From taking on complex projects for clients to leading podcast and mastermind sessions to planning local social events, Greg Schwartz is fully immersed in gaining generative AI and prompt engineering expertise.
Schwartz, an experienced User Experience (UX) designer, started exploring prompt engineering in early 2023 as a way to gain new freelancing clients. However, he initially faced challenges with finding enough information on the emerging concept. Since then, he’s been committed to developing relevant skills, partnering with companies on prompt engineering projects, and sharing his knowledge with others.
Learning about prompt engineering with limited resources
Widespread generative AI and prompt engineering adoption happened practically overnight. ChatGPT launched in November 2022 and reached 100 million users by January 2023, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history. As a result, prompt engineering jobs are on the rise. These jobs involve optimizing text input to communicate with large language models like ChatGPT. In fact, the World Economic Forum declared prompt engineering one of the top jobs of the future.
Schwartz recognized this opportunity as a chance to develop new skills and grow his freelancing client base. He started learning about prompt engineering in early 2023. Prompt engineering was so new that most individuals Schwartz spoke with at the time had only been involved in prompt engineering for a matter of days or weeks. Only one person with whom Schwartz interacted had more than nine months of experience in generative AI—and only because the individual worked at OpenAI three years ago. Because of this, limited resources were available to learn prompt engineering skills.
“Part of the challenge was that there wasn't much information or a guide that I could turn to that explained exactly how to do prompt engineering,” said Schwartz. “Some of the early steps I took included watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts that shared examples of effective prompts for certain focus areas, such as generating social media posts. A lot of my learning also involved directly inputting and polishing prompts in ChatGPT and learning from the interactive dialogue.”
Schwartz’ background in User Experience design has been beneficial to developing prompt engineering skills. One of the transferable skills that has been helpful is understanding mental models, meaning the expectations a user has about how a product or experience should work.
“Taking both the mental model of the AI tool and the end user into consideration when building a prompt is really important,” said Schwartz. “Using social media copy as an example, this involves thinking about what type of content the target audience will be excited to share, and how to build and tweak a prompt to develop engaging content.”
Sharing expertise with others
Given the limited information available when he started exploring prompt engineering, Schwartz launched a podcast and interactive masterminds to both expand his prompt engineering knowledge and help others build their skills.
- The Prompt Engineering Podcast. Through this podcast, listeners can learn to write effective prompts for ChatGPT, Bard, Midjourney, DALL-E, and other AI systems. Each episode also explores prompting techniques and features interviews with experts. In addition to being a useful resource for others looking to learn about prompt engineering, the podcast also helps Schwartz share his expertise and grow his network. “The podcast helps prospective clients and other professional contacts feel more connected with me and confident in my prompt engineering experience,” said Schwartz. “It gives them an opportunity to learn about my background without coming up with questions to ask me or paying for my time.”
- Collaborative masterminds. Schwartz hosts bi-weekly mastermind sessions on the subjects of ChatGPT and prompt engineering. During these sessions, individuals can submit questions and prompts in the chat and Schwartz shares his screen so all attendees can work collaboratively to improve prompts in ChatGPT. “Based on what I’ve seen, the free masterminds are a unique approach,” said Schwartz. “I know of quite a few people who offer paid prompt engineering coaching or consulting sessions. I also know of several prerecorded and live courses. But part of what I wanted to do with the masterminds was make the process of working on prompts together fun. I've seen a similar approach in engineering, which is usually called pair programming, and in design, known as pair design.”
Offering prompt engineering services on Upwork
Schwartz has been active on Upwork for six years, primarily focused on UX design. Because many professionals offer UX design services, standing out to win projects has been challenging. As the demand for AI and, specifically prompt engineering, has skyrocketed, Schwartz seized the opportunity to gain new clients through prompt engineering.
Rather than creating a new Upwork profile, Schwartz used the specialized profile feature to separate his AI and prompt engineering offerings from his user experience work. He also offers chatbot development and IT consultation services through Project Catalog™.
Similar to any freelancer offering professional services, Schwartz takes a thoughtful approach to working on projects that best align with his skills and experience. He has received requests for projects from clients who think the work is AI-related, but the project is more of a basic front-end development task. In other instances, Schwartz has been asked to build a chatbot or a complete related complex project for a low hourly rate or in a tight timeframe. AI and prompt engineering are so new, many businesses don’t have a full understanding of their scope and complexity.
Leveraging Upwork helps Schwartz more effectively identify relevant potential projects, receive inbound requests for work, and weed out projects that aren’t a fit.
“I'm finding it really helpful to have a stream of people reaching out to me on Upwork as well as available projects for which I can submit proposals,” said Schwartz. “I receive some interest in my services through my podcast and masterminds, but I’d say that’s probably only about one-tenth of my AI and prompt engineering work, with the rest coming from Upwork.”
