The Magazine

The Magazine

👩‍💻 Welcome to OPIT’s blog! You will find relevant news on the education and computer science industry.

Building a Community: Get to Know Our Support Team
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
January 11, 2024

Although convenient, online studying can also feel isolating. After all, you’re all alone in front of a screen, probably missing the camaraderie and face-to-face interactions of a physical classroom.

That’s why our team at the Open Institute of Technology set out to change the typical online education experience, breaking down all the virtual barriers before them. The goal is clear – OPIT students are never to feel alone during any step of their academic journey. And this goal wasn’t only met but surpassed rather spectacularly (if we do say so ourselves).

Are you interested to know how our team pulled it off? Great! At OPIT, we love questions, as well as sharing success stories.

To answer this question thoroughly, we enlisted the help of Rosario Maccarrone, our Director and Head of Student Services, and Sara Ciabattoni, our Class Coordinator. They’ll break down OPIT’s impressive support system, which has effortlessly transformed students from over 40 countries worldwide into a close-knit community.

How Does OPIT Support Its Students?

When it comes to student support, one thing’s for sure – few (if any) remote learning programs offer such an intricate and well-thought-out web of support as OPIT does. This support starts before you even enroll in the Institute and often ends only after you’ve landed your dream job.

Admission Support

At OPIT, we have a dedicated admissions team that guides applicants every step of the way – from expressing interest in a specific course to becoming a student. This team has a simple goal – to ease your path into OPIT. So, don’t hesitate to ask any questions regarding the application process itself, program details, or course requirements.

Administrative Support

Let’s not sugarcoat it – starting a new program can be extremely chaotic. You might have trouble enrolling in courses, managing your schedule, and navigating all the complexities of a new academic environment. But don’t worry; it’s our administrative support team to the rescue! This team will help you breeze through all the administrative requirements, from applying for courses to getting certificates.

In this regard, we must also mention the lovely Sara, aka our class coordinator.

Class Coordinator

The class coordinator is here to help the OPIT students with their everyday needs and tasks. This might include questions about classes, deadlines, or interactions with other students and faculty members. Let’s put it this way – if you’re ever unsure who to reach out to, Sara is your go-to person.

As she puts it, “You can reach out to me, and I will guide you.” Take this as a blanket statement, whether you have a specific question or are simply struggling with time management or your studies.

Learning Support

At the end of the day, all OPIT students are here to learn. That’s why Rosario made it his mission to ensure top-notch learning support for each and every OPIT student.


It’s perfectly natural to struggle with specific parts of your coursework, especially if you’re dealing with these concepts for the first time. That’s why there’s a dedicated team of tutors at your disposal at all times.

When we say “at all times,” we truly mean it! These tutors are available seven days a week, every day of the calendar year. You can reach them and ask for any lecture-related assistance you might need.

You’ll promptly receive an answer from these professionals who have strong backgrounds in computer science and tech. Most of our academic tutors have a PhD or are currently obtaining one, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands.


With classroom learning, posing a question to your professor is a breeze – you just raise your hand! In most online classrooms, however, this option doesn’t exist since classes are usually pre-recorded.

That’s why OPIT offers a live class once a week featuring a handy Q&A session. This session is the perfect opportunity to directly interact with professors in charge of different subjects, gather all the necessary information, or resolve any doubts. After all, some questions are quite complex and can only be answered by the experts.

And that’s precisely what our professors are. Some of them have taught in universities for their entire careers. Others have a long and impressive history in the industry, having worked at tech giants like Microsoft and Meta. Either way, our careful selection of professors is a guarantee that “what we say is what we do,” as Rosario puts it.

Continuous Assessment

Though this isn’t a team per se, the continuous assessment methodology employed by the OPIT faculty is a crucial element of support for our students.

This methodology is exactly what it sounds like – students are assessed continuously throughout the duration of their courses. There are many pedagogical benefits to this approach, but the two primary ones are as follows.

One, our students can advance their knowledge gradually, which allows them to retain and apply information more effectively. And two, it eliminates the stress of cramming for the big and scary final exam that often overwhelms the students. Sara emphasizes that this approach allows you to enter the job market with a well-rounded understanding of your field.

Career Support

Speaking of entering the job market, OPIT will lend you a helping hand in this regard as well. The goal of the career support team is to “help students shift from their academic journey into their professional journey [with ease],” as Sara puts it.

Career Advisors

Given that most OPIT programs equip you with skills for dozens of different career paths, you might struggle with choosing only one. That’s where our career advisors come into play.

As you approach the end of your academic journey, these advisors will work with you to assess your skills, capabilities, and qualities, helping you pinpoint the most suitable career path. Then, they’ll review your CV and coach you on presenting yourself to potential employers in the best possible way. They’ll even help you look for a job and present you with some tailored job listings.

Internship Opportunities

If you want to gather more practical experience before fully entering the professional arena, our career advisors can help you find tailored internship positions to suit your needs.

Practical Skills

There’s a reason the above section is so short. OPIT prides itself on its competence-based approach that lets students “learn by doing,” as Rosario puts it.

OPIT courses are pretty hands-on, with at least two assignments whose goal is to help you put your knowledge into practice. Rosario calls this “filling the gap between theoretical knowledge served by classical universities and applied knowledge that is more often than not given through boot camps or non-accredited courses.”

The goal of this approach is to ensure students can “hit the ground running” and “apply their knowledge from day one.” There’s no need to go through a lengthy training process or learn anything from scratch!

Communication Channels

Given that our mantra at OPIT is “You’re not alone,” it shouldn’t surprise you that we offer several ways to communicate with fellow students and faculty staff.


