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Studying Online with OPIT

A Day in the Life of an OPIT Student
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
March 13, 2024

When it comes to traditional classroom learning, every day looks pretty much the same. You commute to your lectures, sit in a designated classroom, engage with your instructors and peers, and go home and study. This repetitive grind often leaves students yearning for a more dynamic and flexible educational experience.

Enter online learning.

When you study online, you have the freedom to craft your own schedule, escape the confining classroom setting, and explore diverse learning materials at your own pace.

Of course, this doesn’t mean your day shouldn’t be structured and well-organized. It just means that online learning firmly puts the reins of your education in your hands, allowing you to decide when, where, and how you engage with your coursework.

With this in mind, let’s explore what a day in the life of an Open Institute of Technology (OPIT) student might look like.

How an OPIT Student Spends an Average Day

Before diving into the specifics, let’s get to know the online “classroom” OPIT students spend most of their days at – Canvas LMS (Learning Management System).

Canvas LMS is the world’s No. 1 teaching and learning software, revolutionizing the educational experience for OPIT students. This robust LMS serves as a virtual hub for all academic activities, from live lectures to discussion boards.

Canvas LMS checks all the boxes for an enjoyable learning experience – it’s user-friendly, easy to navigate, interactive, and adaptable. Talk about a superior alternative to a traditional classroom!

Without further ado, let’s visit this platform and commence our day of immersive virtual classes, interactive discussions, and self-paced study sessions.

1. Log In to the Canvas LMS

The great thing about online education is that you can start your day whenever you’d like. Still, most OPIT students visit their Canvas account in the morning to check important updates, assignments, and announcements. Of course, this visit can also jog their memory about upcoming deadlines and live sessions.

But doesn’t the platform get confusing with all these different elements?

Absolutely not!

Here’s a quick breakdown of what OPIT students see once they log in.

First up – the dashboard. This centralized hub provides a neat overview of all the courses our students are enrolled in. So, for instance, if the student is pursuing a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Enterprise Security, they’ll see courses like “Cybersecurity Fundamentals and Governance,” “Data Analytics and Risk Management,” and “Cryptography and Secure Communications.”

On the right, next to the dashboard, students can see all their to-do activities, such as live lectures, study sessions, and student mixers. With this handy list, OPIT allows students to always stay on top of their game, as keeping a to-do list is a huge must in online learning.

If we were to go to the left, we’d see an easy-to-follow menu with tabs like “Courses,” “Inbox,” and “Help.” But these don’t come into play just yet. OPIT students typically first check their “Calendar” tab.

Though keeping tabs on all the activities in the calendar is essential for a productive day, our students typically prioritize two – live sessions and assessments (with their due dates).

When there’s a live session, the entire day is centered around it to ensure active participation.

Let’s make our fictional day one of these days to make it more interesting. As an example, suppose the lecture starts at 7 p.m., which OPIT students can find out by clicking on the live session in the calendar. There will also be a Zoom link to facilitate easy access when the time comes.

As far as the assessments go, students should always make sure there aren’t any with due dates close together. If there are, they know what to do – tackle them on time and avoid any last-minute stress.

2. Check the Course Content

At this point, our student knows exactly what their day will look like. Since the focus of that day will be on the live session, it’s time to get acquainted with the course content relevant to the upcoming lecture.

A quick click on the course in question, followed by the “Modules” tab, is all it takes to access this content.

The “Module” tab offers a neat overview of all the past and upcoming modules, broken down into theoretical and practical portions. With well-thought-out overviews, PowerPoint presentations, and tutorials, OPIT students can prep for the live session hassle-free.

3. Start Studying

Now that our students know what to expect from the live session, it’s time to get down to focused studying. Since the live session is in the evening, there’s plenty of time to go over the new module, revise the past one(s), and solidify their understanding.

To make the most out of their study time, OPIT students usually plan it in advance, especially when they intend to work on more than one module at a time. This helps them stay on track and avoid the ever-so-tempting procrastination.

As far as the studying itself goes, it’s all up to our students. They can tackle the material in short bursts or dedicate larger blocks of time to focus on the matter at hand. Whatever works for them!

