The key elements needed to become a knowledge engineer are aptitude, eduction and experience. Knowledge engineering is a technical and intuitive field and requires an aptitude not only for computer science and the underlying mathematical principals of software creation, but also the ability to relate to end users of the technology. To become a knowledge engineer requires at least a bachelor of science degree in an acceptable field, and many knowledge engineers have a master’s degree in a specialized aspect of a related field as well. Experience, often in the form of internships, can be useful to become a knowledge engineer as well. The hands-on application of a student's computer science and mathematical education can help improve practical skills, and working for a company can offer an inside perspective into the field.
Knowledge engineering, often referred to as KE, is a term that came into use in the mid-1980s. The goal of knowledge engineering is to create what are known as knowledge-based databases in computers and then to develop software that can access available data and use mathematical logic to derive answers to requests for information. As the field of study progresses, the logic-based activity of the computer should begin to resemble human problem solving. As a result, to become a knowledge engineer requires an aptitude for the science of developing the databases and software and the interpersonal skills to interview end users with a view toward designing computer capabilities that meet their needs.
In terms of education, to become a knowledge engineer, it is typical to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer programming, information systems or mathematics. A master’s degree in similar fields is a plus. Knowledge engineers will be expected to have programming expertise in computer languages relevant to a particular employer, but among the typical languages are Java and C++. In some instances a doctoral degree is required.
Gaining experience in knowledge engineering typically begins following the sophomore or junior year of university study. Often, technology companies offer internships, many of which are paid, in order to begin developing relationships with prospective future employees. The student not only receives valuable, hands-on training in knowledge engineering but gains an inside look at a company where he or she might want to work. In addition to demonstrating an acceptable aptitude for knowledge engineering, these internships are an opportunity for the student to see the interpersonal skills required to succeed in the field.