Jobs for Philosophers (Buffalo Edition)

We have built the world’s only PhD program with a focus on ontology. Our alums are employed as senior ontologists. This puts our graduates in a position to influence hiring decisions in the future.

I trained my son’s classmate on BFO, and he got a high-paying job at Amazon. Amazon asked me to brief them last week re: BFO and the orders of reality, consistency across, etc. Word is they really liked it ..."

        —UB Philosophy Alum, November 8, 2021

A significant number of our graduates obtain well-paying jobs in biomedical research, government, banking, social media, and similar areas. The key to this success lies in the role played in our program by the discipline of ontology, a branch of philosophy that is making a significant contribution to information and data science. 

We have built the world’s only philosophy PhD program which allows a focus on ontology, both theoretical and applied. Graduates of this program are employed in a variety of field as senior ontologists. This puts them in a position to influence hiring decisions in the future.

Jobs for philosophers who focus on ontology

One of 2020's hottest jobs: Ontologist  (Prediction from the Eckerson Group)

All indications from former UB students and collaborators working in the ontology field suggest that this prediction will continue to hold in the future:

"In most organizations, there is a growing disconnect between machine learning algorithms and corporate knowledge. This disconnect is an example of a more general problem in artificial intelligence (AI). As articulated by DARPA, when machine learning algorithms are not guided by relevant domain knowledge, whether for banking, insurance or automated driving, they can generate false outputs, sometimes catastrophic. It’s critical to connect algorithms and data processing with rich, inference-ready knowledge (a.k.a. ontologies) that is independent of any particular representation in databases, file systems or other data management systems. Leading companies, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Nike, are posting job openings for ontologists. There is a particular interest in people with skills in semantic technologies, such as OWL, SPARQL, and knowledge graphs.  Some far-sighted companies that understand the importance of corporate knowledge might even hire a Chief Semantics Officer."  

—Erik Thomsen, Senior Consultant, Artificial Intelligence, Eckerson Group

SALARY RANGE: $59K to $121

The 2021 annual salaries for ontologists are in the range of $59K to $121K, as listed on the industry's top job sites. According to SimplyHired, the average salary for an Ontologist job is $82,730.

The job responsibilities of an ontologist can include:

  • Building ontologies that support content search systems.
  • Exercising judgment in applying existing ontology standards.
  • Working with applied scientists and others to develop metrics for ontology usage.
  • Working with business and domain experts to develop and evolve ontology usage.
  • Translating customer’s business requirements into technical/functional ontology implementation for engineers.
  • Evangelizing ontological concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Collaborating with other technical teams on knowledge-engineering focused projects.
  • Deploying ontologies in a business setting.