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.

Key Features

  • 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.

Key Features

  • 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.

Key Features

  • 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.

Key Features

  • 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.

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Il Sole 24 Ore: 100 thousand IT professionals missing
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
May 14, 2024 6 min read

Written on April 24th 2024

Source here: Il Sole 24 Ore (full article in Italian)

Open Institute of Technology: 100 thousand IT professionals missing

Eurostat data processed and disseminated by OPIT. Stem disciplines: the share of graduates in Italy between the ages of 20 and 29 is 18.3%, compared to the European 21.9%

Today, only 29% of young Italians between 25 and 34 have a degree. Not only that: compared to other European countries, the comparison is unequal given that the average in the Old Continent is 46%, bringing Italy to the penultimate place in this ranking, ahead only of Romania. The gap is evident even if the comparison is limited to STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) where the share of graduates in Italy between the ages of 20 and 29 is 18.3%, compared to the European 21.9%, with peaks of virtuosity which in the case of France that reaches 29.2%. Added to this is the continuing problem of the mismatch between job supply and demand, so much so that 62.8% of companies struggle to find professionals in the technological and IT fields.

The data

The Eurostat data was processed and disseminated by OPIT – Open Institute of Technology. an academic institution accredited at European level, active in the university level education market with online Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the technological and digital fields. We are therefore witnessing a phenomenon with worrying implications on the future of the job market in Italy and on the potential loss of competitiveness of our companies at a global level, especially if inserted in a context in which the macroeconomic scenario in the coming years will undergo a profound discontinuity linked to the arrival of “exponential” technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics, but also to the growing threats related to cybersecurity.

Requirements and updates

According to European House Ambrosetti, over 2,000,000 professionals will have to update their skills in the Digital and IT area by 2026, also to take advantage of the current 100,000 vacant IT positions, as estimated by Frank Recruitment Group. But not only that: the Italian context, which is unfavorable for providing the job market with graduates and skills, also has its roots in the chronic birth rate that characterizes our country: according to ISTAT data, in recent years the number of newborns has fallen by 28%, bringing Italy’s birth rate to 1.24, among the lowest in Europe, where the average is 1.46.

Profumo: “Structural deficiency”

“The chronic problem of the absence of IT professionals is structural and of a dual nature: on one hand the number of newborns – therefore, potential “professionals of the future” – is constantly decreasing; on the other hand, the percentage of young people who acquires degrees are firmly among the lowest in Europe”, declared Francesco Profumo, former Minister of Education and rector of OPIT – Open Institute of Technology. “The reasons are varied: from the cost of education (especially if undertaken off-site), to a university offering that is poorly aligned with changes in society, to a lack of awareness and orientation towards STEM subjects, which guarantee the highest employment rates. Change necessarily involves strong investments in the university system (and, in general, in the education system) at the level of the country, starting from the awareness that a functioning education system is the main driver of growth and development in the medium to long term. It is a debated and discussed topic on which, however, a clear and ambitious position is never taken.”

Stagnant context and educational offer

In this stagnant context, the educational offer that comes from online universities increasingly meets the needs of flexibility, quality and cost of recently graduated students, university students looking for specialization and workers interested in updating themselves with innovative skills. According to data from the Ministry of University and Research, enrollments in accredited online universities in Italy have grown by over 141 thousand units in ten years (since 2011), equal to 293.9%. Added to these are the academic institutions accredited at European level, such as OPIT, whose educational offering is overall capable of opening the doors to hundreds of thousands of students, with affordable costs and extremely innovative and updated degree paths.

Analyzing the figures

An analysis of Eurostat statistics relating to the year 2021 highlights that 27% of Europeans aged between 16 and 74 have attended an entirely digital course. The highest share is recorded in Ireland (46%), Finland and Sweden (45%) and the Netherlands (44%). The lowest in Romania (10%), Bulgaria (12%) and Croatia (18%). Italy is at 20%. “With OPIT” – adds Riccardo Ocleppo, founder and director – “we have created a new model of online academic institution, oriented towards new technologies, with innovative programs, a strong practical focus, and an international approach, with professors and students from 38 countries around the world, and teaching in English. We intend to train Italian students not only on current and updated skills, but to prepare them for an increasingly dynamic and global job market. Our young people must be able to face the challenges of the future like those who study at Stanford or Oxford: with solid skills, but also with relational and attitudinal skills that lead them to create global companies and startups or work in multinationals like their international colleagues. The increasing online teaching offer, if well structured and with quality, represents an incredible form of democratization of education, making it accessible at low costs and with methods that adapt to the flexibility needs of many working students.”

Point of reference

With two degrees already starting in September 2023 – a three-year degree (BSc) in Modern Computer Science and a specialization (MSc) in Applied Data Science & AI – and 4 starting in September 2024: a three-year degree (BSc) in Digital Business, and the specializations (MSc) in Enterprise Cybersecurity, Applied Digital Business and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI), OPIT is an academic institution of reference for those who intend to respond to the demands of a job market increasingly oriented towards the field of artificial intelligence. Added to this are a high-profile international teaching staff and an exclusively online educational offer focused on the technological and digital fields.

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Times of India: The 600,000 IT job shortage in India and how to solve it
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
May 2, 2024 3 min read

Written on April 25th 2024

Source here: Times of India 

The job market has never been a straightforward path. Ask anyone who has ever looked for a job, certainly within the last decade, and they can tell you as much. But with the rapid development of AI and machine learning, concerns are growing for people about their career options, with a report from Randstad finding that 7 in 10 people in India are concerned about their job being eliminated by AI.

 Employers have their own share of concerns. According to The World Economic Forum, 97 million new AI-related jobs will be created by 2025 and the share of jobs requiring AI skills will increase by 58%. The IT industry in India is experiencing a tremendous surge in demand for skilled professionals on disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, cybersecurity and, according to Nasscom, this is leading to a shortage of 600,000 profiles.

 So how do we fill those gaps? Can we democratize access to top-tier higher education in technology?

These are the questions that Riccardo Ocleppo, the engineer who founded a hugely successful ed-tech platform connecting international students with global Universities, Docsity, asked himself for years. Until he took action and launched the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT), together with the Former Minister of Education of Italy, Prof. Francesco Profumo, to help people take control of their future careers.

OPIT offers BSc and MSc degrees in Computer Science, AI, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and Digital Business, attracting students from over 38 countries worldwide. Through innovative learning experiences and affordable tuition fees starting at €4,050 per year, OPIT empowers students to pursue their educational goals without the financial and personal burden of relocating.

The curriculum, delivered through a mix of live and pre-recorded lectures, equips students with the latest technology skills, as well as business and strategic acumen necessary for careers in their chosen fields. Moreover, OPIT’s EU-accredited degrees enable graduates to pursue employment opportunities in Europe, with recognition by WES facilitating transferability to the US and Canada.

OPIT’s commitment to student success extends beyond academics, with a full-fledged career services department led by Mike McCulloch. Remote students benefit from OPIT’s “digital campus,” fostering connections through vibrant discussion forums, online events, and networking opportunities with leading experts and professors.

Faculty at OPIT, hailing from prestigious institutions and industry giants like Amazon and Microsoft, bring a wealth of academic and practical experience to the table. With a hands-on, practical teaching approach, OPIT prepares students for the dynamic challenges of the modern job market.

In conclusion, OPIT stands as a beacon of hope for individuals seeking to future-proof their careers in technology. By democratizing access to high-quality education and fostering a global learning community, OPIT empowers students to seize control of their futures and thrive in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

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