4. Ask for Help

With online learning and self-paced studying, it’s perfectly normal to encounter challenging concepts and have numerous questions in the process. Moreover, these questions don’t necessarily have to do anything with the course material. Students might struggle to organize their time, balance priorities, or adapt to the online learning environment itself. Whatever the case, we’ve got great news – OPIT has an incredible support system in place.

That’s why our students will take some time after their study session to schedule a meeting with Sara Ciabattoni, OPIT’s Class Coordinator. During this 20-minute meeting, they will greatly benefit from Sarah’s expertise and guidance, allowing them to return to their studies with renewed confidence.

Like everything in Canvas LMS, scheduling this meeting takes only a few clicks. Visit the Class Coordinator Virtual Office, choose your preferred date and time, hit “Next,” and you’re good to go. Upon confirmation, Sarah will provide all the necessary conferencing details. Best of all? The meeting will automatically be added to the student’s Google calendar, so there’s no need to deal with these technicalities.

5. Take a Break Before Live Session

At this point, the day has already been filled with lots of helpful activities, productive studying, and valuable preparation. Do you know what this means? That’s right – a break is well-deserved!

During the break, OPIT students can do virtually whatever they want. After all, they’re home or in their chosen environment. Most of them use the break to relax, do something enjoyable, or grab a meal. Some will even use it to change the scenery a little before the live session.

The great news is that Canvas can come with them wherever they go. Canvas LMS offers a nifty app that allows students to check their calendars, see relevant activities, and read notifications on the go. This adds another layer of flexibility to this already incredibly convenient learning experience.

6. Attend the Live Session

Cue a ringing school bell – it’s time for the live session!

By this time, our students have already found the perfect environment to immerse themselves in the live session. Once the session begins, they can actively listen, take notes, or ask questions. OPIT’s amazing faculty is there to facilitate an engaging and interactive learning experience with lots of valuable insights and guidance.

7. Check the Grades

Thanks to the revitalizing break before the live session, our students won’t be too tired for some more work even after the session has concluded. But first – a quick check of the grades.

Unsurprisingly, grades can be accessed in two clicks by visiting the tab of the same name under “Courses”. One more click is all it takes to understand how these grades have been earned.

8. Work on Assessments

Let’s say our student enjoys studying in the evening and has a lot of energy left after the live lecture. In that case, it’s time to tackle some assignments.

Since OPIT continually assesses its students instead of hitting them with one huge final, keeping up with assignments is crucial.

These assignments often call for teamwork, which Canvas makes easy. A visit to the “Collaborations” tab under “Courses” and a click on the “Start a New Collaboration” button can be the beginning of an incredibly fruitful collaboration.

OPIT students typically use WhatsApp to communicate outside the “official” Canvas and Slack platforms, so a quick message is enough to get all the teammates together.

9. Talk to a Career Advisor

OPIT students nearing the end of their academic journey at our institution typically have important decisions to make regarding their career paths. That’s why it’s perfectly normal to feel slightly anxious or overwhelmed at the end of the day.

So, let’s schedule a valuable one-on-one consultation with the Head of Career Services at OPIT before signing off. The unbelievably experienced Mike McCulloch is at our student’s disposal for any career-related concerns, guidance, or support.

10. Revel in a Day Well-Spent

At the end of such a day, all our students can do is pat themselves on the back. Here at OPIT, we’d like to believe we also have a part in this sense of achievement, thanks to the unparalleled flexibility, clarity, and support we offer.

But what will your typical day as an OPIT student look like? Start your academic journey at this prestigious institution to find out.


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How to Manage Your Time the Best: Tips From OPIT Coordinator
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
March 01, 2024

Online studying offers numerous benefits. You get to learn at your own pace (from the comfort of your home), access significantly more resources, and manage your schedule. But that last part isn’t always easy.

When left to your own devices, you might start procrastinating and losing track of time. Then, before you know it, finals are approaching, and you’re nowhere near prepared.

Luckily, we have a solution for this common challenge here at the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT)—or two solutions, to be precise.

One, there are no finals. You’re continually assessed by the incredible faculty, pushing you to engage with the material throughout the course. And two, OPIT’s amazing class coordinator, Sara Ciabattoni, is here to help you overcome specific challenges with procrastination and other issues (e.g., complex and overwhelming tasks).

