In a world of Big Data, companies need people who have the ability to analyze and reach conclusions from the reams of data they collect about customers. But data science extends far beyond the corporate. Any industry that uses data (i.e., practically all of them) needs data-minded people who can use the latest AI-driven tools to help them scour large datasets.

That’s where you come in. As a potential data scientist, you’ll enter an industry that’s experiencing enormous growth to the point where it will be worth $103 billion (approx. €96.37 billion) by 2027. That market growth translates into demand for talented data scientists, which is already seen today as Coresignal’s data – 8,000 available job postings across eight leading positions in the first five months of 2022 alone – demonstrates.

So, the benefits of earning a free data science certification are obvious – you’re entering a growing industry with huge demand that leads to a better salary. But you need to know which courses will help you break into that industry. This article highlights four of the best free data science courses around.

Top Four Free Data Science Courses

As wonderful as the word “free” may be to budget-conscious students, you still need to know that you’re getting something of value from your data science course. The following options deliver a stellar educational experience and leave you with a qualification that employers recognize.

An Introduction to Data Science (Udemy)

Every journey starts with a first step, and it’s crucial that you take the first step into data science with a course that covers the basics and lays a foundation on which you can build. An Introduction to Data Science does just that by teaching you what data science is and how it applies to the modern world.

That teaching starts with a history lesson that shows how interactions with data (and data collection methods) have evolved over the years. From there, you’ll learn how data science applies in modern industry and discover the difference between actual valuable data and the oodles of “noise” that are in datasets.

It’s a quick and easy course, weighing in at 43 minutes spread across six video lectures, so you don’t have to make a huge time commitment. It’s delivered online by a Google Certified Python Expert named Kumar Rajmani Bapat and is ideal for getting the basics of data science down before you move on to a more intensive or focused course.

But the focus on the basics is also the biggest issue with this course. Rather than showing you the techniques a data scientist uses, the course focuses on what data science is and offers a roadmap for getting into the industry. It’s more about “what” than “how,” which may make the course too rudimentary for people who already have some knowledge of the subject. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t one of those free data science courses with certificate, as you’ll need to pay for an Udemy subscription to get your hands on a certificate of completion. You can still watch the videos and complete the course for free, though.

Introduction to Data Science (SkillUP)

With a similar name to the above Udemy course, you’d be forgiven for assuming that SkillUP’s Introduction to Data Science program teaches the same stuff. Though the course is aimed squarely at beginners, it takes a more in-depth approach that makes it the ideal follow-up to Udemy’s offering.

You start with the basic spiel about what data science is and how it applies to modern industry. But from there, the course tips into actual application by demonstrating some of the best Python programming libraries to use in the field. You’ll also dig deep into the algorithms used in data science, with linear regression analysis, confusion matrices, and logistic regression all getting some time to shine.

Given this higher focus on the skills you’ll need to learn to become a data scientist, the course is longer than Udemy’s offering. It clocks in at seven hours of videos and tutorials, all of which you access online and work through at your own pace. The course also expects you to have a solid grasp of math and programming (some experience with Python is a must) so this isn’t ideal for complete beginners to computer science.

This is a data science free online course with certificate, though there is a caveat. SkillUP only provides 90 days of free access to the course. If you feel it will take longer than that to get through the seven hours of tutorials, you’ll need to enroll in a paid subscription. The best approach here is to only start the course when you’re confident that you can block out the time needed to wrap it up within 90 days.

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate (Coursera)

Aimed squarely at the career-focused individual, IBM’s data science course is all about building the skills that set you on the right path to a career in the field. It takes a more practical approach, starting you off with the fundamentals before pushing you into a project where you’ll work with a real-world dataset and publish a report that’s analyzed by stakeholders simulating what you’ll experience in the working world.

The good news is that you don’t need to know anything about data science to get started with the course. It holds your hand as you learn the basics of what data science is (including what a data scientist actually does) and teaches you about the tools and programming languages you’ll use in the field. Once you have a grasp on the fundamentals, you’ll learn how to analyze and visualize data, in addition to creating machine learning models using Python, before wrapping up with the previously mentioned project.

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is a more intensive course than the others on this list. It’s essentially a mini degree, requiring you to invest 10 hours per week for five months into your learning. However, the course is provided entirely online, allowing you to schedule that learning time as you see fit. You’ll work through 10 modules as part of the certificate.

That time commitment may be a downside for those who can’t put 10 hours per week into a course, though that downside is outweighed heavily by the fact that you come out with an IBM certification. Having one of the leading names in computing on your certificate is enough to make any employer sit up and take notice.

Data Analysis With Python (freeCodeCamp)

The Python programming language (along with SQL and a few others) underpins almost everything that the modern data scientist does. Data Analysis with Python takes that concept and runs with it by providing a course that digs into using Python to read, analyze, and visualize data.

Along the way, you’ll learn about the basics of both Python and data analysis, though the real highlight comes from the many libraries and tools the course introduces. You’ll use Seaborn, Numpy, Mayplotlib, and Pandas during the course. All of which are libraries used by professionals to extract and visualize data. The course wraps up with a series of five projects, each testing a different set of skills learned via the modules, with your certification coming after you’ve completed all five.

This is one of those free data science courses that’s entirely self-paced and there are no time constraints or commitments involved. Once you’ve signed up for freeCodeCamp, you can save your progress through the course at any point and return whenever you’re ready. Theoretically, this means you could start the course, save your progress, and then return to it months later, though that isn’t recommended if you want to keep the information fresh in your mind. All told, the course contains 37 modules, plus the five projects required for certification, making it one of the most in-depth Python courses around.

The focus on Python is great for those who are unfamiliar with the language, though it also creates some issues. Namely, this isn’t the right course for those who don’t understand data science fundamentals. It jumps straight into analyzing datasets using Python, so those who don’t really understand what datasets are or how they apply to the modern world should start with a more beginner-oriented course.

Tips for Choosing the Right Data Science Course

You get the same benefit from all of the listed data science online courses – free entry. But each course offers something different. Use these tips to determine which is the right choice for you:

  • Assess your current skill level to pick a course that delivers what you need to know right now rather than a course that forces you to run before you can walk.
  • Determine your learning goals so you can see how the course fits into your roadmap for becoming a data scientist.
  • Consider the course’s format and duration as both will play a huge role in how you schedule your learning around your other commitments, be they work-related or personal.
  • Look for courses that offer hands-on project work once you’ve moved beyond learning the basics of data science.
  • Read reviews and testimonials from other students to see if people in your position get actual value from the course.

Start Your Journey With Free Data Science Courses Online

Every journey starts with a first step, and that first step could take you into a career that has massive potential for growth if you opt for the data science path. The four courses listed here each offer something different, from exploring the basics of what data science is to digging deep into the programming tools you’ll use to conduct data analysis and visualization. Completing one of the four sets you on the right path, though completing all four gives you a solid grounding (and a set of certifications) that make you immensely attractive to employers.

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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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