Artificial intelligence (AI) permeates every aspect of modern society, with that effect only becoming more pronounced as we move deeper into the 21st century. That’s a statement supported by the Brookings Institute, which asserts that whoever rules AI by 2030 (be it a country or corporation) will rule the global roost until at least 2100.
The point is that AI is already everywhere, even if in limited capacities, and you need to be ready for an AI-centric world to unfold ahead of you in the future. The right AI courses ensure you’re ready, so let’s look at four that you can complete today.
What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
As humans, our brains give us the ability to learn and adapt to everything around us. For computers, AI achieves the same thing, equipping machines with the ability to take in datasets, learn from the data, and apply what it learns to real-world scenarios. There are many types of AI, with the following three being among the most prominent:
- Narrow AI – An AI system that’s dedicated to performing a single task, like a chatbot that delivers stock responses based on user queries. Think of these AI as the “manual labor” machines that exist to do the same thing over and over again.
- General AI – With general AI, we move closer to AI that has the same capacities to learn and apply that humans have. Multi-functional is the keyword here, as these AIs will be capable of completing multiple tasks at a human level.
- Superintelligent AI – Though not in existence yet, superintelligent AI is the pinnacle of AI research, or the peak on the Mount Everest of AI. In addition to bringing the multi-functional talents that humans have to the table, these AI will have an unlimited capacity for learning.
We’re nowhere near the superintelligent AI level yet (some even say that this type of AI will be more of a threat than a help to humanity), but we can see AI in so many industries already. Self-driving cars, automated stock checkers, and even email spam filters are all examples of narrow AI in action, with each having specific functions. As the technology evolves, and it’s already doing so at a rapid pace, we’ll see more multi-function AI come to the fore.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an AI Course
When choosing a course, the key question is always what is artificial intelligence course criteria that actually matters? Here are five things to look for in an artificial intelligence course:
- Quality course content – In this context, “quality” doesn’t solely mean “good” (though that’s a part of it). Your course also needs to deliver an educational experience that furthers whatever goals you’ve set for yourself in your career.
- Course flexibility – Some people can commit themselves fully to an AI course. Others need to fit their learning around work, family, and other commitments. Figure out which category you slot into and search for courses that offer the flexibility (or lack thereof) that you need.
- Instructor expertise – Good instructors bring a combination of theoretical mastery and industry experience to their courses. That’s why the best AI courses are usually created, and run, by people who currently work in the field.
- Course reviews and ratings – Online reviews and ratings are the modern “word of mouth,” with global courses benefitting (or otherwise) from what their students have to say online. A few minutes of research can tell you if other students consider your chosen course to be a dud or an AI masterclass.
- Pricing – As attractive as a full Master’s degree may be, the five-figure pricing may feel prohibitive. Other courses, such as a short-term artificial intelligence online course, may offer snippets of what you need to know at a much lower price. Balance your needs against your budget to make your choice.
Top AI Online Courses
There is no such thing as the “best” artificial intelligence course because every course offers something different that may or may not align with your needs. But these four run the gamut, from full-blown Master’s degrees (with accreditation) to crash courses designed to get you up to speed as fast as possible.
Course 1 – CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence With Python (Harvard)
There are few educational institutions as prestigious as Harvard University, and its CS50 course is perfect for those who already have a grasp of the Python programming language. Offered completely online, it’s a self-paced course that comes with a verified certificate (assuming you’re willing to pay an extra $199/€180).
Key Topics Covered
- Reinforcement learning as it applies to machine learning
- The core principles of artificial intelligence
- Creating Python programs that use AI
- An in-depth study into graph search algorithms
Course Duration and Pricing
Harvard advertises the course as a seven-week-long self-paced online program and recommends between 10 and 30 hours of study per week. How much time you actually spend on your studies depends on how quickly you pick up the concepts. It’s free to enroll (though a certificate costs money, as mentioned) and enrollment is open between May and December of each year.
Course 2 – Expand Your Knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (Udacity)
Marketed as a “nanodegree” program, which basically means it packs a lot of information into a short timeframe. Expand Your Knowledge gives you access to a digital classroom. It comes with some prerequisites, such as an understanding of Python and statistics, but it’s a course designed for those taking their first steps into applied AI.
Key Topics Covered
- Foundational AI algorithms that power things like NASA’s Mars Rover
- An introduction to AI concepts using Python as your base programming language
- Classical graph search algorithms
- Project reviews and feedback from over 1,400 people in the AI field
Course Duration and Pricing
This is a three-month course, with estimated study hours of between 12 and 15 per week, making it ideal for part-time learners who want to grasp the fundamentals of AI. Pricing is flexible, too. You can subscribe to the monthly version of the course via Udacity at a cost of £329 (approx. €377) per month or buy the whole thing upfront for £837 (approx. €959).
Course 3 – Master in Applied Data Science & AI (OPIT)
Those who’ve already completed a Bachelor’s degree in a computing or statistical subject may want to continue their full-time studies. OPIT’s Master’s program offers that opportunity, with its 100% online course being supported by experienced tutors who are available literally whenever you need them. The course contains both live and prerecorded content and the degree you receive carries European Qualification Framework accreditation.
Key Topics Covered
- Real-life business problems (and solutions) that use both AI and data science
- Python programming in the context of AI and data science
- Business-related topics, such as the ethics surrounding AI usage and project management
- Applied machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques
Course Duration and Pricing
OPIT’s Master’s program is a full-time postgraduate course. The regular version takes 18 months of self-timed study to complete. A fast-track version is available, lasting for 12 months, for those who want a more intensive educational experience. The cost varies depending on when you enroll. Intakes occur in October of each year, with early birds paying a discounted price of €4,950, to save almost €1,500 on the usual €6,500 price.
Course 4 – AI Engineering Professional Certificate (IBM via Coursera)
For those looking for direct tutelage from professionals who already work in the AI field, IBM’s offering is one of the best AI courses online. It’s also ideal for beginners, with no experience in computing needed and a flexible schedule allows you to learn as and how you want. Those studying for formal degrees aren’t left out. The certificate you earn through this course counts toward your degree credit.
Key Topics Covered
- The foundations of machine learning and neural networks
- Machine learning algorithm deployment
- Neural network development using PyTorch, Keras, and TensorFlow
- Implementation of both supervised and unsupervised machine learning models
Course Duration and Pricing
Flexibility is the name of the game with this course. It lasts for eight months, with three hours of learning per week, though fast and full-time learners may be able to complete it much quicker. Enrollment begins in May of each year, and the first seven days of the course act as a free trial so you can get a taste of what it has to offer. It’s also fairly cheap, with the course costing around €125 if you go for the full eight-month option.
Benefits of Taking AI Courses
There’s no use looking for the best artificial intelligence course if you don’t understand how that course will help you in the future. These are four benefits of studying AI:
- Develop a skillset that will not only be important as we move toward an AI-driven future, but will serve as a foundation for the skills you’ll need to develop as AI evolves.
- Combine theoretical and practical knowledge of AI to make your CV sparkle when it’s in front of employers.
- Create the problem-solving skills that are essential in the tech industry, with those skills often being transferable to other sectors.
- Follow whatever path you want in the constantly branching AI field.
Take Your Next Career Step With an Artificial Intelligence Online Course
Each of the four courses highlighted here offers something different. Some are short-term introductory courses while others allow full-time students to continue in-depth formal education. Whichever you choose serves as an investment into your future. AI is already causing ripples in the industrial ocean, and those ripples will grow into a tidal wave of opportunity for those who are prepared for the explosive growth of the industry. By investing in yourself today, through education and career foresight, you set yourself up for an amazing future tomorrow.
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.