For this guide, we asked Sara to share her top 10 time management tips. Since time is money, let’s dive in!

1. Reflect on Your Current Time Management Approach

Do you constantly feel overwhelmed and fail to keep up with your tasks? If so, something’s not working. It’s probably time to reassess your approach to time management. And by this, Sara doesn’t just mean your studying time. Instead, she implores you to reflect on how you usually manage time in your everyday life.

Become aware of your time management habits (both good and bad), and a more effective approach to studying is right around the corner.

Let’s say you excel at focusing in the morning but find it difficult to do so in the afternoon. In that case, leave your most demanding study tasks for the morning, aka your peak focus hours. The more time passes, the less complex your tasks should be.

Similarly, if you tend to procrastinate, your goal is to answer a single question – why?

Sometimes, the cause is something silly, such as the so-called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which keeps you glued to your screen. In other situations, the cause might be more serious (e.g., an innate fear of failure). Whatever the case, address these underlying issues promptly, as this is the only way to make the most out of your study time.

2. Create a Manageable Routine

No one can do it all at once (And no one should!). So, start by making a list of priorities and turning them into a to-do list. Make seven to-do lists, and you have a manageable weekly schedule that suits your day-to-day life.

If you struggle with prioritizing tasks, you can use the ABC method. Here’s an example to help you visualize this method in practice.

Let’s say you’re pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree (BSc) in Modern Computer Science at OPIT. The elective “Agile Development and DevOps” subject teaches you to implement software projects successfully.

For this subject, an “A” task would be to prepare for a specific real-world scenario developers encounter every day. You’ll experience several of these valuable and time-sensitive scenarios, making them tasks of the highest priority.

For a “B” task, you can practice using Microsoft Azure. This task is important but not as urgent as your “A” task.

Finally, a “C” task can entail working on your negotiation skills to help you convince team members to adopt a specific DevOps methodology. As you can probably guess, “C” tasks are tasks of lower priority, usually because they’re less time-sensitive.

3. Introduce Variety

Sure, this tip doesn’t directly impact your time management. However, it does play a huge role in whether you’ll stick to your studying routine.

If you always study in the same place and in the same way, you’re bound to get bored and lose motivation. So, try mixing things up a little.

For instance, instead of re-reading the course materials over and over again to memorize them, try turning them into a flowchart or a mind map. These handy visual tools can help you grasp concepts differently and make studying more engaging.

4. Take Advantage of All the Available Resources

OPIT prides itself on the wealth of resources available to students, each crafted from scratch. But these resources aren’t only concerned with studying. The OPIT Hub also contains helpful tools you can use to navigate your online studying journey.

One of these resources is a weekly planner designed to turn your priorities into a manageable weekly schedule. Like everything at OPIT, this planner is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your unique needs and preferences.

5. Connect With Others

At OPIT, we also set priorities. One of them is for our students to never feel alone. That’s why we offer an extensive support network to ensure you always have someone to turn to.

So, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel stuck or lost. Besides OPIT’s staff, you should connect with your peers and even form online study groups. This will help you keep up with your tasks in a more collaborative and supportive environment. And hey – you might even get to make new friends from all over the world!

6. Don’t Forget About Downtime

Creating a solid schedule isn’t about filling every available moment with a task. Sure, it’s important to get your work done. However, it’s equally crucial to prevent burnout. How can you do this? By including downtime in your schedule.

Of course, you can use your downtime however you see fit. But Sara suggests spending it with your loved ones whenever possible. This will boost your mood and overall well-being, making subsequent studying a breeze. It will also help you achieve the most coveted of all goals – a healthy work-life balance.

But don’t forget – “work” is still a key element of this balance. So, make sure the people in your life also know your schedule (and are willing to respect it).

7. Never Sacrifice Your Basic Needs

Sure, it might seem to you that you’ll get more done if you wake up super early. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Failing to get enough sleep can only make you less productive, both that day and in the long run.

So, make sure you leave enough time for a good night’s sleep in your schedule. For the best possible results, aim for seven to nine hours.

