What does an NLP Engineer do?

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NLP Engineers are responsible for the interaction between everyday human language and a computer’s ability to process and analyze natural language data. But, what are the day to day tasks of a natural language processing engineer?

What is Natural Language Processing?

NLP Engineer - The role

Natural language processing (NLP) comes from an amalgamation of computer science, Information sciences, AI, and linguistics. NLP focuses on the interaction between computers and human languages.

While computers excel at the handling of structured datasets, they require a little help when it comes to human languages with hundreds of different languages and dialects, all with their own set of grammar rules, slang, terms, and syntax.

Ever wonder how Google or Alexa can understand what you’re saying? That’s NLP in play! And therefore NLP Engineers are responsible for the programming behind technology’s ability to process and analyze natural language data.

What are the responsibilities of an NLP Engineer?

NLP Engineer Responsibilities

Responsibilities as an NLP or Language Engineer will differ based on the type of industry you work for. In general, however, NLP Engineers are responsible for the development and design of language understanding systems and for the effective use of text representation techniques.

This can involve dealing with speech patterns, AI speech recognition, understanding of natural languages, and natural language generation.

Furthermore, they work on scripts to analyze and process text data, while measuring the accuracy of language understanding.

Responsibilities of a natural language processing engineer:

  • Design and develop natural language processing systems
  • Define appropriate datasets for language learning
  • Use effective text representations to transform natural language into useful features
  • Develop NLP systems according to requirements
  • Train the developed model and run evaluation experiments
  • Find and implement the right algorithms and tools for NLP tasks
  • Perform statistical analysis of results and refine models
  • Constantly keep up to date within the field of machine learning
  • Maintain NLP libraries and frameworks
  • Implement changes as needed and analyze bugs

Hire an NLP Engineer for your company   » Hire a NLP Engineer!

What skills does an NLP Engineer require?

NLP Engineer Skills

Having a strong understanding of NLP techniques in areas of text representation, semantic extraction techniques, data structures, and modeling is essential for an NLP Engineer. They must also be able to effectively design software architecture.

Additionally, the ability to write robust and testable code will greatly boost your resume as a Language Engineer.

Necessary skills for an NLP Engineer:

  • Understanding of text representation techniques, algorithms, statistics
  • Machine Translation & Compilers experience
  • Knowledge of machine learning frameworks and libraries
  • Familiar with Big Data frameworks – Spark, Hadoop
  • Text classification & clustering skills
  • Programming skills – Python, Java and/or R
  • Strong problem-solving abilities
  • Syntactic & Semantic Parsing
  • Knowledge of CI/CD pipelines
  • Strong communication skills

Looking for a natural language processing job?   » Browse NLP jobs

How do I become an NLP Engineer?

A large number of NLP Engineers come from an academic background. In order to become an NLP Engineer, it is recommended to get a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Science, Physics or similar.

The exact entry requirements are different depending on the nature of the role within a company. But industry experience and managing statistical analysis on large datasets would be necessary as well as some software engineering experience.

Certifications are also a good way to gain a strong foothold in the field. Here are a few great online options to consider when learning natural language processing:

How much does an NLP Engineer earn?

The starting salary for an NLP Engineer is approximately $51,000 gross per year. The average salary is around $72,000 gross per year. The senior salary is $110,000 but it can be significantly higher in certain cases. The actual income depends on individual cases on factors such as the industry and the company, but also on professional experience.

How much do NLP Engineers earn?

Junior$51,000
Average$72,000
Senior$110,000

How much do Freelance NLP Engineers charge?

We took a look at our freelancer directory to find out how much freelancers specialising in natural language processing were charging per hour.

The freelancermap rate index in January 2020 showed an average hourly rate of $88 amongst NLP engineers. Working this rate out to an 8-hour day, the daily average is around $704.

Freelancer Rate NLP Engineer
Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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