For decades, we have used computers to make important decisions in every arena, from business down to our personal lives. Artificial intelligence is the next evolution in computer-based decision-making. Combined with data science, which is the art of processing, extracting, and analyzing data, AI stands to hold a huge influence over our future.
You stand at the cusp of that technological wave. By completing an artificial intelligence and data science course, you develop dual capabilities that put you in the perfect position to enjoy a superb career.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an AI and Data Science Course
You need to know what you’re letting yourself in for before choosing a data science and artificial intelligence course. After all, the course you choose (and its quality) will impact your career prospects. Consider these six factors when making your choice.
1 – Course Content
Both data science and AI are expansive fields that contain a lot of categories and specializations. So, the question you need to ask is does the course cover what I need to know to get the job I want? If it doesn’t, you end up dedicating months (or even years) of your life to a course that brings you no closer to your goals.
2 – Course Duration and Flexibility
Not every student has the luxury of being able to commit full-time to an AI and data science course. Some have work, families, and other commitments to maintain. Ideally, your course should be of an appropriate length for your needs, in addition to offering the flexibility you need to fit your studies around the rest of your life.
3 – Instructor Expertise and Experience
Though data science has been around for decades, AI is still a somewhat nascent field, at least in terms of its modern form. You want to see that your course is created and overseen by people who know what they’re talking about. Do they have direct industry experience? Are their qualifications up to standard? What does your instructor have that makes taking their AI and data science course worthwhile?
4 – Course Fees and Return on Investment
A career in data science is usually strong enough to offer a good return on investment, with European data scientists pulling in an average of €60,815 per year. Throw AI into the mix and you have extra skills that could easily lead you toward six figures. Still, the cost of the course plays a role in your decision, with some courses costing five figures themselves.
5 – Online vs. Offline Courses
Picking between online and offline courses is like playing an arcade game with a guaranteed prize – there’s no way to lose. Your only consideration is what works best for you. Offline courses are great for self-motivated learners who need flexibility. Online courses put you in a classroom environment so you have direct contact with instructors and peers.
6 – Certification and Accreditation
When you finally start applying for jobs, the first thing your potential employer will ask is “Where did this person study their artificial intelligence and data science course?” The answer to that question will impact their decision, meaning your course provider needs to have a solid enough reputation to make their certifications and accreditations worth having.
Top AI and Data Science Courses
There is a metaphorical river of courses, both online and off, that can teach you about artificial intelligence and data science. Here are four of the best.
Course 1 – AI For Business Specialization (University of Pennsylvania via Coursera)
AI, Big Data, and the core concepts behind machine learning combine to create this AI and data science course. Beyond teaching you how to apply these computing concepts in a business setting, AI For Business Specialization digs into the ethics of applying AI fairly inside a business and how these evolving technologies will affect the people you work with, for, and manage.
- Direct exposure to industry-hardened professionals who apply the skills you’re learning
- Includes peer-reviewed assessments designed to test your knowledge
- A 100% online course that offers complete flexibility in how you schedule your learning
- No experience in data science or AI required to get started
Pros and Cons
For somebody new to the concepts of AI and data science, this is the perfect course because it starts you out at the beginner level and builds you up from there. It’s flexible, too, with the course providers recommending two hours of learning per week to complete the four-month course. However, the course carries no university credit, so those using it to supplement their existing studies have to make do with the certificate and nothing more.
Course 2 – Machine Learning (Udacity)
Those looking for a budget-conscious artificial intelligence and data science course can rely on Udacity to provide its Machine Learning course at no charge. You’ll need a solid understanding of concepts like linear algebra and probability theory, making this course unsuitable for beginners. But assuming you come prepared, you’ll learn about the main approaches in machine learning (supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning) in a self-paced online environment.
- Takes approximately four months to complete, though you can finish at your own pace
- Created and taught by industry experts
- Ideal for building foundational knowledge for future courses related to data science and AI
- Teaches multiple approaches to machine learning
Pros and Cons
The price is certainly right with this course, as you’re getting something very useful at no cost. It’s also an online version of class CS7641, which is taught at Georgia Tech, so the course has real-world credentials behind it. Sadly, its college-based origins don’t mean that you’ll get college credit with the course. It’s also pretty limited to specific forms of machine learning, making it great as an introduction to basic concepts but perhaps not as useful to people who already have some understanding of data science and AI.
Course 3 – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) (IBM via Coursera)
Quick, intense, and practical are just some of the words we can use to describe this data science and artificial intelligence course. IBM’s experts are clearly masters in the field (they wouldn’t be working for IBM if they weren’t) and they’ve distilled some of the best of their knowledge into this nine-hour completely online course. You’ll learn about the applications of AI in real-world scenarios, start getting to grips with concepts like machine learning and neural networks, and receive direct career advice from your instructors.
- Offered by a Fortune 50 company that specializes in AI and data science
- Free enrollment for a self-paced course
- You get direct career advice from people who work in the field
- The course offers a shareable online certificate that looks great on your LinkedIn profile
Pros and Cons
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first – this is an AI and data science course for those who want to learn the fundamentals before building their knowledge in other ways. But it’s the connections that come with the course that make this such a strong contender. Having people from IBM, who already work in the field that interests you, to advise you is great for people who need a route into AI and data science.
Course 4 – Master in Applied Data Science & AI (OPIT)
A Master’s degree allows you to dig deeper into the concepts of AI and data science, with OPIT’s degree being perfect for those in the postgraduate phase who’ve balked at the cost of similar programs. This AI and data science course requires an extensive time investment of between 12 and 18 months, though it’s fully online so you can learn at your own pace. It also counts toward college credits, offering 90 ECTS upon completion.
- Completely online so it offers flexibility in terms of how and where you learn
- Provided by an EU-accredited institution to ensure the certification you receive is actually useful
- You get 24/7 access to tutors who can advise you when you’re stuck
- Progressive assessments are favored over “final exams” and other high-pressure tests
Pros and Cons
This artificial intelligence and data science course is the most expensive on the list, clocking in at €6,500 (or €4,950 for early birds). It also requires a BSc in an appropriate field, such as computer science, to start studying. But that investment in both time and money leads you to a course that has full accreditation under the European Qualification Framework and gives you a well-rounded set of skills that set you up for C-Suite positions in your future career.
Tips for Success in AI and Data Science Courses
An AI and data science course could offer the best tutelage in the world but it won’t mean a thing if you’re not applying yourself as a student. These quick tips help you take what you learn further:
- Set clear goals for what you hope to achieve, both within the course and after completion, so you always have a path to follow.
- Don’t take “this course requires x number of hours per week” as given. Practice and set time to study whenever you can to build on your knowledge.
- As valuable as your peers and instructors may be, they’re not the only resources available to you. Engage with online communities and forums to stay up to date on trends in AI and data science.
- Some courses offer direct examples of how what you learn applies to the real world. Others don’t, so you have to seek out (and apply) your learning to real projects yourself.
- Think about what AI looked like five years ago compared to today. This is a continuously evolving field (the same goes for data science), so continued learning is a must once you’ve completed your course.
Combine AI and Data Sciences for Career Advancement
Earlier, we stated that data scientists earn an average of €60,815 per year in Europe. That’s a starting point. Mastery in the fields of AI and data science (which starts with an artificial intelligence and data science course) puts you in a position to work at the C-Suite level in many of today’s businesses. Investing in yourself now, when these fields are still in their growth phase, puts you in the perfect position to take advantage as we see both fields enjoy explosive growth in the future.
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.