Canvas, our learning platform, is a treasure trove of knowledge and valuable resources. However, it can also serve as a vibrant communication hub.

You see, Canvas offers an option to start (or join) discussions and ask questions regarding anything course-related. Sometimes, professors can even publish some interesting and thought-provoking prompts that go beyond the traditional course material.

In addition, during some live classes (hosted on Zoom and available in Canvas), students are divided into smaller groups and put into breakout rooms. This typically gives them 10 to 15 minutes to work together and start a little discussion or debate. Sara says that she sees “a lot of interaction there,” as she has access to all courses and can review the exchanged messages.


While Canvas is the ultimate learning platform, it’s slightly too formal for student interactions. That’s why we also provide our students with access to a Slack channel for their classes and each of their courses. Here, students can share “whatever they see fit,” as Rosario puts it.

Moreover, Slack is a valuable tool in the professional context (widely used and integrated into workflows in many companies) – by being able to know and use the tool, students get closer to their job market.

Other Communication Channels

OPIT students are free to use whatever communication channels they want. It’s only natural for them to want to communicate in an environment that’s entirely under their control, as opposed to faculty-controlled Canvas and Slack.

We see no problem with this. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! As Sara explains it perfectly, “We’re really proud because we’re building a community.”

For now, our students prefer communicating via WhatsApp groups and Discord servers, which they use to share their experiences, feelings, and problems. Rosario says that it’s easy to tell what some of these discussions are, as they often spill over in some of the requests the Institute receives in terms of administration and term organization. Of course, we’re always open to feedback and do our best to accommodate the preferences of our students, especially when they’re so wonderfully united.

At OPIT, You’re Never Alone

And there you have it – the complete support system devised to ensure that every OPIT student feels connected, supported, and empowered throughout their academic journey. Apply for one of our highly acclaimed programs today and experience this unparalleled support firsthand.

Read the article
The 8 Genuine Benefits of Digital Business Strategies
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
January 09, 2024

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses viewed digitalization as only an additional avenue for marketing their products or services. In the post-pandemic world though, digitalization has become the very lifeblood of survival for these businesses.

But implementing an efficient digital business strategy is no easy task. After all, a digital transformation calls for fundamentally reshaping how a business operates.

However, one look at what technology can do for you and your business is enough to make you understand that the complex digital transformation process is well worth it. If all of this is new to you, don’t worry. You can master all the necessary digital skills to reap the benefits of digitalization by completing the Open Institute of Technology’s Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Business. Alternatively, you can further your skills with the Institute’s Master’s Degree in Applied Digital Business.

Without further ado, let’s discuss eight genuine benefits of embracing digitalization and implementing digital business strategies.

1. Data-Driven Decision-Making

Efficiency. Innovation. Sustainable success. These desirable outcomes can only be reached with data-driven decision-making. While traditional decision-making mostly relies on experience, modern data-driven decision-making leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze vast amounts of data swiftly and accurately.

Of course, artificial intelligence brings much more to the corporate world beyond data analysis. This innovative technology can automate administrative tasks, provide instant customer responses, and enhance overall operational agility. All of these make managerial and business decisions and processes significantly faster.

That’s precisely why OPIT’s study programs feature courses dedicated to artificial intelligence in the business setting, from a general introduction to AI principles in the digital economy. The goal of these courses is simple – help you understand why, how, and when to use AI in business decision-making and beyond.

But as powerful as AI is, you can’t solely rely on technology in your decision-making process. AI is only there to help you make this process more comprehensive and strategized. This technology will also help you spend less time on mundane, control-based tasks, allowing you to focus on your judgment, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Luckily, all of these skills are also covered by various Digital Business courses at OPIT, allowing you to become the best digital-era manager and decision-maker you can be.

2. Faster Time to Market

All the invaluable data gathered by artificial intelligence and other digital tools can also do wonders in the research and development department. With so much data at hand, businesses should have no trouble improving their existing products or services or launching new ones.

The latter process is especially important as the time it takes for a product to go from conceptualization to market availability can be rather lengthy. But what used to take months or years can now be done in weeks, days, or even hours, all thanks to digitalization.

Businesses can rely on modern technologies to rapidly test, pilot, iterate, and launch new products and services, significantly enhancing their agility in the ever-evolving business world. And hey, if a product or a service doesn’t quite work, you’ll be able to tell this almost immediately through online feedback and product reviews.

Using these valuable insights, businesses can revise their offerings to suit their customers’ preferences, needs, and interests. The result? Nothing but product excellence and customer satisfaction.

3. New Sales Channels

Dominating the business world is all about finding new ways to reach, engage, and retain customers. The good news? The digital-age business world offers seemingly endless opportunities to do this. You just need to know where to look.

Granted, your job doesn’t stop when a new channel is identified. Rather, it transforms. Now, it’s up to you to know how to use that channel effectively. To do so, you’ll need to learn about digital business models, as virtually every sales channel has a dedicated one.

Arguably, the most important thing to cover is how digital business models differ from traditional models (especially if you’ve only ever worked with the latter). And that’s precisely what OPIT’s “Digital Business Models” module covers.

You’ll learn just how vital online platforms, e-commerce, and digital marketing are in shaping modern business strategies. Use this knowledge to successfully tap into new markets and connect with a broader audience.

Naturally, there’s one online channel that’ll play critical role here – social media. Luckily for business owners and managers, most customers are active on at least one social media platform, essentially making the global population a prospect for sales.

4. Increased Market Share

For most businesses, the ultimate goal is to boost revenue, improve bargaining power, and strengthen competitive position. First step? Capturing a more substantial portion of the market. Fortunately, doing so is much easier now that most of the global population is within reach through digital business strategies.

