Transitioning from RPA experts to AI automation professionals



UiPath Community Most Valuable Professionals share ‌their journeys from building RPA workflows to AI-powered automations. We wanted to hear directly from the automations professionals who shape the future of RPA and AI. Therefore, we received their thoughts in this dedicated interview. We talked with professionals at Boundaryless Group, qBotica, and Ashling Partners that exemplify a growth journey into AI.

Chapter one - How did your career journey transition into becoming an AI automation professional?

Our talk begins with a visionary RPA Solution Architect at Boundaryless Group, Lahiru Fernando. Under the guidance of CEO Erik Gillet, who anticipated the rising demand for AI, started exploring. The main focus was on AI capabilities such as intelligent document processing, prediction, in-‌depth analytics, email processing. This was a paved way for Lahiru to transition into a practice lead for document understanding and AI. Today, he is overseeing all document understanding and AI initiatives across Boundaryless Group.

Transitioning from a freelancer on UpWork, Leon Petrou started with no technical background or coding experience in 2017. Through hands-on learning, the freelancer's role evolved into becoming an entrepreneur. His contribution to the UiPath Community earned him the UiPath AI Ambassador of the Year in 2023.

Coming from a hardware and electronics engineering background, Russel Alfeche started to integrate batch scripts and VB code into daily support tasks. He then moved into implementing automation projects at Fortune 100. Conversational AI was his main focus and helped him become a Solutions Engineer at UiPath. Today, as a Technology Leader at qBotica, he continues to pioneer automation leveraging Generative AI and Specialized AI. He is keen on seeing the role of intelligent automation in the upcoming future.

Currently, as a Technology Leader for our intelligent automation services at qBotica (UiPath platinum partner, USN Certified) and the first one to complete the UiPath Certified Professional Specialized AI certification, it's my mandate to deliver high quality AI-powered automations for our customers and distribution partners and continuously evangelize the critical role of intelligent automation in every company's digital transformation journey.

Joining Ashling Partners in 2021, Sharon Palawandram embarked on a transformative journey. She has a background in machine learning and business. AI capabilities became part of her roadmap. Her role as an AI professional is not just a job but a rewarding professional journey.

In the last years, AI has witnessed an unprecedented surge in global interest, with discussions centered on generative AI and a worldwide shift in this direction. In the current year, we are observing a widespread adoption of AI across nearly all sectors. AI has firmly demonstrated its value and profound impact on our work processes. As an AI professional, I firmly believe that AI will be as essential as any specialization in all sectors in the future. Therefore, it's an excellent time to embark into AI.

Chapter two - What helped you accelerate your journey in adopting AI technologies and building competence? 

Every successful deep dive into AI begins with a solid foundation. Lahiru shares how his journey accelerated through meticulous research.

To make a transition into AI Lahiru encourages practice. He emphasizes the importance of attending learning programs, workshops, webinars, and hands-on sessions to gain insights and develop skills. Applying knowledge to real-world scenarios through use cases proved instrumental in delivering successful AI-automation outcomes.

The challenges faced during his own learning journey, empowered Leon to create an online Udemy course. The "Complete UiPath RPA Developer Course" compiles years of experience into a 30-hour program, providing hands-on experience. The main skill achieved is building advanced robots from scratch using UiPath. This course has now up to 50,000 students enrolled. It is a valuable resource for anyone choosing a career shift to automation. To further empower AI professionals, Leon launched the "Complete RPA Bootcamp". This is a dedicated learning program of 100-hour focused on AI-powered automation. It deep-dives into building UiPath robots and integrating AI. Document understanding, OpenAI integration, and custom machine learning models are some of the areas of interest. The free training offers a robust resource to advance your skills. Listen more in this video.

For a more structured approach, Leon recommends UiPath Academy. Generative AI and Specialized AI capabilities in UiPath are essential for the learning journey. Learning plans and certifications enable professionals to use these cutting-edge technologies and stay ahead in automation.

Russel's recommendation for those starting their AI journey is UiPath Document Understanding. This enables you to create, train and deploy customized or prebuilt machine learning models. It also addresses diverse and complex use cases with user-friendly and low-code tools. Russel emphasizes the importance of applying these concepts in customer pilots. He strongly believes in a culture where knowledge sharing is at your fingertip.

