaloo.
Tinkering. It means an attempt to repair or improve something.
Being a curious individual, I love to tinker. It began with opening a remote-controlled car apart. The tinkering phase paused soon since it turned destructive as I could open things up but couldn't put them back together.
But, why am I talking about tinkering?
Let me tell you.
2023 was a fascinating year for technology. Amidst all the ‘robots will replace humans’ theories, OpenAI dropped a bomb in the form of ChatGPT. It wasn’t long though before conspiracy theories turned to effective, groundbreaking use cases. Social media was filled with influencers discussing how to better use ChatGPT, plugins, and Gen AI tools.
Unless you live under a rock, you must have heard of prompt engineering. Let’s understand this better.
What is Prompt Engineering?
According to the New York Times, prompt engineering is "a skill that those who play around with ChatGPT long enough can add to their resumes". The Washington Post calls it “Tech’s Hottest Job” and I like to call it the science of tinkering smartly.
In my quest to understand prompt engineering better, I did the obvious thing–asked ChatGPT what is prompt engineering.
“Prompt engineering involves strategically formulating text prompts to effectively guide AI language models, like ChatGPT, towards generating desired responses. This technique is crucial as the model's output heavily depends on how a query is phrased. Skillful prompt engineering can enhance the accuracy, relevance, and creativity of the AI's answers, making it a key skill for users aiming to maximize the potential of AI in various applications, from creative writing to problem-solving.”
It’s a communicator who can masterfully write prompts. In other words, prompt engineers are individuals who love to tinker with systems like ChatGPT to create effective business solutions.
Hottest job in tech, really?
Prompt Engineering: Is the hype worth it?
Well, yes and no.
Early in September 2023, Masai School integrated Gen AI training in its web development course. The students of this batch were certified prompt engineers and companies were eager to hire these individuals.
Talking about the demand, Prateek Shukla, CEO and co-founder of Masai said, “almost 30% of the students in the first Gen AI batch were placed within a week.”
Companies are looking for individuals who are not only well-versed in technology but also can train models effectively.
Do companies really need prompt engineers?
According to multiple AI researchers, most systems like ChatGPT are trained to understand prompts written in plain language. Yet, they tend to make errors–in some cases at the cost of someone’s job–either failing to understand the query completely or partially making sense of it. This leads to incorrect responses, cases of the model hallucinating, and more.
This is when effective prompt engineering comes into play. If you are aspiring to become a prompt engineer, here are some things you should note:
- The demand is currently on an upward trend. The job opportunities are well-paying and lucrative.
- The future is not predictable. As models become more sophisticated, their accuracy will increase and current issues like incorrect responses and hallucinations will (likely) cease to exist.
- The job can be compared to testing a game. The more you play around with it, the better your chances of finding hacks and strategies to become a master.
- As it stands, prompt engineering is an extremely niche job and your day-to-day tasks will depend on the problem statement.
As of today, being a prompt engineer (loosely) means supplementing individuals to do certain tasks quicker.
The future of prompt engineering
When the digital boom hit advertising and marketing, certain aspects like social media copywriting were a specialization. Soon, these verticals have merged into one umbrella.
Experts and gurus predict a similar future for prompt engineers. It will become part of a bigger umbrella. Will it still be the “hottest job in tech” in the years to come? Only time will tell.
And hey, if you want to become a prompt engineer, don’t forget to sign up for Masai’s web development course. You can become a frontend, backend, or full stack developer with the power of Gen AI tools and prompt engineering.