8. Avoid Jam-Packing Your Schedule

When it comes to estimating how much time you need to allocate for a specific task, remember this – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Overestimating the time you’ll need for a complex task trumps underestimating every single time. Why? If you underestimate the time you’ll need to complete a task, you’ll feel extremely stressed upon realizing that your deadline is approaching and the work is not yet completed. This will cause you to fall behind on your entire schedule or, even worse, rush through work and compromise its quality.

Overestimating, on the other hand, provides a safety net for unforeseen challenges. Finish the task(s) before the allocated time, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment like no other! But it’s OK even if you don’t, as there’s enough time for everything.

Another approach you can take is to break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then, you can allocate a shorter amount of time to each sub-task and feel great when you get it done.

9. Be Kind to Yourself

You can devise the perfect studying plan for the week with enough room for studying, revising, and relaxing. You can even go into the week refreshed, ready to take on any challenge. And yet, it can all fall apart the second that week begins. And that’s OK!

Some days just don’t go as planned. You might receive some bad news or encounter unexpected challenges that disrupt your schedule.

So, be kind to yourself if you’re going through one of these days. Remember that the day will pass just as quickly as it came, and you’ll be back on track in no time.

10. Measure (and Celebrate) Your Progress

How can you tell whether your schedule is truly working? By measuring your progress, of course! Format every task as a SMART goal, and you’ll always know where you stand.

Let’s see what this means using another subject at OPIT – “Web Development.”

  • Specific: “I will learn to create a domain hosting comparison report.”
  • Measurable: “I will create at least three reliable reports.”
  • Attainable: “I have already received the theoretical knowledge necessary for this task.”
  • Relevant: “Creating these reports will enhance my understanding of existing domain host options.”
  • Time-bound: “I will complete the three reports by the end of the week.”

If you succeed in completing these reports by the end of the week, give yourself a little reward. It’s crucial for you to celebrate your progress, no matter how small or big. This is the only way to stay motivated in the long run and maintain a positive mindset throughout your academic journey at OPIT.

There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

When it comes to student support, OPIT emphasizes a personal approach to every student. That’s why it’s crucial to remember that no single time management solution will help all students. After all, each student faces specific challenges, leads a unique lifestyle, and has an individual learning style.

However, as long as you combine Sara’s tips with methods that have proven successful for your specific circumstances (and preferences), you should have no issue excelling at online studying.


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The Dos and Don’ts of Studying Online
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
January 18, 2024

Adjusting to studying online is no easy task, especially if you’re used to a traditional classroom setting. But once you find your rhythm, you’ll realize that no traditional classroom can match the flexibility, convenience, and accessibility of online learning.

To help ease your success, Rosario Maccarrone, the Head of Student Services at the Open Institute of Technology, has compiled a detailed list of dos and don’ts of studying online. Stick to these guidelines, and you’ll excel at your studies as a full-time student or a working professional.

The Dos and Don’ts of Studying Online for Full-Time Students

Let’s say you’ve decided to commit to full-time online studies. Here’s what Rosario suggests for academic success.

The Dos

1. Find a Study Rhythm That Works for You

The best thing about studying online is that no one’s around to dictate your study schedule. It’s up to you to set your own learning pace and study hours. Find a steady study rhythm that aligns with your preferences, and your productivity will never falter.

2. Make a Schedule

Don’t get it twisted – a lack of a fixed class schedule doesn’t mean you should go without a schedule entirely. Keeping a schedule will help you stay organized, focused, and on track with your studies, which can be challenging when no one guides your daily routine. Your schedule should allocate time for classes (OPIT offers one live class per week for each course), revising, and, of course, taking it easy.

3. Keep a To-Do List

Just like a schedule, a to-do list can help you always stay on top of your game. Make it digital, and you can easily update it as you study or complete tasks on your computer.

4. Don’t Be Shy to Ask Questions

It’s perfectly OK to struggle with some parts of your online courses. However, it’s not OK to keep this to yourself out of shame or fear and struggle in silence. Your professors and tutors are there for you to guide you every step of the way. Remember this, and you’ll have no trouble asking questions when things get tricky.

5. Use All the Online Resources Your Program Offers

Just like your professors are there for you, so are the abundant online resources your university offers. Do a little research to get familiar with these resources and then make the most of them.