Sharon recommends UiPath Specialized AI certification, as a comprehensive program for anyone interested in adopting AI in their automation projects. "Machine Learning Specialization" on Coursera is another course recommended by Sharon.

Chapter three - Which are some useful examples of AI-automations that work and can generate value in companies?

Lahiru shares that finance teams handle many document processing activities. From invoice processing to purchase order processing, the volume is impressive. Another view is on creating intelligent knowledge repositories. Almost all organizations manage their information in documents, web URLs, internal databases, and other sources. For someone to find all the information effectively, they need to browse through multiple sources. Lahiru thinks that Generative AI and Specialized AI capabilities could generate personalized and insightful responses from knowledge bases. Also, organizations that work in the child welfare domain handle lots of documents daily. These documents include various types, structured and unstructured. UiPath Document Understanding can optimize ‌processes in child welfare. Hear more in this video.

Leon got inspired by the AI-powered automation impact, and created his own startup, This is an online learning platform.

This platform personalizes the learning experience for students by utilizing AI to customize curriculum, skill level, learning style, and even generate course content based on individual goals and learning outcomes. also incorporates a reliable AI chatbot for 24/7 live student support and an AI-powered UiPath robot that instantly grades assignments and provides personalized feedback for students. AI-powered personalized learning offers multiple benefits, these include on-demand student support, increased course engagement, improved learning outcomes, and accelerated learning through shorter, targeted learning paths.

Russel finds that the main areas for AI-powered use cases are claims processing, denials management​, and data fabric integrator between multiple EMRs​. Also, consolidation of financial and clinical data are solid for automation scenarios.

One use case I can think of, that includes both Specialized and Generative AI, could be in insurance where they will use Document Understanding (Specialized AI) to extract from structured policy forms, then use OpenAI connector in UiPath Integration Service to do comparison and summarization of old and new policies (Generative AI).

Sharon likes to explore document understanding with UiPath AI Center™. Capabilities of ML model-based extraction and generative capabilities, blend nicely for automation projects. Also, UiPath Solution Accelerators offers a bundle of comprehensive AI automation solutions centered on document understanding. ‌

Chapter four - What does AI at Work mean to you?

Lahiru thinks that the integration of AI into our professional lives has become a game-changer. As a UiPath MVP and AI ambassador, he already practices the impact of AI.

Efficiency is at the core of AI role in our daily activities, Leon indicates. With ChatGPT, he discovered the importance of prompt engineering. He thinks that the quality of prompts directly influences ‌responses received from language models. He finds it useful when building UiPath workflows integrated with OpenAI or other large language model APIs. Leon shares a recently launched Udemy course dedicated to prompt engineering.

AI at Work for Russel includes context, action, and trust. Context is about providing critical guidance to language models (LLMs) and creating a contextual interface for automation flows. Action comes to life through attended and unattended robots, as well as the revolutionary UiPath Autopilot™. This integrates Generative AI, Specialized AI, and automation to fast-track work using natural language. Trust is provided through the UiPath AI Trust Layer, offering governance for the responsible use of Generative AI. These components work together to provide a secure, efficient, and user-friendly experience with UiPath. Listen more in this video.

Sharon believes AI acts as a reliable assistant freeing up valuable time for more relevant activities. In her view, this time-saving aspect fosters innovation and allows for a better work-life balance. The extra time could be invested in creative pursuits and personal growth, she states. Discover more in this video.


The 2023.10 UiPath product release is here. You can now explore the UiPath Business Automation Platform to prospect the value from AI. UiPath Autopilot™ is a good example of Gen AI to work with. It is paired with Specialized AI within UiPath Document Understanding and UiPath Communications Mining to take intelligent document processing (IDP) to the next level.

Curious about AI at Work? You can now explore a new UiPath Academy course ‌for hands-on use cases, exploring Generative AI-powered features. If you look to take things further, get your knowledge elevated and enroll for UiPath Certified Specialized AI Professional.


Oana Chicioroaga
Oana Chicioroaga

RPA Content Manager, UiPath