What is Prompt Engineering?

Prompt Engineering

by Todd Kelsey

What is prompt engineering?

It's basically the art and science of  testing and improving AI systems with text prompts. This is most likely the new generative AI systems like ChatGPT and Dall-e from OpenAI and others, where you type in a command and the system makes things for you, such as any kind of image/art you might want, or any kind of written document, including articles, legal briefs, essays, etc.

On a simpler level, you could say that when you type in any prompt, and refine it, it is a form of prompt engineering. For example, you might type in a text prompt and ask Dall-e to make an image for you, such as:

learning tech skills. pixel art

and the image might come out like this:

but you might want to try something different, to tweak it until you get want you want. It would be much like if you were working with an artist and asking them to make drawings for you, only it's a robot.

So instead of learning tech skills. pixel art

you might try  learning tech skills. hyperrealistic manga full color digital art

And it might result in something more to your liking.

Prompt engineering is a very new field, and also a very new job title.

Wikipedia has a technical definition, and helpful information:

Prompt engineering is a concept in artificial intelligence (AI), particularly natural language processing (NLP). In prompt engineering, the description of the task is embedded in the input, e.g., as a question instead of it being implicitly given.


And this Washington Post article from  2/5/23 gives some background on the professional job of prompt engineering:


In the article they mention that no coding experience is required, which might be the case for some jobs, but others definitely ask for experience in Python, and other areas. The best way to get a sense of it is to search for something like "ai prompt engineer" on linkedin.com, or indeed.com

Because it is a new field, you may also want to enter the search query like this:

ai "prompt enginer"

(with the prompt engineer part in quotes, which will result in theory jobs that use the exact phrase. putting quotes around searches can help narrow things down)

It's a brave new world, and one worth exploring. Best wishes!

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