Anybody who’s ever given ChatGPT or a similar AI-powered software a whirl has seen machine learning in action. Today, we’re on the cusp of a computational revolution as computer systems are being taught to do more than simply follow processes. They can learn just like humans though they can only do so using algorithms and models designed to show them what to learn and how to draw conclusions.
Those who can master machines, or more accurately, the concepts of building digital brains for machines, stand to enjoy long and lucrative careers. Glassdoor tells us that the average machine learning engineer picks up €70,318 in Germany alone, with senior-level engineers picking up close to €90,000. But to get to the point where you can work in this field, you need a Master’s in machine learning to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing. This article looks at three of the best programs for European and international students.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Masters in Machine Learning Program
Before we dig into the courses, it’s important to highlight what we’re looking for. After all, a certificate needs to be worth more than the paper on which it’s printed, serving as tangible proof that you have the machine learning chops prospective employers desire.
- University Reputation – A certificate from a university with a bad reputation is like word-of-mouth from a shyster – nobody trusts it. Any institution you choose needs to have a stellar reputation as a provider of high-quality programs.
- Course Curriculum – The general concept of machine learning branches off into many different paths and specializations, each of which takes you in different career directions. By examining the course curriculum, you confirm that your program leads you down the right path rather than being something that’ll force you to course-correct in the future.
- Faculty Expertise – The people who teach you need to have roots in the machine learning sector. Those roots can come from their experience in industry, academic success, or research, but they need to be there if your teachers are to provide the fuel to grow your academic seed.
- Industry Connections – Machine learning already permeates through any industry that relies on data (i.e., almost all of them), so you want a university that offers links to employers. Look for internship programs, lecturers with a history of real-world experience, and careers departments designed to help you get ahead.
- Tuition Fees – There’s no getting around the fact that a Master’s degree in any subject sets you back a few thousand euros. How many thousands depends on the nature of your course and the institution, so look for something that’s affordable and (where applicable) can provide financial aid.
Top Masters in Machine Learning Programs
With what to look for established, it’s time to look at a trio of Master’s in machine learning courses that fit the bill when examined under the lens of the above five factors.
Master of Science in Machine Learning and Data Science (Imperial College London)
Imperial College London has always held a high reputation in the UK (it was a fixture on the old show “University Challenge”) and its Master’s degree courses allow you to piggyback off that reputation. This Master’s is a 24-month program that’s offered 100% online, making it as accessible to international students as it is to English ones.
The program starts you off with theory and ethics, helping you understand the programming techniques and math that go into designing machine learning models. By the second year, you’ll start getting your feet wet with practical projects, develop mastery of unsupervised learning, and take on research projects to show you can apply what you’ve learned. The faculty has wide-ranging experience, led by Professor Michael Bronstein, the university’s Chair of Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition. His expertise has been called upon by the likes of the University of Oxford and Project CETI, meaning you’re in good hands from the course creation and guidance perspectives.
The downside is that this is an expensive course, costing international students £16,200 per year for a total of £32,400 (approx. €37,310 as of time of writing). That’s money well spent, considering you get a degree from a university that ranks sixth in the QS World University Rankings and has an alumni network that stretches to over 200,000 former students and faculty members. Financial assistance for those high tuition fees is available for Imperial’s Student Support Fund and Global Relief Fund, though both are only available to students who face unexpected financial hardship.
Master in Management of AI and Machine Learning (UBI Business School)
From a course focused primarily on theory, we move to one that takes a much more business-centric focus. UBI Business School has five-star ratings across the board from QS University World Rankings and delivers courses that help students harness their knowledge to meet the demands of modern industry.
Creating digital leads is the stated goal of the program, which it highlights through a curriculum developed by some of the world’s leading tech companies. The idea is simple – ask companies what they want and let them design a course that teaches it. First-stage students start with modules focusing on the psychology and ethics behind modern technology. By the second stage, those who choose the AI and machine learning specialization move into the fundamentals of AI, neural networks, and applying Python to large datasets. Finally, this MSc machine learning concludes with a management project, where you’ll complete a thesis and work directly either with an existing business or in the university’s Venture Creation Lab.
Tuition may be a sticking point because you need to pay €11,900 for the course, though you can get a discount if you pay upfront. UBI also offers scholarships based on merit and for special groups (i.e., people with special political associations). International students can also benefit from global inclusion and refugee scholarships designed to make education more accessible. The teaching staff, led by Dean and Professor Gaston Fornes, includes people who have over 15 years of professional experience, five of which are spent in senior leadership roles.
Master in Applied Data Science & AI (OPIT)
Don’t let the lack of the term “machine learning” in the degree’s name fool you – OPIT’s course leans heavily into machine learning. In the first term alone, you’ll learn about feature engineering, different machine learning models, and how to visualize data through Python and relevant coding libraries. But you’ll learn all of that in the context of how machine learning applies in data science, making the program ideal for practical people with one eye turned toward a data science career.
That focus on practicality continues in the second team, where you can study the applications of machine learning more directly. The third (and final) term is your thesis, which is your choice between a research project or an internship with a real-world company. Speaking of associations with companies. OPIT’s team of teachers boasts experience working with some major players, with former Google and Microsoft employees among their numbers. Again, that feeds into the applied approach brought to this Master’s in machine learning as you’ll learn from people who’ve actually applied what they’re teaching you.
Tuition fees are also reasonable for this 18-month course. Most can expect to pay €6,500, though early bird discounts are on offer to bring the price closer to the €5,000 range if you apply several months before the October intake. You can also pay in installments.
Other Notable Masters in Machine Learning Programs
The three courses highlighted above all offer something different, with one being more theory focused, another taking on the business angle, and the third falling somewhere in between. But beyond those three, here are a few more good MSc machine learning universities to consider.
Carnegie Mellon University
As one of the world’s top-ranked AI institutions, Carnegie Mellon is ideal for those who want to study in the United States. Learning from top researchers gives you a solid pedigree that makes you more desirable to employers after your studies.
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford’s low 18% acceptance rate belies its reputation as the UK’s foremost academic institution. Simply having the word “Oxford” on your CV opens doors that other degree programs can’t.
Don’t let KU Leaven’s reputation as one of the oldest Catholic universities in the world trick you into thinking it’s not the best place for the sciences. It’s a world leader in research, especially in AI and biomedical science fields.
Guide the New Wave of Machines With an MSc Machine Learning Degree
By choosing to pursue a Master’s in machine learning, you’ve put yourself on track for a career that will be lucrative and has the potential for enormous growth as more companies adopt AI. You’re also getting yourself in on (or near) the ground floor of a metaphorical building that’s going to be so high that we may not ever see the top.
The three courses here (plus the universities touched upon at the tail end of the article) offer differing paths into machine learning. But all three give you the same result – an MSc machine learning qualification you can use to build a superb career.
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.