If a theoretical data scientist is somebody who’s mastered the art of extracting and analyzing large datasets, an applied data scientist is someone who can put that mastery into real-world practice. They’re insight specialists. And those insights come using techniques like machine learning and data mining to parse through extensive datasets to find patterns and outcomes.

As a prospective Master of applied data science, you may wonder if this career path is the right choice for you. It is, as long as you want to be part of a growing industry. According to Precedence Research, the data science industry is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.43% between 2022 and 2030. That CAGR translates into growth from $112.2 billion in value (approx. €103 billion) to $378.7 billion (approx. €349 billion).

That growth alone demonstrates why getting an applied data science MSc could be valuable to your career prospect. Let’s look at three of the top courses on offer to European and international students.

Top MSc Programs in Applied Data Science – Our Criteria

Before digging into the best Master applied data science programs, it’s important to establish the criteria we’ve used to make our selections. The following five factors play a role:

  • Reputation and ranking – While overall university rankings denote the quality of an establishment, we’re more interested in the reputation the specific course has in the industry.
  • Curriculum and Sspecialization – What will you study and how will the topics you delve into lead to further specialization? We aim to answer both questions for our selections.
  • Faculty expertise – When analyzing faculty expertise, we’re looking for a combination of experienced educators and mentors with real-world experience in data science work.
  • Industry connections and partnerships – You want to use your MSc in applied data science to find work. A university that has strong connections to industry leaders (either through faculty or partnerships) can propel you forward in your career.
  • Career support and alumni network – Speaking of connections, a good alumni network exposes you to peers who can help your career. Combine that with in-house career support from the university, and you get a course that offers more than a basic education.

Top MSc Programs Explored

After applying the above criteria, we’ve come up with a list of three Master of applied data science programs to pique your interest.

Program 1 – Master in Applied Data Science & AI (Open Institute of Technology)

Available as a fully online course for those who value self-learning, the Open Institute of Technology’s (OPIT’s) program lasts for 18 months with costs starting from €4,950. There’s also a fast-track option available for those who can commit to more extensive studies, with that program offering the same degree in just 12 months.

The educational aspect of the course is divided across two terms. In the first term, you’ll focus primarily on principles and techniques in areas such as Python programming, machine learning, and how to use data science to solve business problems. The second term gets more practical as you start to focus on applications of data science (and AI) in the real world before digging into the ethics behind your work.

As for credentials, OPIT is an accredited institution under the European Qualification Framework and its MSc was created by Professor Lorenzo Livi. Serving as program head, Livi brings the expertise he’s developed through teaching and research at both the University of Exeter and the University of Manitoba to the program.

It’s this focus on attracting international faculty that’s the most attractive part of the course. Beyond Livi, the faculty includes professors from institutions as diverse as the University of California, University of Copenhagen, Microsoft, and the Naval Research Laboratory. This mix of academic excellence and professors with real-world experience can lead you to exciting career opportunities and connections.

Program 2 – Master of Science in Data Science (ETH Zurich)

Ranked as the ninth-best computer science university in the world by Research.com, ETH Zurich has a program that stands out thanks to its Data Science Laboratory. This dedicated facility allows students to utilize their theoretical knowledge on simulated practical problems. Process modeling and data validation get put into practice in this lab, all under the oversight of an experienced mentor.

Speaking of faculty, several members of ETH Zurich specialize in teaching data science in relation to the medical field. Both Gunnar Rätsch, a full professor at the university, and Julia Vogt, an assistant professor can directly aid students who wish to apply their data science expertise to medicine.

Career support comes in the form of a dedicated Career Center, which serves as a central hub for students and the companies with which the university partners. ETH encourages partnership through industry events, such as its Industry Day, which encourage local and national businesses to meet with and discuss the work of its students. These events may prove vital to starting your data science career before you’ve even completed your Master of applied data science.

Coming back to the program, it’s a two-year full-time course through which you’ll earn 120 credits per the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Prospective students need to have at least 180 ECTS credits from a relevant Bachelor’s degree, such as a BSc in computer science or mathematics. The program costs CHF 730 (approx. €749) per semester, with the option to make voluntary contributions to things like the university’s student union and its Solidarity Fund for Foreign Students.

Program 3 – MSc Data Science (IU International University of Applied Science)

Our final program takes us to Germany and one of the most flexible applied data science MSc programs in Europe. Offered in conjunction with London South Bank University, this program results in graduation with a dual degree with both German and British accreditation. You have a choice between taking the two-year program for €556 per month or a pair of part-time programs. The first of the part-time options lasts for 36 months, costing €417 per month, with the second being a 48-month course costing €329 per month.

The course itself focuses primarily on current developments in the data sector, with modules on Big Data, infrastructure engineering, and software development included. The first semester introduces you to machine learning and deep learning concepts, in addition to offering a model engineering case study so you can get your feet wet with applied data science. The second semester makes room for specialization, as you choose an elective that may focus on Big Data, autonomous driving, or smart manufacturing methods.

Faculty members include Professor Thomas Zoller, who oversees the university’s BSc in data science program in addition to contributing to its Master’s program. His expertise lies in machine learning in the context of image processing, in addition to the use of AI and advanced analytics in digital transformation.

As you move closer to wanting to start your career, IU International’s Career Office comes into play. It holds weekly group career talks, both online and on-campus, in addition to daily slots for one-to-one chats with advisors over Zoom or email. You also get access to the university’s Jobteaser platform, which puts you in direct contact with potential recruiters.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Applied Data Science MSc

The three programs highlighted above each offer a combination of a stellar education and industry connections that help you to get your data science career started. But if you want to do further research into applied data science MSc programs, these are the factors to consider.

Your Personal Goals

Though it may seem obvious to state, your personal goals play a huge role in your decision. For example, somebody who wishes to work in the medical field may favor ETH Zurich’s offering due to the expertise of its faculty, whereas that course may not be the best choice for those interested in finance. Think about what you want to achieve and which program aligns with those goals.

Program Cost

A Master of applied data science doesn’t come cheap. Most courses cost several thousand euros, though you’ll often find that online courses are more manageable from a cost perspective. Consider the program cost and research financial aid options, such as those highlighted on the EURAXESS portal, when making your choice.

Program Format

A full-time MSc in applied data science may be great for a young student with no other commitments. But it won’t work so well when you’re trying to fit your education around work, life, and your family. Think about the time commitment the program asks of you. Many find that a part-time or self-learning-driven online course is easier to fit around their schedules than a full-time on-campus program.

Location and Campus Facilities

If you opt for an online course then location isn’t an issue – you can study from home. But those studying on-campus have to consider the location (is the university situated in a business hub, for example) and the facilities offered on-site to help them further their data science careers.

Networking Opportunities

Networking opportunities can come in many forms in a Master of applied data science program. Faculty is the obvious source of connections, with many educators having worked (or still working) directly in the industry, but don’t underestimate the connective powers of your peers. Furthermore, take advantage of any career support facilities your university offers to get yourself in front of prospective employers.

Get Your MSc in Applied Data Science

Think of choosing an applied data science MSc in the same way you’d think about making an investment. You want that investment (both in time and money) to offer a suitable return. The three programs listed here offer superb qualifications and give you the real-world experience needed to forge a career in the applied data science sector. Choose the program that suits your needs, or, use the advice provided to research other programs that are closer to home or more in line with your career goals.

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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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