Prompt engineering project examples
Here are two examples of recent prompt engineering projects that Schwarz has worked on:
- Real estate company chatbot. Schwartz partnered with a real estate company to improve an existing chatbot on the company website. The existing chatbot was somewhat functional but had limitations because the tool was built using simple expressions and a dialogue tree, rather than large language models and ChatGPT. For example, one of the questions in the chatbot was, “What’s your intended budget?” but the dialogue tree didn’t have the capabilities to understand the wide range of responses that may be inputted. For example, someone may input $100,000, $100k, 100, or hundred but the language tree didn’t recognize the different formats for the same responses. Leveraging his prompt engineering expertise, Schwartz identified prompts for every possible way the question could be answered—including obscure responses—to test and improve the chatbot.
- Travel agent: Some projects require more in-depth technical knowledge than prompt engineering, using text output tools such as ChatGPT. Schwartz worked on a project for a travel agent that involved helping to develop travel itineraries featuring a range of options, for example, top tourist attractions available year-round. Some information on ChatGPT and similar tools can be outdated and the project faced challenges such as recommending restaurants or attractions that are no longer open or changed their operating hours. To address this issue, Schwartz used his prompt engineering skills to identify potential inputs individuals may use for the travel agent tool. In addition to prompt engineering, for a project like this, an external API is needed to validate with Yelp, Google, or another source that the restaurant or attraction is still open. Schwartz has experience as a full-stack developer, which helped him identify how to validate recommendations for the travel agent.
Advice to businesses and individuals looking to explore prompt engineering
Prompt engineering as an area of expertise is fairly new and rapidly evolving. Determining where to start with engaging prompt engineering professionals—or becoming one—can be daunting. Schwartz offered prompt engineering advice for both businesses and individuals.
Advice for businesses interested in engaging prompt engineering talent
Because prompt engineering only emerged in 2022, companies looking to engage an expert to incorporate AI into their business should place less emphasis on long-term experience and an individual’s total number of prompt engineering projects. Similar to engaging any independent professional, business leaders can gain a baseline understanding of the individual and their quality of work reading through their profile and reviewing their writing style. If the profile has grammatical errors or typos, the worker may not have the best attention to detail. From there, Schwartz recommends initiating a conversation via messages or a video call on the Upwork platform to learn more about the individual’s qualifications.
Another step Schwartz recommends—and finds helpful when he works on freelance projects—is beginning the engagement with a test project. This approach can help the client see the freelancer’s work firsthand, learn more about their communication style, and determine whether your expectations and scope are aligned. If the short-term test project works out, businesses can engage the individuals for longer-term prompt engineering work. On the other hand, if the project falls short or the freelancer and client have different goals or expectations in mind, the client can move forward with finding a different freelancer before initiating a long-term contract.
Recommendations for professionals looking to learn and offer prompt engineering services
For individuals looking to build their skills and explore prompt engineering career opportunities, as a starting point, Schwartz recommends reading research papers and other expert sources, rather than endlessly scrolling Twitter, Reddit, and other AI news. According to Schwartz, as AI and prompt engineering continue to rapidly evolve, “It’s easy to get caught up in the firehose of social media and news sites. What I’ve found powerful is being at least moderately up to date on AI news but also taking the extra step and reading a research paper to overcome prompt engineering challenges.”
Similar to how Schwartz built his own prompt engineering skills, he recommends spending as much time using generative AI tools as possible.
“Using ChatGPT or another tool and experimenting with prompts for hours at a time is really important,” said Schwartz. “With prompt engineering, there isn’t one right way to do things, but rather 1,000,000 different ways, and each solution will work better or worse depending on the situation. Similar to developing any skills in life, part of the way to improve prompt engineering skills is to dive in and practice or play with [generative AI tools].”
Whether individuals meet Schwartz at a networking event or hackathon, join one of his virtual masterminds sessions, or cross paths with him at the Burning Man festival, he’s built an intentional brand to stand out and ensure he’s easy to remember. Schwartz includes Superman on all of his branding, wearing Superman t-shirts or sweatshirts to events, and including the logo on his business cards, as a way of showing he’s always willing to initiate conversations and help people.
In addition to embracing prompt engineering in his work life, Schwartz also uses his skills in his personal life, including planning and writing promotional copy for local social events to meet new people following a recent move to San Diego.
Looking ahead, Schwartz wants to continue building his brand reputation and expertise in prompt engineering. “My ultimate goal is to take the work that I’m doing now, which is split between UX design and prompt engineering, and have the flexibility to pick the most interesting and relevant projects,” said Schwartz. “Another opportunity I’m exploring is selling services that either involve minimal or no work per sale, such as creating paid prompt engineering courses.”
Access prompt engineering expertise on Upwork
Schwartz is a seasoned prompt engineer and AI expert with a commitment to solving real-world problems for a diverse range of clients. He also has more than 13 years of experience as a senior user experience designer, full-stack engineer, and user researcher.
If you’re interested in engaging Schwartz for a prompt engineering or UX design project, take a look at his Upwork profile, book a consultation to learn more about prompt engineering and chatbot development, or invite him to apply to one of your jobs.
Disclosure: Upwork is an OpenAI partner, giving OpenAI customers and other businesses direct access to trusted expert independent professionals experienced in working with OpenAI technologies.
Upwork does not control, operate, or sponsor the other tools or services discussed in this article, which are only provided as potential options. Each reader and company should take the time to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.
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