Since the launch of ChatGPT in 2022, there’s a new buzz in the industry – Generative AI. It’s changing the way we interact with and think about artificial intelligence. With conversational AI such as ChatGPT and Google Gemini, you just need to type a few prompts into the tool, and the AI model usually responds exactly to the information you’ve asked for. Now, the question is, who are the professionals creating these exceptional AI models?

Whether you’re already a data professional or AI is your passion, this guide is for you. Throughout this article, we’ll detail step-by-step instructions on how to become a prompt engineer. Let’s dive in!

What Is the Role of a Prompt Engineer?

Today, any non-tech individual can go to ChatGPT and ask for something they want. Then, why do we need prompt engineers? Well, prompt engineers know how to ask the AI model to generate accurate outcomes. They craft the right questions and create triggering prompts to make the model generate the best results.

Imagine you need Python code to develop a login page. You might ask GPT something like, “Write a Python code to create a login page,” but someone who knows prompting might phrase it as: “Act like a Python developer and show a junior developer how to create a login page that will have input fields for username and password, along with a login button.” That’s the essence of prompt engineering.

Overall, prompt engineers are the key players in optimizing the entire AI prompt generation process for custom applications.

How to Become a Prompt Engineer

Becoming a prompt engineer is a smart career move, especially as Gen AI is one of the fastest-growing technologies, expecting a compounding annual growth rate of 20% for the next ten years. Here’s a deep dive on how to become an AI prompt engineer.

Learn the Fundamentals

1. Master Python

Prompt engineers need a solid understanding of Python programming. Knowing how to code in Python allows you to learn NLP and deep learning models quickly.

As a prompt engineer, you may only build part of the language model by yourself. However, some high-paying, prompt engineering positions expect you to analyze the data generated by language models and gain insights into it to make the model better. Python stands out when it comes to handling data.

2. Understand the Basics of AI

Begin your professional journey by familiarizing yourself with the technology you’re going to leverage. In this case, you should first understand what AI is and then explore its subfields. The basic idea behind artificial intelligence (AI) is quite fascinating – making machines behave intelligently and similarly to humans to perform specific tasks.

Machine learning, natural language processing, data science, deep learning, and many other subfields are part of this larger area of AI. First, have an overview of each of these technologies and know how they differ from each other.

Large language models have a really strong relationship with deep learning and NLP. Although not all prompt engineers build an AI model from scratch, it is expected that they have strong NLP and deep learning skills to understand the language model they prompt.

3. Learn about NLP

Natural language processing is one of the hottest topics in AI at the moment. It lets computers read and interpret human languages. What’s more, it enables machines to generate human-like responses in natural language.

Plus, NLP helps you design triggering prompts that can shape an AI model to generate targeted outputs. So, as a prompt engineer, you should master NLP. Explore NLP libraries like NLTK, spaCy, and Transformers to get ready to handle language data.

You’ll want to start by mastering basic text processing and then explore techniques like tokenization, sentiment analysis, and text summarization.

4. Dive Deep into Deep Learning and Transformer Models

As you work to become a prompt engineer, you’ll often encounter large language models like GPT, Gemini, LLaMA 2, and more. These LLMs are nothing but scaled deep-learning models designed to understand and generate natural language. To handle them effectively, you’ll need to have a solid grasp of deep learning concepts.

ChatGPT, for instance, is fed on over 175 billion neurons. To understand what these neurons are and how they are fed, you should first know the idea of neural networks, the backbone of many deep learning algorithms.

Next, you might know that the ‘T’ in GPT stands for ‘Transformer’. Many popular large language models, including ChatGPT, are built on the Transformer architecture.

Transformer architectures use what’s an “attention mechanism” – a technique for improving model accuracy by focusing only on the relevant parts of the input data. Studying these architectures will help you craft effective prompts.

5. Hands-on with Pre-trained Models

Prompt engineers spend a considerable part of their time working with pre-trained models. In case you don’t know, pre-trained models are the base AI models that are extensively trained on tons of data. This is the very first step of building any large language model.

