You may have heard the catchy phrase “data is the new oil” floating around. The implication is that data in the 21st century is what oil was in the 20th – the biggest industry around. And it’s true, as the sheer amount of data each person generates when they use the web, try out an app, or even buy from a store is digital “oil” for the companies collecting that data.
It’s also the fuel that powers the current (and growing) wave of artificial intelligence (AI) tools emerging in the market. From ChatGPT to the wave of text-to-speech tech flooding the market, everything hinges on information, and people who can harness that data through algorithms and machine learning practices are in high demand.
That’s where you can come in. By taking a Master’s degree in artificial intelligence online, you position yourself as one of the people who can help the new “digital oil” barons capitalize on their finds.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online AI Master’s Program
When choosing an artificial intelligence online Master’s, you have to consider more than the simple accessibility the course offers. These factors help you to weed out the also-ran programs from the ones that help you to advance your career:
- Accreditation – Checks for accreditation come in two flavors. First, you need to check the program provider’s credentials to ensure the degree you get from your studies is worth the paper on which it’s printed. Second, you have to confirm the accreditation you receive is something that employers actually want to see.
- Curriculum – What does your artificial intelligence online Master degree actually teach you? Answer that question and you can determine if the program serves the career goals you’ve set for yourself.
- Faculty Expertise – On the ground level, you want tutors with plenty of teaching experience and their own degrees in AI-related subjects. But dig beyond that to also discover if they have direct experience working with AI in industry.
- Program Format – A self-study artificial intelligence Master’s program’s online nature means they offer some degree of flexibility. But the course format plays a role in your decision, given that some rely solely on self-learning whereas others include examinations and live remote lectures.
- Tuition and Financial Aid – A Master’s degree costs quite a bit depending on area (prices range from €1,000 to €20,000 per year), so you need to be in the appropriate financial position. Many universities offer financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and payment programs, that may help here.
- Career Support – You’re likely not studying for Master of artificial intelligence online for the joy of having a piece of paper on your wall. You want to build a career. Look for institutions that have strong alumni networks, connections within industry, and dedicated careers offices or services.
Top Online AI Master’s Programs Ranked
In choosing the best Master’s in artificial intelligence online programs, we looked at the above factors in addition to the key features of each program. That examination results in three online courses, each offering something a little different, that give you a solid grounding in AI.
Master in Applied Data Science & AI (OPIT)
Flexibility is the name of the game with OPIT’s program, as it’s fully remote and you get a choice between an 18-month course and a fast-tracked 12-month variant. The latter contains the same content as the former, with the student simply dedicating themselves to more intensive course requirements.
The program comes from an online institution that is accredited under both the Malta Qualification Framework and European Qualification Framework. As for the course itself, it’s the focus on real-life challenges in data science and AI that makes it so attractive. You don’t just learn theory. You discover how to apply that theory to the practical problems you’ll face when you enter the workforce.
OPIT has an admissions team who’ll guide you through getting onto the course, though you’ll need a BSc degree (in any field) and the equivalent of B2-level English proficiency to apply. If English isn’t your strong suit, OPIT also offers an in-house certification that you can take to get on the course. Financial aid is available through scholarships and funding, which you may need given that the program can cost up to €6,500, though discounts are available for those who apply early.
Master in Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Disruptive Technologies (Digital Age University)
If data is the new oil, Digital Age University’s program teaches you how to harness that oil and pump it in a way that makes you an attractive proposition for any employer. Key areas of study include the concept and utilization of Big Data (data analytics plays a huge role here), as well as the Python programming skills needed to create AI tools. You’ll learn more about machine learning models and get to grips with how AI is the big disruptor in modern business.
Tuition costs are reasonable, too, with this one-year course only costing €2,600. Digital Age University runs a tuition installment plan that lets you spread your costs out without worrying about being charged interest. Plus, your previous credentials may put you in line for a grant or scholarship that covers at least part of the cost. All first-year students are eligible for the 10% merit-based scholarship again, dependent on prior education). There’s also a 20% Global Scholarship available to students from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin American countries.
Speaking of credentials, you can showcase yours via the online application process or by scheduling a one-on-one call with one of the institution’s professors. The latter option is great if you’re conducting research and want to get a taste of what the faculty has to offer.
Master in Artificial Intelligence (Three Points Digital Business School)
Three Points Digital Business School sets its stall out early by pointing out that 83% of companies say they’ll create new jobs due to AI in the coming years. That’s its way of telling you that its business-focused AI course is the right choice for getting one of those jobs. After teaching the fundamentals of AI, the course moves into showing you how to create AI and machine learning models and, crucially, how to apply those models in practical settings. By the end, you’ll know how to program chatbots, virtual assistants, and similar AI-driven tools.
It’s the most expensive program on this list, clocking in at €7,500 for a one-year course that delivers 60 ECTS credits. However, it’s a course targeted at mature students (half of the current students are 40 years old), and it’s very much career-minded. That’s exemplified by Three Points’ annual ThinkDigital Summit, which puts some of the leading minds in AI and digital innovation in front of students.
Admission is tougher than for many other Master’s in artificial intelligence online programs as you go through an interview process in addition to submitting qualifications. Every candidate is manually assessed via committee, with your experience and business know-how playing as much of a role as any technical qualifications you have.
Tips for Success in an Online AI Master’s Program
Let’s assume you’ve successfully applied to an artificial intelligence online Master’s program. That’s the first step in a long, often complex, journey. Here are some tips to keep in mind and set up for the future:
- Manage your time properly by scheduling your study, especially given that online courses rely on students having the discipline needed for self-learning.
- Build relationships with faculty and peers who may be able to connect you to job opportunities or have ideas for starting their own businesses.
- Stay up-to-date on what’s happening with AI because this high-paced industry can leave people who assume what they know is enough behind.
- Pursue real-world experience wherever you can, both through the practical assessments a program offers and internship programs that you can add to your CV.
Career Opportunities With a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence
You need to know what sorts of roles are available on the digital “oil rigs” of today and the future. Those who have an artificial intelligence online Master degree take roles as varied as data analyst, software engineer, data scientist, and research scientist.
Better yet, those roles are spread across almost all industries. Grand View Research tells us that we can expect the AI market to enjoy a 37.3% compound annual growth rate between 2023 and 2030, with that growth making AI-based roles available on a near-constant basis. Salary expectations are likely to increase along with that growth, with the current average of around €91,000 for an artificial intelligence engineer (figures based on Germany’s job market) likely to be a baseline for future growth.
Find the Right Artificial Intelligence Master’s Programs Online
We’ve highlighted three online Master’s programs with a focus on AI in this article, each offering something different. OPIT’s course leans heavily into data science, giving you a specialization to go along with the foundational knowledge you’ll gain. Digital Age University’s program places more of a focus on Big Data, with Three Points Digital Business School living up to its name by taking a more business-oriented approach.
Whatever program you choose (and it could be one other than the three listed here), you must research the course based on the factors like credentials, course content, and quality of the faculty. Put plenty of time into this research process and you’re sure to find a program that aligns with your goals.
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.