So, it’s no wonder digital transformation has become essential to growing a brand. This process facilitates everything you need to establish a robust market presence – better financial performance, media activity, and advertising capabilities.

Best of all? You can use digital business strategies to only boost your market share or completely dominate your industry. It’s all up to you and how you harness the power of digitalization.

That’s why OPIT’s Applied Digital Business program contains a course titled “Maximizing Impact in the Digital Economy.” From gradual scaling to growth hacking, this course equips you with the insights and skills needed to ensure sustained success in virtually any industry.

5. Better Customer Interaction

Reaching and retaining new customers are equally important. But how can you do this? By ensuring most (if not all) of their interactions with the business are positive, of course. Naturally, digital transformation can help in this regard as well.

After all, the digital environment offers countless possibilities for improving the customer relationship with a brand. From streamlined online transactions to personalized communication through various digital channels, there’s virtually no area of the customer experience that digital transformation can’t positively impact. With this process, it’s all about simplicity, real-time services, and tailored experiences. And there’s hardly a customer that doesn’t love these things.

Granted, many (digital) elements are involved in achieving this desirable outcome, including artificial intelligence, automation, and digital marketing. But don’t worry; the OPIT’s programs extensively cover each element.

Take digital marketing as an example. Whether you’re interested in gaining an understanding of the key concepts of this dynamic field or delving into advanced strategies, there’s a module tailored to your needs.

6. Real-Time Transactions

As previously mentioned, customers love real-time services. In the past, this was hardly possible, as businesses were limited by time and infrastructure constraints. But not anymore. With digital tools, the 24/7 concept becomes a reality.

Customers can look at business offerings and make a purchase at any time of the day or night, breaking free from the traditional constraints of operating hours. All they need is a few clicks, and voilà – their transaction is complete.

This is made possible by innovative technologies like Blockchain, which dramatically enhances transaction speed while minimizing costs and any chances of fraud. Of course, this also means that this technology is covered by OPIT’s undergraduate program, which looks into the Blockchain’s transformative impact on business practices.

7. Easy Talent Acquisition

So far, this article has focused on how digital business strategies can benefit a brand’s relationship with customers. But these strategies can also revolutionize the process of talent acquisition. Of course, this is equally important, as there’s no successful business without a talented and capable workforce.

Before, recruiting top talent was often a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. Now, attracting talent (and the right talent for your business at that) is almost effortless. How?

Well, digital tools have got your back every step of the way. From job-matching sites like LinkedIn attracting candidates based on their professional profiles to automated systems streamlining the hiring process, digital tools have completely transformed talent acquisition.

That’s not to mention the endless opportunities working from home has opened up both for businesses and employees. Thanks to digitalization, the whole world is basically your talent pool.

8. Higher Revenue

Though each of the mentioned benefits is essential for business success in and of itself, they also have a cumulative impact on one of the most crucial business metrics: revenue. Investing in digitalization might seem like a major undertaking, but this impact makes every penny worth it.

Let’s recap what you can get with effective digital business strategies. You can get more effective systems and productive employees, better decision-making and judgment, improved products and sales channels, and a long-lasting (and interactive) relationship with customers. All of these create a robust foundation for revenue growth.

Reap the Full Benefits of Digital Business Strategies

There’s no doubt about it – effective digital business strategies can transform the trajectory of virtually any business. But for these strategies to work, they must be carried out with precision, knowledge, and strategic foresight.

That’s where OPIT’s Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Business and Master’s Degree in Applied Digital Business come into play.

Regardless of the digital business career you’re interested in (e.g., digital business consultant, digital marketing specialist, or digital transformation specialist), these courses will equip you with the necessary skills to stay ahead in a globally connected world.

Read the article
QS: How to spot an innovative, future-proof STEM degree
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
January 08, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and artificial intelligence, STEM graduates face a transforming workplace. Riccardo Ocleppo, founder of the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT), shares insights with on the skills gap and thriving careers in AI and tech. Discover the in-demand skills, innovative STEM program designs, and strategies for staying valuable in the dynamic field.

Read more on QS: How to spot an innovative, future-proof STEM degree


Read the article
Forbes: The Future Of Learning – Online Innovation For A Career In Tech
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
January 08, 2024

In a Forbes article by Matt Symonds, explore how OPIT offers affordable, competency-based online programs in Computer Science and AI, addressing the industry demand for skilled professionals. With a faculty of international experts and a focus on practical skills, OPIT aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry, preparing students for success in the dynamic tech landscape.

Read more: The Future of Learning – Online Innovation for a Career in Tech

Read the article
How Industry Certifications Impact Students
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
January 05, 2024

It’s clear that there’s a growing demand for qualified computer scientists – as well as professionals in related fields – throughout the world. In the U.S. alone, the field is expected to grow by 15% between 2021 and 2031, with approximately 377,500 job openings per year. Europe is no different. For instance, the European artificial intelligence (AI) industry is projected to achieve an average annual growth of 15.87% between 2024 and 2030, creating a multi-billion dollar industry in the process.

With such explosive growth, one would assume that getting a job in the tech field should be straightforward as long as a student has the appropriate skills.

That’s often not the case.

Though companies have a large appetite for talented and tech-literate students, they typically want to see industry certifications to bolster their formal education qualifications. Here, you’ll discover the impact these certifications can have on your career. Plus, you’ll learn which certifications are the most desirable and how OPIT’s degree programs align with those certifications.

How do Industry Certifications Help?

We start with the big question – are computing industry certifications even relevant?

After all, as a student, you’re already working towards a degree that provides proof that you’re capable in various technical fields. But even with that degree, you may find that employers favor those with specific certifications.


Here are some of the most important reasons.

