Large language models are human-level prompt engineers.
If something has totally changed the way we use AI, it is language models. Tools like ChatGPT are so good at imitating natural language that they are already used as chatbots. These chatbots can generate written content with a quality close to that of human skills. But these technologies cannot work on their own. There is something called “Prompt Engineering” to make them work.
In this article, you will find the answer to what is prompt engineering in simple words. Also, this article will walk you through the prompt engineer job profile, the average salary, and the best courses to earn in 6-figures. Let’s start!
What is a Prompt?
Before entering the world of prompt engineering, let’s understand what a ‘prompt’ is. In AI and ML, a prompt refers to an initial sentence or phrase provided to an AI tool like ChatGPT to generate a response. Prompts can be questions, instructions, or any other type of input used to start response generation.
Commonly, prompts play a crucial role in text generation by AI models. Small variations in prompts can lead to very different responses. Also, the quality and relevance of the response depend on the capacity of the model and its training.
What is Prompt Engineering?
Prompt engineering is the process where you guide generative artificial intelligence solutions to generate desired outputs. – AWS
Coming to our core topic. Prompt engineering is like guiding AI tools to generate the desired response. And because we show off our engineering skills through prompts (instructions or commands) on an AI tool, we call it AI prompt engineering. As simple as it sounds. Isn’t it?
What’s more? You can influence the outputs by precisely telling AI models what exactly you want. I give you an example to help you understand what prompt engineering is in simple words.
Prompt Engineering in Simple Words (with an Example)
Picture this: You’re busy with your work. Suddenly, you remember that it’s your best friend’s birthday. You wish to give your buddy a personal, handmade gift. Let’s say you have an idea to bake a cake, but the problem is that you don’t know how to bake one.
Instead of Googling the recipe for baking cake, you may jump to AI chatbots: ChatGPT, Bard, or Claude.
You start with the simple prompt, which is:
“Give me a recipe to bake a cake.”
Then these AI tools will spit out a fancy recipe with some unfamiliar ingredients you might not have heard of.
Next, you think about adding some ingredient names to your prompt, which you have right now. Then the prompt would look like:
“Give me a recipe to bake a cake if I have only sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and milk.”
This time, the chatbot gives you the desired result with a baking time of 30 minutes. If the baking time is 30 minutes, it will surely take you 1 hour as you will have to collect essentials.
Therefore, you add more details to your prompt to shorten the baking time. This time, the prompt is:
“Act as an expert cake-baking chef in a renowned bakery. You have an urgent order for a cake, but you have only sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, milk, and some fresh raspberries. Write a quick recipe that includes only available ingredients.”
Aha! You have your desired recipe that can be prepared in 10 minutes with those ingredients. Of course, you can continue with prompts to get more precise outcomes.
This is what a general prompt engineering looks like. Our prompt engineers do the same, but with some monstrous prompts for giant companies. I hope I succeeded in making prompt engineering meaning easier for you.
Why is Prompt Engineering Important?
Prompt engineering proves to be a powerful friend to businesses. The AI chatbots are being trained using AI prompt engineering techniques to improve communication between the company and its customers. They are helping businesses serve their customers better.
Developers can guide AI systems to get desired results by carefully crafting prompts. Also, it has evidential importance in improving business performance and ensuring ethical use of AI. I want to mention some of its key benefits in developing responsible AI models.
Firstly, it provides developers with control and responsiveness. By using prompts, developers can influence the behavior of AI models, which ensures more reliable responses.
Secondly, it helps mitigate bias. Carefully curated prompts can help address biases in AI models by providing very specific instructions to promote equity and inclusion.
Finally, prompt engineering enables alignment with use cases. As we all know, each business or industry has unique requirements. This creative engineering enables the customization of AI models to meet these specific needs.
Techniques in Prompt AI Engineering
Various techniques can be employed in rapid engineering to achieve the desired outcomes. I want to give you a brief overview of widely-known techniques here.
- Context Setting: Providing relevant context in the prompts helps AI tools understand the task or topic at hand. This context may include specific instructions, examples, or relevant information.
- Instruction Modifiers: This technique modifies instructions within prompts to influence the style, tone, or behavior of AI models. That means you can make these chatbots your girlfriend and interviewer too.
- Conditioning Techniques: It involves additional inputs, such as keywords or attributes. It tells AI tools to respond based on your given conditions.
