Growth is inevitable in the AI sector. According to Statista, the already-booming industry looks set to go from a value of $100 billion in 2021 to $2 trillion by 2030, increasing by a multiple of 20 to become one of the world’s biggest industries. Naturally, the need for skilled AI professionals will grow alongside that enormous scaling.
That’s where you come in.
With the right applied AI course, you can develop both the knowledge of the foundational theory that sits behind AI and learn how to apply that theory in a real-world setting. Here are four of the best applied AI courses to get you started.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Applied AI Course
Every search for a new course starts with figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of each one you consider. These factors help you do that, ensuring you don’t spend your hard-earned money on a course that fails to equip you with skills that make you desirable to employers.
Course Content and Curriculum
AI is such an expansive field that every applied AI course has the potential to cover different topics and subjects. Think about what you want to learn (and your prospective career path), then align your course selection with that intended path.
Applied AI courses can vary tremendously in length, from several years for degree-level courses to a few months for online courses. Ask yourself how long you wish to spend studying. Also, consider the flexibility of the course, such as whether you’ll be able to fit your studies around your existing work and family commitments.
AI is a burgeoning industry, meaning expertise levels vary from course to course. For applied AI courses, in particular, you want professors who combine in-depth knowledge of the theory with real-world experience. What have they done in the industry? If the answer is “nothing,” they may not be able to guide you down the path to an AI-centric career.
Course Fees and Financial Aid
Course fees vary massively depending on the type of course you take. For example, those in the U.K. can easily spend between £15,000 and £25,000 on university-level courses, with Aston University’s tuition fees of £23,200 being somewhat typical. Online and self-learning courses cost considerably less, so you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend (and if you can get any help with your fees) before moving forward.
Job Placement and Career Support
Though you need one eye pointed toward the present when choosing between applied AI courses, the other needs to be firmly pointed toward the future. What prospects will you have when you complete the course? In other words, does the course provide you with a direct path into the industry, along with support, or are you left to fend for yourself once you have your qualification?
Top Choices for Mastering Artificial Intelligence
Choices abound when you jump online to find applied AI courses. The following selection offers a nice mix, from online certifications offered by industry professionals to a couple of courses from some of the world’s most prestigious universities.
Course 1 – IBM Applied AI Professional Certification
If you’re fresh to the world of AI (though ideally not new to computer science), IBM’s industry-specific applied AI courses offer both foundational knowledge and a respected qualification. They’re flexible, too, with this course lasting for six months but only requiring three hours of work per work. Those in full-time work (or education) can fit the course around their lifestyle, while those who have time to burn can complete the entire course much quicker, earning degree credits along the way.
Key Features and Benefits
- Certification from one of the most respected companies in the AI space
- Direct exposure to use cases in the deep learning, machine learning, and neural network spheres
- Learn how to build AI-powered solutions (like chatbots) using Python and IBM’s Watson AI
- Over three-quarters (77%) of students report career improvement
Pricing and Enrollment
IBM’s course is available via Coursera and offers a seven-day trial you can use to get to grips with its structure and examine its modules. It’s fully online, which improves flexibility at the cost of not having direct access to a professor, and you’ll receive an IBM badge upon completion. You’ll pay a monthly fee of $35 (approx. €31) and can enroll at almost any time.
Course 2 – Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence (Harvard University)
Harvard University may be seen as the gold standard in the United States, but what many don’t know is that it offers a comprehensive suite of online courses that almost anybody can take. Its Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence course is a perfect example. Comprising of two courses – an introduction to computer science followed by an introduction to applying computer science principles to AI using Python – it lasts for five months. You get access to professors and can learn at your own pace, with the course recommending between seven and 22 hours of study per week.
Key Features and Benefits
- Two modules give you a crash course in applied AI and the computer science theory that underpins it
- Director access to Harvard professors Doug Lloyd, Brian Yu, and David J. Malan
- Complete flexibility in how and when you learn
- Get to grips with Python and build experience with machine learning libraries
Payment and Enrollment
As an online course, Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence is available for enrollment whenever you’re ready, with the five months starting once you’re enrolled. It costs £277 (approx. €312) and you’ll need to create an account with the EDX website (which hosts the course) to get started.