Showcasing a Willingness to Learn

Obtaining specific certifications outside of your degree shows that you’re willing to continue your education beyond your formal studies. That’s vital. The computer science fields evolve so rapidly that what you learn as part of a degree may be obsolete – or, at best, outdated – within a few years. If you’re not doing everything you can to adapt to these changes, you get left behind. When an employer compares two candidates with the same degree against one another, they’ll invariably go for the one who shows more commitment to keeping their skills sharp.

That’s not all.

Industry certifications also show employers that you can take the theoretical knowledge you develop during a degree into real-life practice. Hence the “industry” part of the phrase. That also leads to the second reason why certifications are so crucial.

Certifications Prepare You for the World of Work

Though a degree program may attempt to emulate real-world environments, it may not fully set you up for the demands industry places on you. You’re working for yourself, rather than a company. Plus, the odds are that your degree may not cover specific applications of your knowledge that would be useful in a real-world setting.

When studying for industry certifications, you engage with courses developed by people who have worked for companies that are like – or adjacent to – the types of companies for which you intend to work. That’s crucial. A certification can prepare you for specific duties or roles you’d be expected to take during your career. The result is that the working world is less of a shock to the system for the student who achieves a certification than it would be for somebody who transitions directly from a degree into industry.

Validation of What You’ve Learned

Validation through industry certifications works on two levels.

For the student, completion of certification serves as proof to themselves that they can put what they’ve learned during their degree course into action. Should you take a certification, you’ll be confronted with real-world scenarios and, often, be tasked with coming up with solutions to problems that real companies faced in the past. When you pass, you’ll know that you have verified proof of your competency within the context of working for a company.

That’s where the second level comes in – validation to a potential employer.

A degree is far from worthless to a potential employer. Most require them for any technical role, meaning you must complete your formal education. However, employers are also aware that many degree programs don’t prepare students for the realities of industry. So, a student who only has a degree on their resume may fall by the wayside compared to one who has an industry certification.

Those who do have certifications, however, have proof of their competency that validates them in the eyes of employers.

The Most Valuable Industry Certifications for Computer Science Students

With the value of industry certifications to supplement your degree established, the next question is obvious:

Which certifications are the most valuable?

You may have dozens to choose from, with the obvious answer being that the certification that’s best for you is the one that most closely aligns with the field you intend to enter. Still, the following are some of the most popular among computing students and recent graduates.

Prince 2 Foundation

Where your degree equips you with computer science fundamentals, the PRINCE2 Foundation course focuses on project management. It can be taken as a three-day course – virtually or in a classroom – that teaches the titular method for overseeing complex projects. Beyond the three-day intensive versions of the course, you can also take an online self-guided version that grants you a 12-month license to the course’s materials.

CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management)

Again focusing on project management, the CAPM can be an alternative or a complement to a PRINCE2 certification. The 150-question exam covers predictive planning methodologies, Agile frameworks, and business analysis. Plus, it’s available in several major European languages, as well as Japanese and Arabic.

CompTIA Network+

Network implementation, operations, and security are the focuses of this course, which equips you with networking skills that apply to almost any industry system. Consider this course if you wish to enter a career in network security, IT support, or if you have designs on becoming a data architect.

AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

Offered via several platforms, including Amazon Web Services and Coursera, the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course does exactly what it says:

Teaches you the foundations of the AWS cloud.

You’re paired with an expert instructor, who teaches you about the AWS Well-Architected Framework and the models relevant to the AWS cloud. It’s a good choice not just for computer science students, but those who intend to enter the sales, marketing, or project management spheres.

AWS Certified Developer Associate

Where the above course teaches the fundamentals of the AWS cloud, this one hones in on developing platforms within the AWS framework. It’s recommended that you take the essentials course first, gaining experience with AWS tech in the process, and have knowledge of at least one programming language. The latter can come from your degree.

All of the course resources are free, though you do have to pay a fee of $150 to take the 65-question exam related to the certification.

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

Cybersecurity is the focus of the CISSP, with successful students developing proven skills in designing, implementing, and managing high-end cybersecurity programs. You also become an ISC2 member when you receive your CISSP, giving you access to further educational tools and an expansive network you can use to further your career.

CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)

Like the CISSP, the CISM is for any student who wants to enter the growing field of cybersecurity. It covers many of the same topics, with the program’s website claiming that 42% of its students received a pay increase upon successful completion of the course.

CRISC (Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control)

Though adjacent to the two cybersecurity programs above, the CRISC focuses more on risk management in the context of IT systems. You’ll learn how to enhance – and demonstrate said enhancement of – business resilience, as well as how to incorporate risk management into the Agile methodology.

CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

When companies implement cybersecurity programs, they need to test them against the hackers that they’re trying to keep away from their data. Enter ethical hackers – professionals who use the same tricks that malicious hackers use to identify issues in a network. With the CEH, you gain an industry qualification that showcases your hacking credentials as it delivers experience in over 500 unique attack types.

Agile and Scrum Certifications

Both Agile and Scrum are management frameworks that have become extremely popular in the computer science field, making certifications in either extremely valuable. The idea with these certifications is to build your technical expertise into an established methodology. For context to why that’s important, consider this – 71% of American companies now use the Agile methodology due to its high success rate.

Where Do OPIT’s Courses Fit In?

If you’re a current or prospective OPIT student, you need to know one thing:

An OPIT degree isn’t the same as one of these industry certifications.

However, all OPIT degree programs are designed to align with the teachings of these certifications. They’re created by professionals who have industry experience – and can build real-world projects into their courses – to ensure that you leave OPIT with more than theoretical knowledge.

