The term “big data” is self-explanatory: it’s a large collection of data. However, to be classified as “big,” data needs to meet specific criteria. Big data is huge in volume, gets even bigger over time, arrives with ever-higher velocity, and is so complex that no traditional tools can handle it.

Big data analytics is the (complex) process of analyzing these huge chunks of data to discover different information. The process is especially important for small companies that use the uncovered information to design marketing strategies, conduct market research, and follow the latest industry trends.

In this introduction to big data analytics, we’ll dig deep into big data and uncover ways to analyze it. We’ll also explore its (relatively short) history and evolution and present its advantages and drawbacks.


History and Evolution of Big Data

We’ll start this introduction to big data with a short history lesson. After all, we can’t fully answer the “what is big data?” question if we don’t know its origins.

Let’s turn on our time machine and go back to the 1960s. That’s when the first major change that marked the beginning of the big data era took place. The advanced development of data centers, databases, and innovative processing methods facilitated the rise of big data.

Relational databases (storing and offering access to interconnected data points) have become increasingly popular. While people had ways to store data much earlier, experts consider that this decade set the foundations for the development of big data.

The next major milestone was the emergence of the internet and the exponential growth of data. This incredible invention made handling and analyzing large chunks of information possible. As the internet developed, big data technologies and tools became more advanced.

This leads us to the final destination of short time travel: the development of big data analytics, i.e., processes that allow us to “digest” big data. Since we’re witnessing exceptional technological developments, the big data journey is yet to continue. We can only expect the industry to advance further and offer more options.

Big Data Technologies and Tools

What tools and technologies are used to decipher big data and offer value?

Data Storage and Management

Data storage and management tools are like virtual warehouses where you can pack up your big data safely and work with it as needed. These tools feature a powerful infrastructure that lets you access and fetch the desired information quickly and easily.

Data Processing and Analytics Framework

Processing and analyzing huge amounts of data are no walk in the park. But they can be, thanks to specific tools and technologies. These valuable allies can clean and transform large piles of information into data you can use to pursue your goals.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Platforms

Machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms “eat” big data and perform a wide array of functions based on the discoveries. These technologies can come in handy with testing hypotheses and making important decisions. Best of all, they require minimal human input; you can relax while AI works its magic.

Data Visualization Tools

Making sense of large amounts of data and presenting it to investors, stakeholders, and team members can feel like a nightmare. Fortunately, you can turn this nightmare into a dream come true with big data visualization tools. Thanks to the tools, creating stunning graphs, dashboards, charts, and tables and impressing your coworkers and superiors has never been easier.

Big Data Analytics Techniques and Methods

What techniques and methods are used in big data analytics? Let’s find the answer.

Descriptive Analytics

Descriptive analytics is like a magic wand that turns raw data into something people can read and understand. Whether you want to generate reports, present data on a company’s revenue, or analyze social media metrics, descriptive analytics is the way to go.

It’s mostly used for:

  • Data summarization and aggregation
  • Data visualization

Diagnostic Analytics

Have a problem and want to get detailed insight into it? Diagnostic analytics can help. It identifies the root of an issue, helping you figure out your next move.

Some methods used in diagnostic analytics are:

  • Data mining
  • Root cause analysis

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is like a psychic that looks into the future to predict different trends.

Predictive analytics often uses:

  • Regression analysis
  • Time series analysis

Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive analytics is an almighty problem-solver. It usually joins forces with descriptive and predictive analytics to offer an ideal solution to a particular problem.

Some methods prescriptive analytics uses are:

  • Optimization techniques
  • Simulation and modeling

Applications of Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics has found its home in many industries. It’s like the not-so-secret ingredient that can make the most of any niche and lead to desired results.

Business and Finance

How do business and finance benefit from big data analytics? These industries can flourish through better decision-making, investment planning, fraud detection and prevention, and customer segmentation and targeting.


Healthcare is another industry that benefits from big data analytics. In healthcare, big data is used to create patient databases, personal treatment plans, and electronic health records. This data also serves as an excellent foundation for accurate statistics about treatments, diseases, patient backgrounds, risk factors, etc.