- System Messages: They are strategically inserted within prompts to guide the conversation flow, establishing the desired dynamic between AI systems and users.
- Output Length Control: Specifying the desired output length in prompts helps ensure that generated responses are the appropriate length. Try this prompt to check it out: “Write a 200-word answer on what prompt engineering is.”
Real-world Applications of Prompt Engineering
Prompt-engineered AI solutions find applications in various domains. Let’s explore some of the practical applications:
Text Generation & Moderation
This engineering technique allows AI models to generate specific types of text. It could be poetry, technical writing, or marketing content. By giving appropriate prompts, you can guide the AI system to produce text with the desired style and tone.
Further, prompt-engineered AI models can filter or flag inappropriate or offensive content. It supports efforts to maintain a safe and respectful online environment.
Platforms like e-commerce or content streaming apps have a lot of data about their users. Developers use this historical data to guide AI models to shoot personalized recommendations to each user. Imagine if they do it by hand. Ugh! It’s a time-consuming, head-scratching task, and a less effective method.
Legal and Compliance Help
This engineering technique can help with legal tasks innovatively. It can help write tailored contracts and perform compliance analysis. Developers just have to teach AI models legal terms, regulations, or laws; they can create a valuable support system for the legal profession.
Automatic Translation Systems
An AI prompt engineer can design the prompts to get accurate and contextual translations of the source language. These human-machine communication experts can remove the language barriers in the world. Thanks to them, the system will generate more coherent, appropriate translations.
Customer Service and Support
Prompt engineering can develop AI-powered chatbots for customer servicing. By carefully designing prompts that guide conversation flow and response style, developers can create AI systems that provide effective and contextually appropriate help to customers. It’s like having an additional support team in a business that enhances the customer experience through speedy response.
Okay. We had chewed a lot of information about AI prompt engineering. But what do its professionals do as their day-to-day job? Find out in the next section.
What Does a Prompt Engineer Do?
The job of AI prompt engineers is to give the AI tools instructions in such a way that the result produced by the machine is exactly what the person needs. One thing I want to clarify is that this job does not require knowledge of programing, computer development, or code writing. These professionals just need to possess the relevant communication skills and some creativity.
To fulfill this objective, a prompt engineer has to perform the following tasks:
Performs Interaction Tests
The prompt engineering technique works through trial and error. By testing different sentences and commands, the professionals test the success of the system. These professionals try to make each response concrete and specific. Sometimes the model responds well to a structure but will give a different response if something changes in the input. By detecting these variations, these engineers can begin training the system.
Train the System
Like any artificial intelligence system, language models need to undergo training. The program runs with input values to guide the model, ensuring that its responses are relevant and adjusted for a given topic. In this way, a tool can be targeted at specific audiences and generate content that is valuable to them.
Determine the Tone of the Responses
During training, the prompt engineer is also responsible for setting the responses’ tone. Thus, they fine-tune the operation of previously trained models and direct them to a specific type of user. For example, you can set a tone of interaction that is playful and fun, serious and professional, or neutral and helpful.
Manage Program Optimizations
Through this process, prompt engineers can detect if there is any problem in the database that powers the technology. They also have to find any glitches that occur while training to rectify them. In simple words, they have to work like editors who weed out inappropriate information from the text. For this reason, these sharp minds must work in collaboration with the IT and computer development teams before launching the AI product into the market.
Delimit the Scope of the Models
Finally, these creative engineers ensure that the tool fulfills its function properly. For example, if you have a chatbot for your online clothing store, this bot should not answer health-related topics. Rather, the system should answer questions about the service, help the user buy, or manage their account information.
Accordingly, a prompt engineer is the professional in charge of developing these key elements. They train AI systems to allow effective interaction with users.
The True Prompt Engineering Salary
Anthropic, a San Francisco-based AI startup that owns Claude.ai, gained attention from a job advertisement for a prompt engineer with a maximum annual salary of $335,000. It is nearly ₹2.7 crores.
Although it’s true, it seems too good to be true for non-tech professionals. Isn’t it? Therefore, to tell you the accurate salaries of AI prompt engineers, I researched on the web.
The true entry-level prompt engineering salary in India is between ₹3 lakhs and ₹6 lakhs per annum. Remember, there is no maximum cap for this. You can earn according to your potential.