Instead, you’ll have a foundation of practical skills to go along with your technical talents, preparing you to take any of these industry certifications later in your career. For instance, our MSc in Enterprise Cybersecurity degree aligns with the CISM and CISSP certifications, meaning you’ll be well-prepared for the concepts introduced in those courses.

An OPIT degree complements the certifications you may need later in your career. If you’re not already an OPIT student, check out our range of online courses – all of which are EU-accredited and career-aligned – to take your first step toward a career in computer science.

Read the article
Gain Insight: Alumni Tips for Students
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
December 22, 2023

For most people, graduating is one of the happiest times of their lives. It means no more exams, no more deadlines, and no more all-nighters. But this feeling of joy and accomplishment can be quickly overshadowed by a fear of an uncertain future. Throw job market pressure and societal expectations into the mix, and the post-graduation joy quickly turns into post-graduation blues.

But there’s no need for this. Just like your educational institution of choice can get you ready for a career in your desired field, you can prepare yourself for the post-graduation journey. The Open Institute of Technology (OPIT) is here to help in both regards.

This article will guide you through your post-graduation journey, allowing you to relax once your graduation comes and you enter the competitive job market. To give you only the most useful advice, we’ve enlisted the help of one of our alums, Francesca Fancoli. She will chime in with her personal experience pre-, during, and post-OPIT. Let’s begin!

1. Follow Your Heart

It’s perfectly understandable if the words “Follow your heart” sound like nothing more than a cliché to you, especially in the cutthroat business world. But the truth is that genuine passion and intuition can be powerful guides.

Take Francesca as an example. Though she previously focused on climate-related issues and sustainability, she became intrigued by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the corporate world. That’s what brought her to OPIT and our Master in Applied Data Science and AI program.

As long as you continuously pursue a career that challenges and motivates you, you’ll likely find both fulfillment and success. This way, you’ll think of studying as not a mundane task but an adventure, just like Francesca does.

2. Network, Network, Network

Don’t let anyone convince you that “networking” is nothing more than a buzzword. Networking is still very much a valuable and effective way to build meaningful connections, gain insights, and open doors to new opportunities in your professional journey. The only thing that has changed is where networking takes place.

Sure, you can still attend formal networking events and career fairs in person, as this will allow you to build confidence and sharpen your interpersonal skills. But nowadays, you can also leverage the power of virtual networking, connecting with professionals globally through online platforms like LinkedIn.

Study online at OPIT, and you also get the chance to interact with classmates and alums from all over the world. For instance, Francesca comes from Italy, but OPIT students and alums can be found in virtually every corner of the world.

Genuinely getting to know your fellow students, professors, and professionals in your desired field can lead to all sorts of unexpected opportunities, as many job openings don’t even get posted online. Instead, they circulate within enclosed professional networks through word of mouth.

3. Don’t Wait for the Right Opportunity – Create It

This tip ties into the importance of networking. Suppose there’s a person you want to meet or a job you really want. If that’s the case, don’t just sit back and hope for an opportunity to achieve these goals comes your way. Instead, make your own opportunity.

Initiating contact and expressing genuine interest paints you as an assertive, proactive, and driven individual. And these qualities are precisely what many employers and influential professionals value. Plus, thanks to LinkedIn, you can demonstrate all these qualities from the comfort of your own home.

4. Create a Standout CV

Once the time comes to send out your CV (curriculum vitae) to your potential employer(s), you’ll want to ensure the CV in question truly stands out. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should resort to flashy gimmicks whose only value is their shock factor. It means presenting a visually appealing, well-organized, and impactful document that will instantly set you apart from other candidates.

Though there are many factors in creating a standout CV, one is arguably the most important – customize your CV for the job you want. Nothing screams mediocrity more than submitting a generic CV to every job application.

Let’s say you study computer science and AI like Francesca and want to apply for a job in the field. In this case, your CV should showcase specific hands-on projects you’ve worked on during your studies and the technical skills you’ve mastered. You can even include some industry insight to demonstrate your understanding of the current trends and challenges.

For instance, one of the reasons Francesca chose her field of study at OPIT is that she believes that automation can help with “foreseeing risks” and “applying better compliance.”

5. Don’t Stress About the Interview

Obviously, this is easier said than done. It’s perfectly natural to be nervous before a big interview, especially if it’s your first post-graduation. But as long as you remain confident and express genuine interest in the position (and the company), you’ll likely make an excellent impression.

If you’re like Francesca, use the interview to showcase your passion for AI and computer science in general. Talk about your extracurricular activities in the field and all the fun projects you got to work on during your studies.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should forget about the “traditional” interview question. Remember that most interviews are a lengthy process, so prepare yourself for the common questions that might come your way during it.

6. Continuously Educate Yourself

Newsflash – learning doesn’t stop once you graduate. Or at least, it shouldn’t. It’s crucial that you continuously strive to learn new skills, adapt to new technologies, and pursue relevant certifications.

That’s precisely what Francesca did when enrolling in OPIT. She sees her time here as “upskilling,” which will help her conquer the corporate job market.

Even if you land your dream job, keep learning and educating yourself. This will allow you to advance quickly and achieve long-term success in your desired field. And remember not to be too hard on yourself if there’s something you don’t know in your new job, as no one expects you to know everything from the get-go.

7. Don’t Fear a Career Break

A career break is nothing to fear and stress about. In fact, it can be a valuable opportunity for personal and professional growth. Take Francesca as an example, as she used her career breaks wisely – one to start a family and the other to study at OPIT.

8. Embrace Volunteering

Let’s say you can’t find a job for a while. Or, you want to use your career break wisely, like Francesca. Whatever the case, consider volunteering.

Volunteering can help you add relevant job experience to your CV and set you up for a successful career. Best of all? If you attend an online institution like OPIT, you might even have time to volunteer during your studies, making the transition from education to employment substantially smoother.

9. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

It doesn’t matter if you’re currently studying, just graduated, or already in the job market. One thing remains the same – growth happens when you step beyond the familiar.

During studying, challenge yourself to explore different subjects, engage in extracurricular activities, and seek to understand the study materials beyond surface-level comprehension. For instance, during Francesca’s studies, her goal was to “understand the uses of AI in a corporate job and specifically what AI can do for compliance and risk management.”

After graduating and joining the job market, continue seeking opportunities to apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios. Don’t just stick to what you’ve learned or experienced in school. Even if these new experiences inspire you to change your career path, do it! This turned out great for Francesca, and it will surely be the same for you as long as you remain adaptable and embrace challenges with open arms.

Thanks to the digital age, even moving to another country mid-study is feasible, as you can “take” your studies with you. Just ask the lovely Francesca who moved from Italy to France.

10. Be Patient

Once you graduate, not everything will go your way. You might take a while to land your dream job or advance in your career. You might even start a job only to realize it’s not for you after all. And that’s more than OK. Remember that the best things are worth waiting for, and be easy on yourself while waiting for them.

Of course, if you’ve read all the tips outlined in this article, you won’t be waiting idly. You’ll use this time to better yourself, improve your skills, meet new people, and explore alternative paths. Combine these actions with your formal knowledge, and it’s only a matter of time before you reach the top. But more importantly – you’ll also enjoy your journey up there.

Put Your Trust in OPIT

At OPIT, we have one goal – to help you achieve your dream career. This involves empowering you to excel in your chosen field during and after graduation. If you have any questions about our study programs, contact us directly. We’ll be happy to share more tips from our alumni who have successfully navigated their career paths, just like Francesca.

Read the article
A Day in the Life of a Cybersecurity Professional
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
December 15, 2023

What does an average day look like for somebody working in cybersecurity?

That isn’t an easy question to answer when you consider the vastness of the field. Somebody who works in cybersecurity needs to stay constantly abreast of industry changes – especially new attacks cooked up by cybercriminals – and help their employers create and tweak their security plans.

However, thanks to Tom Vazdar, who has developed the Open Institute of Technology’s (OPIT’s) Master’s Degree in Enterprise Cybersecurity, we can provide some insight into what your average day may look like.

Who Is Tom Vazdar?

Serving as the Program Chair of OPIT’s upcoming Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity, Tom brings a vast amount of practical experience to the table. His work has spanned the globe. Tom has been employed as the Chief Security Officer for a major Croatian bank, in addition to serving as the Chief Information Officer for a company in the United States’ manufacturing sector.

His practical experience spans other industries – including technology and finance – and he’s currently completing a doctorate while running his own practice. Tom’s specialty is the behavioral aspect of cybersecurity. His deep understanding of the “culture” that surrounds the field has been shaped by his work on development strategies, policies, and frameworks for his past employers.

The Importance of Trends

The first thing Tom highlights is that a cybersecurity professional has to follow the trends in the industry. As he points out: “We are living in an era where digital transformation is accelerating, and with it, the complexity and frequency of cyber threats are also increasing.” To demonstrate this, he points to an ISACA report published in 2023 showing that cyber attacks have increased 48% in 2023 compared to 2022. More worryingly, 62% of the organizations that experience these attacks underreport them – an indication that many simply don’t have the talent to truly understand the threat they face.

As a cybersecurity professional, your role is to provide the expertise such companies are sorely lacking.

Thankfully, many business leaders understand that they need this expertise. Tom points out that 59% of leaders say they’re understaffed in the cyber department, leading to a rising demand for people with the following technical skills:

  • Identity and access management
  • Data protection
  • Cloud computing
  • DevSecOps (development, security, and operations)

Furthermore, Tom says that artificial intelligence (AI) is completely transforming the cybersecurity industry. While AI is often beneficial to professionals in the field – it can enhance threat detection and response – it is also a danger. Malicious entities can use AI to conduct a new wave of attacks, such as data poisoning, for which you need to be prepared as a cybersecurity professional.

Tom’s discussion of these emerging trends highlights one of the most critical aspects of a day in the life of a cybersecurity professional – learning is key. There is no such thing as static knowledge because the industry (and the attacks your company may face) constantly evolve.

An Average Day Broken Down

Now that you understand how important staying on top of the ever-changing trends in cybersecurity is for those in the field, it’s possible to break things down a little further. On an average day, you may find yourself working on any, some, or even all of the following tasks.

Developing and Maintaining a Cybersecurity Strategy

Given that such a large number of business leaders are understaffed and have minimal access to appropriate talent, you’ll often be tasked with creating and maintaining a company’s cybersecurity strategy.

This strategy is not as simple as creating a collection of actions to take in the event of an attack.

Tom emphasizes not only the importance of proactivity, but also of integrating a cybersecurity strategy into the wider business strategy. “It becomes part of the mission and vision,” he says. “After all, there are two things that are important to companies – their data and customer trust. If you lose customer trust, you lose your business. If you lose your data, you lose your business.”

As a technically adept professional, you’ll be tasked with building a strategy that grows ever more complex as the threats the company faces become more advanced. New technologies – such as AI and machine learning – will be used against you, with your main task being to ensure the strategy you create can fend off such technologically-empowered attacks.

The Simpler Day-to-Day

Now, let’s move away from the complexities of developing an overarching plan and go into more detail about daily responsibilities. A cybersecurity professional is usually tasked with dealing with the day-to-day maintenance of systems.

It’s all about control.

Tom says that much of the role involves proactively identifying new protective measures. For instance, software patching is key – outdated software has vulnerabilities that a hacker can exploit. You’ll need to stay up to date on the development of patches for the software your company uses and, crucially, implement those patches as soon as they’re available.