Government and Public Sector

Big data analytics has an important role in government and the public sector. Analyzing different data improves efficiency in terms of costs, innovation, crime prediction and prevention, and workforce. Multiple government parts often need to work together to get the best results.

As technology advances, big data analytics has found another major use in the government and public sector: smart cities and infrastructure. With precise and thorough analysis, it’s possible to bring innovation and progress and implement the latest features and digital solutions.

Sports and Entertainment

Sports and entertainment are all about analyzing the past to predict the future and improve performance. Whether it’s analyzing players to create winning strategies or attracting the audience and freshening up the content, big data analytics is like a valuable player everyone wants on their team.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations in Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics represent doors to new worlds of information. But opening these doors often comes with certain challenges and ethical considerations.

Data Privacy and Security

One of the major challenges (and the reason some people aren’t fans of big data analytics) is data privacy and security. The mere fact that personal information can be used in big data analytics can make individuals feel exploited. Since data breaches and identity thefts are, unfortunately, becoming more common, it’s no surprise some people feel this way.

Fortunately, laws like GDPR and CCPA give individuals more control over the information others can collect from them.

Data Quality and Accuracy

Big data analytics can sometimes be a dead end. If the material wasn’t handled correctly, or the data was incomplete to start with, the results themselves won’t be adequate.

Algorithmic Bias and Fairness

Big data analytics is based on algorithms, which are designed by humans. Hence, it’s not unusual to assume that these algorithms can be biased (or unfair) due to human prejudices.

Ethical Use of Big Data Analytics

The ethical use of big data analytics concerns the “right” and “wrong” in terms of data usage. Can big data’s potential be exploited to the fullest without affecting people’s right to privacy?

Future Trends and Opportunities in Big Data Analytics

Although it has proven useful in many industries, big data analytics is still relatively young and unexplored.

Integration of Big Data Analytics With Emerging Technologies

It seems that new technologies appear in the blink of an eye. Our reality today (in a technological sense) looks much different than just two or three years ago. Big data analytics is now intertwined with emerging technologies that give it extra power, accuracy, and quality.

Cloud computing, advanced databases, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain are only some of the technologies that shape big data analytics and turn it into a powerful giant.

Advancements in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machines may not replace us (at least not yet), but it’s impossible to deny their potential in many industries, including big data analytics. Machine learning and artificial intelligence allow for analyzing huge amounts of data in a short timeframe.

Machines can “learn” from their own experience and use this knowledge to make more accurate predictions. They can pinpoint unique patterns in piles of information and estimate what will happen next.

New Applications and Industries Adopting Big Data Analytics

One of the best characteristics of big data analytics is its versatility and flexibility. Accordingly, many industries use big data analytics to improve their processes and achieve goals using reliable information.

Every day, big data analytics finds “new homes” in different branches and niches. From entertainment and medicine to gambling and architecture, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of big data and the insights it can offer.

These days, we recognize the rise of big data analytics in education (personalized learning) and agriculture (environmental monitoring).

Workforce Development and Education in Big Data Analytics

Analyzing big data is impossible without the workforce capable of “translating” the results and adopting emerging technologies. As big data analytics continues to develop, it’s vital not to forget about the cog in the wheel that holds everything together: trained personnel. As technology evolves, specialists need to continue their education (through training and certification programs) to stay current and reap the many benefits of big data analytics.

Turn Data to Your Advantage

Whatever industry you’re in, you probably have goals you want to achieve. Naturally, you want to achieve them as soon as possible and enjoy the best results. Instead of spending hours and hours going through piles of information, you can use big data analytics as a shortcut. Different types of big data technologies can help you improve efficiency, analyze risks, create targeted promotions, attract an audience, and, ultimately, increase revenue.

While big data offers many benefits, it’s also important to be aware of the potential risks, including privacy concerns and data quality.

Since the industry is changing (faster than many anticipated), you should stay informed and engaged if you want to enjoy its advantages.

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New OPIT Degrees launching (soon)!
Riccardo Ocleppo
Nov 29, 2023 2 min read


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:

  • Cybersecurity
  • 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!

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Five Reasons to Study Online at OPIT
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
Nov 29, 2023 9 min read

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.

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