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28 Nov 2023

Future-Ready Teams: Crafting a Blueprint for AI Talent Recruitment and Retention

Noah Ringler, Lead Data Scientist, AI Policy Specialist, Department of Homeland Security
Future-Ready Teams: Crafting a Blueprint for AI Talent Recruitment and Retention
As businesses navigate the intricate web of artificial intelligence, recruiting and retaining a well-balanced team with the right mix of skills becomes imperative for achieving seamless digital integration.

Ahead of The AI Summit New York 2023, Informa Tech’s Applied Intelligence group spoke to Noah Ringler, Lead Data Scientist, AI Policy Specialist, Department of Homeland Security on the intricacies of strategizing to build a formidable AI team, addressing the need for speed in recruitment and the crucial art of attracting top-tier AI talent.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and career history to date?

I first entered the world of emerging technology as an analyst on a team where we had data scientists that fielded code to augment and enable our work, and it inspired me to learn as much as I could. I have always operated at the nexus of leveraging the technology and studying it.

In 2019 I focused heavily on the national security consequences of AI, and also got involved hands-on in developing the technology in the Hacking For Defense Program, which connects graduate students with government agencies looking to solve problems with emerging technology. That project fielded a successful prototype for next-generation security with computer vision, and became a company that is still operating today. At the time, I became extremely concerned with the impact of AI on national security and society if deep learning expertise wasn’t available across government, and at the likely impacts on cybersecurity, systems, information technology, and sensors.

So I started a career in public service working on these national security problems as well as federal digital transformation, which works to responsible pay off the tech debts and gaps in government technology infrastructure and programs, as well as accelerate and connect centers of excellence inside government, which are almost always built around talented government tech leaders.

I feel strongly that we have made tremendous progress since then to develop and implement policies for safe, secure, and responsible AI. At the Treasury Department, I worked to field AI models for advanced analytics, while also functioning as an AI analyst, studying developments and adversarial use cases in the field. This led me to the policy space at DHS, where we are very much leaders in AI policy, building capacity and scale fast, while making a difference as the primary responsible party for domestic cybersecurity, critical infrastructure security, and protecting the public from AI related security threats at scale.

What in your opinion are some of the key skills that those in AI recruitment should be looking for in talent they want to hire?

At DHS, we are working to support U.S. innovation in AI technologies that focuses on unlocking the potential of AI and maintaining U.S. leadership in the technology as well as hiring across the department. Not just technology roles focus on AI, but lawyers, privacy professionals, policymakers, law enforcement, and others are scaling AI expertise. Key skills are basic knowledge of deep learning, Python, Git, command line, and government program management – but also communication skills, team players, and fast, motivated learners – this is an always changing field.

There is a need to recruit AI talent with a faster process than in other fields. Why is that, and what are the key differences in the processes?

AI Talent is a moving target – this month’s state of the art may not hold until next quarter. To build an AI-ready workforce, DHS will build skills in data science and AI across the IT workforce and focus on hiring experts in these critical fields. More critically, we will ensure all DHS employees build AI literacy. Just as every DHS employee must know basic cybersecurity best practices, they will also need to understand AI capabilities and weaknesses. This will enable them to harness AI systems effectively and responsibly and proactively defend against potential AI threats as well as participate in the fielding of AI systems for government missions.

It is important to note that AI is a sociotechnical process, it is as much about the humans and teams interacted with the fielded systems as the technology itself. Understanding all of the aspects of the systems and issues involved requires a broad range of competencies, with critical thinking and scientific experimental design at the core.

What do you think the future of AI talent recruitment and retention will like in the next 12 months?

In the federal government, we have launched an AI recruitment surge across all departments and agencies alongside additional resources available at We’re excited about bringing new talent on, and understanding that AI will cut across many job areas and careers, not just IT focused roles.

DHS has launched the Cyber Talent Management System (CTMS) and is rolling out higher pay for cyber roles, which is critical. This program also allows employees to gain raises for key certifications, which is key to retention and career development. This also focuses recruitment on key proficiencies and around hard cybersecurity skills, that remain key to understanding the infrastructure AI is built and deployed on.

Do you have any lessons learned you could share on your AI journey?

Every day I am reminded that we will always be students in this field. Assumptions must always be revisited because AI is broadening and deepening everyday as billions of dollars, new compute, algorithms, and methodologies enter the arena, and there is room to connect AI to almost any discipline, field, vocation, or problem the world faces. This means there is always opportunity to enter the field and develop a combination of expertise and a unique viewpoint that no one else brings to the table.

*The views expressed below are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer or the US government.

Join Noah at The AI Summit New York this December 6-7, at the Javits Center where he will be exploring strategies around AI recruitment and retention as part of a panel discussion. Find out more and secure you place now.



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