Creating regular backups is also part of this day-to-day work. It’s an area that many businesses neglect – perhaps assuming that nothing bad can happen to them – but a backup will be a lifesaver if a hacker compromises your company’s main data stores.

Tending to Your Ecosystem

It’s not simply your own institution that you must maintain as a cybersecurity professional – everyone who interacts with that institution must also be managed. Vendors, external software developers, and any other part of your supply chain need to be as risk-aware as your business. As Tom puts it: “If they don’t care about vulnerabilities in their system, and they work for you as a company, then you’ll have an issue because their risk suddenly becomes your risk.”

As such, managing the cyber security aspect of your company’s relationships with its partners is a vital part of your duties. You may engage in planning with those partners, helping them improve their practices, or cooperate with them to create strategies encompassing your entire supply chain.

Continued Education

Tom goes on to highlight just how important continued education is to the success of a cybersecurity professional. “It’s always interesting. And if you’re really passionate about it, cybersecurity becomes your lifestyle,” he says. “You want to see what’s new. What are the new attack methods, what are your competitors doing, and what is new on the market.”

He points to a simple example – phishing emails.

These emails – which were traditionally laden with spelling errors that made them easier to spot – are becoming increasingly hard to detect thanks to the use of AI. They’re written better. Failure to understand and adapt to that fact could make it harder to educate yourself and the people in your company.

Your average day may also involve educating your colleagues about upcoming threats and new attack methods they need to understand. The phishing example Tom shares applies here. Any email that looks somewhat legitimate is a threat, so continued education of your colleagues is essential to stop that threat from having its intended effect.

An Example of a Typical Project

Given how vast the cybersecurity field is, the range of projects you may work on will vary enormously. However, Tom provides an example of when he worked in the banking industry and saw the rise of the Zeus Botnet.

In this case, his responsibilities were twofold.

First – finding a way to defend against botnet attacks. That involved researching the malware to figure out how it spread, allowing him to put protective measures in place to prevent that spread. The second task involved creating educational programs, both for employees and his bank’s clients, to make them aware of the Zeus Botnet.

Here, we see the education part of the cybersecurity professional’s “average day” coming into play, complementing the more technical aspects of dealing with malware. We even see supply chain risk coming into play – each client is part of the bank’s supply chain, meaning they need to understand how to defend themselves just as much as the bank does.

The Qualifications Needed to Work in Cybersecurity

With a multitude of cybersecurity qualifications available – many covering specific niches – it’s tough to find the appropriate one to make you attractive to an employer. That’s where Tom’s work with OPIT comes in. The master’s degree that he’s developing not only focuses on the technical skills a professional needs but places those skills in a business context.

The upcoming course will offer electives in subjects such as AI, cloud security, and IoT security, granting students flexibility to pursue a specialization within their degree. The overall program is also closely aligned to industry certifications – such as those offered by CISSP – to ensure graduates are as industry-ready as they are academically qualified.

The intention, Tom says, is to fill the skills gap that 3 million businesses say they have in cybersecurity. The program provides the right blend of knowledge between technical and managerial skills, in addition to allowing students to pursue subjects of particular interest to them.

Ultimately, it doesn’t teach absolutely everything that you could learn about the industry. No course can. But it does equip you with key foundational knowledge aligned with industry certifications that make you more employable. That, combined with your continued education and completion of relevant certifications once you’re employed, means you have an enormous opportunity to build a successful cybersecurity career with OPIT.

So, the qualifications needed for the industry start with a relevant degree. They then blossom out. Professionals focus on courses that meet the specific requirements of their roles so that they learn the cybersecurity techniques that are most effective for their needs.


Read the article
Changing the Curve: Women in Computing
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
December 13, 2023

Did you know that the world’s first computer programmer was a woman? That’s right, Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer, is widely considered the first person to recognize the potential of a computer. She realized it could go beyond mere calculations and handle symbols and logical operations (besides numbers).

Yet, many scholars still argue that Lovelace’s contributions to the field have been vastly overstated, going as far as denying them altogether. Unfortunately, it all boils down to a belief that a woman “didn’t do, and shouldn’t do, and couldn’t do” such a thing.

Perhaps similar beliefs are the reason why women continue to be underrepresented in the field of computing today. Since Lovelace, many female tech visionaries have made significant and varied contributions to this field. And yet, the gap persists.

Is this how it will always be? Or can something be done to pave the way for a more inclusive future in computing? That’s what this article will explore.

The History of Women in Computing and Computer Science

Ada Lovelace’s work in the mid-19th century laid the foundation for modern computing, earning her the flattering title of “World’s First Computer Programmer.” But she wasn’t the only woman to make monumental contributions to computer science.

To understand the ever-growing push for equality in computing, you must first take a journey throughout history, highlighting some of these women’s most notable (and often overlooked) contributions in this field.

1952: Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper, a U.S. Navy admiral and computer scientist, invented the first computer compiler, translating English instructions into the target computer’s language. Code optimization, formula translation, and subroutines are just some computing developments inspired by Hopper’s groundbreaking work.

That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that the world’s largest gathering of women technologists is named in her honor – the Grace Hopper Celebration.

1962: Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson, one of the women immortalized in the 2016 book and film “Hidden Figures,” was the one to run equations needed for John Glenn’s historic orbital flight in 1962. She would go on to work on other groundbreaking NASA missions, including the Apollo program.

1970s: Adele Goldberg

Though Adele Goldberg has made many contributions to computing, she’s best known for developing the Smalltalk programming language, which was crucial in shaping modern graphical user interfaces.