If you truly want to master prompt engineering, get familiar with existing pre-trained models such as GPT-2, GPT-3, BERT, and more. Input different prompts and study how they react. Understand their text generation capabilities and spot limitations.

Moreover, understand the parameters these models are trained on. At times, you’ll need to tune their hyperparameters to achieve specific results.

6. Fine-tuning for Custom Applications

Only a few companies can afford to train large language models from scratch. That’s why others bring you in as a prompt engineer, tasking you with fine-tuning the current pre-trained models for their custom applications.

For example, a pre-trained model may need help generating an HTML file according to your design requirements. But you can fine-tune it on UI and HTML-specific datasets to get desired outputs.

Overall, a prompt engineer should be able to fine-tune any pre-trained model for specific tasks. This can be done by feeding the pre-trained models with small and specific datasets.

7. Master Prompt Crafting

Language models produce results based on the inputs you give. If you can explain an AI model exactly what you want and tune it to produce desired outputs, that’s it; you can call yourself a prompt engineer.

For this, you have to be good at writing, and a tip to write better prompts is to include context and instructions in them. However, to become a master in prompt engineering, you’ll need to learn some advanced prompt engineering techniques, as we go through in the next section.

8. Advanced Prompting Techniques

We’ve already mentioned that you should experiment with pre-trained models, and it’s a point that bears repeating. Use DALL-E, GPT-2, GPT-3, or BERT to practice different prompting techniques and see how they behave.

Learn about LangChain to avoid missing out on anything. We’ve got a full guide covering LangChain for prompt engineers, but for a quick overview, LangChain is a framework for maximizing the accuracy and relevance of the model outputs.

Here are some advanced prompting techniques to explore:

  • Zero-shot prompting: Ask the model to perform a task without providing any examples.
  • One-shot prompting: Provide a single example to help the model understand the task.
  • Few-shot prompting: Offer multiple examples to guide the model’s response.
  • Iterative prompting: Continuously refine prompts based on the model’s responses to achieve more accurate outputs.

Career Advancement and Real-world Application

While having a degree in a relevant computer science or engineering field is a plus, it isn’t the only route. You can become a prompt engineer without a degree by completing certification courses, working on real-world projects, and continuous learning. Let’s delve into each step to shape your career in prompt engineering.

9. Real-world Projects and Portfolio Building

With a clear idea of AI technology and the skills above, you can start applying your new expertise to real-world projects. Whether you’re a working professional or a university student, volunteer for projects that need prompt engineering.

If your project uses a pre-trained model, have a technical understanding of how it’s built and how it behaves. Try out different ways of asking the model to do things and see how it responds. Use the advanced prompting techniques you’ve learned to trigger the model. This way, you can turn your theory into skills.

Having a professional portfolio is crucial at any stage of your career. DataCamp has an easy editing portfolio builder with beautiful pre-made templates. So, leverage this free portfolio builder to showcase your skills, experience, projects, and interests attractively.

10. Keep Learning & Engage with the AI Community

Take online courses. Recently, many prompt engineering courses have been added. Certification courses not only help you acquire skills but also add evidence to your profile that you actually learned the technology.

It’s necessary to stay current with the latest trends, especially in booming tech like OpenAI’s Sora. There is no better way to stay updated than engaging with the right community. For this, follow top prompt engineering researchers and developers on sites like LinkedIn, Medium, and Twitter.

Some key places to engage with the AI community:

  • LinkedIn: Follow and connect with AI professionals and participate in discussions.
  • Medium: Read and write articles on AI and prompt engineering.
  • Twitter: Follow AI influencers and join conversations on the latest AI trends and techniques.
  • Kaggle: Participate in competitions and collaborate with other AI enthusiasts.


Now is the right time to get started with Gen AI. Tech companies are more than ever looking for prompt engineers to implement conversational AI in their businesses.

The path to becoming an AI prompt engineer is both rewarding and exciting. Anyone can become a prompt engineer with the right combination of the technical and non-technical skills mentioned throughout this article.

With dedication and continuous learning, you can master the art of prompt engineering and pave your way to a successful career in this emerging field. So, follow these steps, stay curious, and keep experimenting with new prompting techniques. The future of AI awaits your co