Prompt engineers’ salaries in other regions of the world:
- US: The average salary is $96,343 per year in the United States.
- UK: The average salary is £61,440 per year in the United Kingdom.
- China: The total estimated salary for an AI engineer in China is CN¥371,558 per year, with a mean salary of CN¥321,558 per year.
- Europe: The average salary for an AI engineer ranges from €30,000 per year in Italy to €60,000 per year in Berlin, Germany.
- Further, freelancers charge $50 per hour on many reputed platforms.
Experience, type of studies, and professional background can influence the salary of prompt engineers, of course.
Sounds attractive. Right?
5 Best Prompt Engineering Courses
Next, if you ask where should you learn about this lucrative career, find the 5 best courses below.
If you want to train with experts in the use of language models, there is no better option than the course offered by DeepLearing in collaboration with OpenAI (yes, the creators of ChatGPT, Isa Fulford and Andrew NG).
The main advantage of this course is that it is aimed at computer developers. Its objective is to apply prompt engineering concepts to create more powerful programs and efficient language models. The only requirement to take their classes is to know the basics of Python and be eager to learn.
“Complete Prompt Engineering for AI Bootcamp” is a complete course that covers a wide array of AI tools. This course teaches you to use GPT-4, Stable Diffusion, and GitHub Copilot effectively. It also provides practical training in prompt engineering techniques.
Additionally, the creators regularly update course content to keep up with the AI. The course delves into various important aspects, like understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different AI models, mastering Python coding patterns, and applying key principles to generate real-world AI products. Finally, the course has received excellent feedback, with over 3,000 5-star reviews, which is evident in its informative content.
The course on Coursera offers a foundational understanding of prompt engineering. It is designed for beginners with basic computer usage skills. You will have to put in 18 hours to complete the course. Of course, it is self-paced with a flexible schedule.
Additionally, the course encompasses six modules, featuring seven assignments and six videos. It is available in English and is taught by top instructor Dr. Jules White. You can also earn a shareable certificate upon completing the course.
This course is offered by promptengineering.org. It is a complete and foundational program designed to provide a strong understanding of core concepts applicable to any LLM. This means you will gain knowledge for the effective use of ChatGPT, Claude, GPT, and GPT-J.
Sunil Ramlochan aims to take learners to the master level in AI prompt engineering. The course is ideal for professionals seeking to enhance their skill set. This is not to say that this is not a perfect course for aspiring prompt engineers.
LearnPrompting.org offers comprehensive courses for professionals who want to use AI effectively. The platform provides courses suited for various levels, from beginners to advanced learners. The “ChatGPT for Everyone” course introduces the ChatGPT AI system, while the “Introduction to Prompt Engineering” course covers the basic concepts. For more advanced learners, you can enroll in the “Advanced Prompt Engineering” course. This advanced course focuses on crafting complex prompts for sophisticated AI tools.
Further, the courses are collaboratively created with industry leaders, ensuring high-quality content. The platform also highlighted the success of its HackAPrompt competition, which aimed to improve AI safety and received over 600,000 malicious prompts.
Finally, once you finish these courses, you will be more than prepared to use AI tools. Remember, the importance of designing a website or creating content using AI in no time is simply impressive. Surely, it will grow exponentially.
Prompt engineering is an emerging discipline within computing that can revolutionize our way of interacting with technology.
Mastering prompt engineering involves adopting an iterative mentality. This involves continuous testing, gathering user feedback, leveraging community wisdom, and adapting to new LLM capabilities.
Effective prompt development starts with basic techniques. Start experimenting with information retrieval, context expansion, summarization, rephrasing, and iterative prompts to familiarize yourself with language models.
If you know any other prompting strategies, share them in the comments. Your contributions will enrich the collective knowledge of the engineers who read this article.
Prompt Engineering FAQ
Q1. What are the advantages of using prompt engineering?
A. It improves the performance of LLMs to make them versatile in generating useful results. It is vital for information retrieval, data analysis, and content improvement.
Q2. How difficult is prompt engineering?
A. Learning this skill is relatively easy. Beginners should start with simple queries and progress to more complex concepts. Advanced prompting requires a deep understanding of natural language processing (NLP) and effective language modeling.
Q3. Can you get a job doing prompt engineering?
A. As AI grows, the demand for prompt engineers increases. Technology companies are creating more roles for prompt engineers as part of their core teams.