1985: Radia Perlman

The fact that Radia Perlman is often referred to as the “Mother of the Internet” probably tells you all you need to know about her importance in computing history. Perlman is renowned for inventing the Spanning Tree Protocol, a technology that greatly enhanced the reliability and efficiency of network communication.

1997: Anita Borg

In 1997, a U.S. computer scientist, Anita Borg, founded the Institute for Women in Technology. This institute had (and continues to have) two simple goals – to increase the representation of women in technical fields and enable them to create more technology.

2018: Joy Buolamwini

Joy Buolamwini, currently one of the most influential women in computer science, is primarily known for her groundbreaking graduate thesis uncovering significant racial and gender bias in AI services. She also founded the Algorithmic Justice League, a non-profit organization focusing on making tech more equitable and accountable.

The Present State of Women in Computing and Computer Science

There have undoubtedly been strides in increasing women’s representation in computing and computer sciences. Though it’s challenging to determine what came first, one of the most significant moves in this regard was giving credit where credit’s due.

For instance, the “ENIAC Six,” the six women tasked with programming the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), weren’t initially recognized for their historic contributions. It took decades for this recognition to come, but this doesn’t make it any less monumental.

But even with these recognitions, initiatives, awareness campaigns, and annual events, the gender gap in computing persists. This gap can be seen by examining the number of women in three crucial computing and computer science stages – education, workforce, and leadership.

Today, there’s no shortage of degree programs in computer science, both traditional and online. But one look at the data about the students attending these programs, and you’ll understand the issue. Though more women hold tertiary degrees in the EU, they’re notably absent in computer science-related fields.

The situation in the computing workforce is no better. Currently, women occupy only 22% of all tech roles across European companies, and to make matters worse, this figure is on a downward trajectory.

Just when you think it can’t get any more dismal, take a look at the highest levels of professional leadership in computing and technology. One look at the C-suite (senior executives) stats reveals abysmal figures. For instance, only 9% of the U.K. C-suite leaders are women.

The Reasons Behind the Current State of Women in Computing

By now, you probably agree that something needs to change to address the gender disparity in computing. And it needs to change drastically. But to propose effective solutions, you must first examine the root of the problem.

Though it’s challenging to pinpoint a single explanation for the underrepresentation of women in computing, let’s break down factors that might’ve contributed to the current situation.

The Lack of Women Peers and Mentors

Paradoxically, women might be less willing to enter the computing field due to the lack of visible representation and mentorship. Essentially, this creates a never-ending cycle of underrepresentation, thus only deepening the gender gap.

Societal Stereotypes and Biases

Deep-rooted stereotypes about gender roles can, unfortunately, dissuade women from pursuing computer science. The same goes for stereotyping what average computer scientists look like and how they act (the “nerd” stereotype often reinforced by media).

Fortunately, initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion in computer science are breaking down these stereotypes gradually yet efficiently. The more women join this field, the more preconceived (and misguided) notions are shattered, demonstrating that excellence in computing knows no gender.

Hostile or Unwelcoming Work Environments

It’s well-documented that highly collaborative fields were less welcoming to gender minorities throughout history, and computer science was no different. Though the situation is much better today, some women might still fear working within a predominantly male team due to these lingering concerns from the past.

Educational Disparities

Numerous studies have shown that precollege girls are less likely to be exposed to various aspects of computing, from learning about hardware and software to dissecting a computer. So, it’s no wonder they might be less inclined to pursue a career in computing after lacking exposure to its foundational aspects.

A Worse Work-Life Balance

Many big tech companies are notorious for long working hours. The same goes for computer science as a field. The result? Some women might perceive this field as too demanding and impossible to reconcile with raising a family, leading them not to consider it.

How to Change the Curve

Though the past might’ve seemed bleak for women in computing, the present (and future) hold promise for positive change. Of course, no fundamental changes can happen without collective commitment and decisive action. So, what can be done to change the curve once and for all and promote greater gender diversity in computing?

Striving to Remove the Barriers

So, you believe women should experience all the opportunities that come with a career in computing. But this can only be done by actively addressing and eliminating the barriers impeding their progress in the field.

This means launching campaigns to dismantle the deep-rooted stereotypes, introducing policies to create supportive working (and learning) environments, and regularly recognizing and celebrating women’s achievements in computing.

Making the Field Exciting for Women

Educational institutions and companies also must pull their weight in making the computing field more appealing to women despite the existing challenges. This might involve hands-on and collaborative learning, showcasing diverse role models in the field (e.g., at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing), and establishing mentorship programs.

Relying on Mutual Support

As long as women have a strong enough support system, they can conquer anything, including the often daunting field of computer science. Here are some organizations that can provide just that: (See if you can spot some familiar individuals in their names!)

Other than that, women now have access to a whole host of resources and opportunities they can use to advance their knowledge and excel in the field. These include the following:

  • Coding bootcamps
  • Career fairs for women in tech
  • STEM scholarships

Gaining Access to Education

Allowing equal access to education to women might be the most crucial element in changing the curve. After all, proper education serves as a direct gateway to opportunities and empowerment in computer science (and beyond).

With the popularization of online studying, many of the obstacles (both actual and perceived) that traditionally hindered women’s involvement in computing have disappeared. Now, women can learn about (and engage in) computer science from the comfort of their own homes, going at their own pace.

That’s precisely a part of the reason Alona, a Latvian student at the Open Institute of Technology, chose to pursue online education in computer science. Even with two children and a job (and a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics), she can find time to study and potentially earn her degree in as little as two years. Talk about an outstanding work-life balance!

When pursuing a degree in computer science at the OPIT, there are no hostilities, inadequacies, or barriers, only boundless opportunities.

Read the article