Course 3 – Artificial Intelligence Graduate Certificate (Stanford University)
Ranked as the third-best university in the United States for general computer science and AI teaching, Stanford University has opened up some of its best courses to online learners. Entirely online (and instructor-led for those who want more guidance) this is one of those applied AI courses that is equivalent to a full graduate degree. You’ll complete at least one required course – with a choice between machine learning and the principles of AI – and select up to three electives. It’s the electives that make this course stand out, as there are 18 to choose from, with the right combination giving you a chance to specialize for specific career paths.
Key Benefits and Features
- Direct tuition from prominent Stanford faculty members, including Andrew Ng and Chelsea Finn
- Some level of autonomy in how you study thanks to the online-centric nature of the course
- Specialize in specific areas of AI thanks to a wide range of electives
- You get a degree from one of the world’s foremost colleges in the AI field
Payment and Enrollment
Let’s get the bad news out of the way immediately – this isn’t a cheap course. As a full-on graduate degree, it costs between $18,200 and $22,400 to take (approx. €16,235 and €19,980), though financial aid may be available for some students. You can’t just hop onto the course, either, as a college-level understanding of calculus, linear algebra, Probability Theory, and several programming languages is required. Stanford itself calls this one of its most difficult courses and recommends that you take several foundation courses (ideally at degree level) before enrolling.
Course 4 – Master in Applied Data Science & AI (OPIT)
As a full postgraduate course that takes between 12 and 18 months to complete, OPIT’s Master in Applied Data Science & AI is an interesting case for one simple reason – there are no computer science prerequisites. The course is open to everybody and it teaches both advanced applied AI concepts and the foundational knowledge needed to understand them. You’ll complete a pair of terms containing courses, with your final term dedicated to a project or thesis that puts what you’ve learned into practice.
Key Benefits and Features
- The course is supplied by an institution with accreditation from the European Qualification Framework
- It’s a fully remote course that gives you control over how and when you learn
- Discounts and payment plans are available, as well as scholarship and funding options
- You come out of the course with a recognized postgraduate degree
Payment and Enrollment
Though the course usually costs €6,500, OPIT offers “early bird” discounts that allow you to enroll for €4,950, assuming you sign up early enough. Intakes are semi-regular, with the next one scheduled for October 2023 and international students get 90 credits under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) for successful completion.
Tips for Success in an Applied AI Course
As you can see, you have plenty of options for applied AI courses, from professional certifications designed to get you into a career quickly to full postgraduate degrees. Regardless of your choice, these tips will help you get your precious certification:
- Dedicate time for study – Time well managed is time well spent. Understand that you’ll need to dedicate self-learning time to get to grips with concepts you’re taught during classroom hours.
- Set clear goals – Going into an applied AI course with no sense of what you’re supposed to get out of that course leaves you directionless upon completion. Make sure you know exactly what you stand to gain before committing time (and money) to a course.
- Network often – Even online courses give you a chance to get involved in teamwork projects and speak to experienced industry professionals. Take those chances. The more connections you build during your studies, the more opportunities you’ll see coming out of the back end.
- Seek guidance – As attractive as the prospect of self-guided learning may be, we all need a helping hand from time to time. If a course provides direct access to tutors and professors, use it.
- Stay up to date – AI is a fast-moving field, with every change and advancement bringing new challenges and opportunities. Stay on top of what’s happening in the industry. You may just find that one course sets you up to be ready for those changes, while another may not.
Build Your Skills With an Applied AI Course
Whether you go down the full postgraduate degree route or you choose a professional qualification, an applied AI course is a route into one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. Simply put, we’re set for an AI explosion. Over the next decade, AI will permeate everything we do, from complex computing to simple office tasks, and you can use the right course to give yourself the skills you need to take advantage of that fact. Explore the options shared in this article, ask yourself what you want to achieve in your career, and make the educational choice that’s right for you.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.