6. Collaborate With Your Classmates

You might not be able to see your peers in person, but you can—and should—communicate with them in a myriad of ways. Rosario suggests participating in chats during live sessions and taking advantage of every chance for group work. This will help you build a solid online community and nail your studies.

7. Join in on Online Campus Events

Studying is never just about learning. It’s also about meeting new people, making friends, and building a network. Online studying is no different; you’ll just do all of these incredible things online. So, make sure to keep up with your university’s virtual campus events and attend them to keep your studies (and life) more interesting.

8. Make a Study Spot

Let’s not sugarcoat it – learning from home often comes with a bunch of distractions. From your family talking in the background to the allure of your comfy bed, distractions are plenty. By making a designated study spot somewhere quiet, you’ll rid your study environment of disruptions and signal to your brain that it’s time to get down to work.

9. Take Care of Your Health

Taking care of your health is essential for excelling in all areas of life, and (online) studying is no different. So, remember to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep to stay sharp. Exercising (or just moving continuously) is especially important given the nature of online studies.

The Don’ts

1. Procrastinate

Telling you not to procrastinate when studying is by no means revolutionary advice. However, avoiding procrastination can be extra challenging when studying online, given the lack of immediate supervision.

But putting off practice and leaving studying to the last second can only increase your anxiety levels and lead to lower grades (none of which will help you have a successful online studying experience).

2. Underestimate the Effort Online Classes Need

Some students operate under the assumption that online classes are less demanding than traditional ones. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Treating online classes with the same seriousness as in-person ones is the only way to succeed in your virtual academic journey.

3. Cut Yourself Off From Classmates and Professors

Online studying can feel rather isolating. That is – only if you let it. Online universities like OPIT offer numerous ways to stay in touch with your classmates and professors (e.g., Slack, Canvas discussions, and WhatsApp groups), and that’s precisely what you should do.

4. Hold Back From Asking for Help

This guide has already covered the importance of asking your professors questions. But if you feel stuck, don’t limit yourself to professors only. At OPIT, you can also ask your class coordinator or a tutor for help with anything course-related.

5. Neglect Taking Time Out for Yourself

Some students underestimate the effort necessary for online classes. At the same time, others go all out when presented with the seemingly endless possibilities of online learning. If you fall under the second category, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. This is as important as studying efficiently, as it allows you to prevent burnout.

6. Ignore Your Mental Health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical well-being. If you struggle emotionally, you should never ignore it. Your friends, family, or your university’s counseling services can help you find the best way forward. But first, you need to ask for help.

7. Miss Out on Making Connections With Peers

The beauty of online studying is the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. OPIT alone has students from over 40 countries worldwide. Connect with them, and you’ll broaden your perspective while potentially forming meaningful connections.

Of course, you should also enjoy face-to-face interactions whenever possible.

The Dos and Don’ts of Studying Online for Working Students

Thanks to online studies, it’s never too late to go back to school. You can do so even after working for a few years, as this format allows you to pursue a new career path or enhance your skills while still earning an income.

Of course, you can also choose to work and study at the same time immediately after graduating from high school.

Whatever the case, here’s what Rosario suggests doing (and not doing).

The Dos

1. Balance Your Work and Study Time

When you have both work and studies, you must allocate your time wisely. Creating a realistic schedule that you can keep up with daily is step one.

2. Talk to Your Boss About Supporting Your Study Goals

Most bosses are highly supportive of their employees’ professional development. After all, your personal growth can only positively reflect on your company. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your boss about your studies.

With some luck, you’ll be able to schedule shifts around your classes, take days off for studying (or taking exams), and even study at work during downtime.

3. Strive for Flexibility at Work

If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that most jobs can be done from home (and done successfully). So, if possible, switch to working from home, as this will save you a lot of time. Just think of it this way – no more getting ready and commuting to and from work.

4. Connect With Colleagues in Similar Situations

Balancing work and studies can sometimes feel overwhelming. Connect with colleagues who are also going through the same thing (or did in the past), and you’ll get all the encouragement you need to keep pushing forward.

5. Grab Chances to Build Skills for Work and School

Let’s face it – most people study to be able to find a decent job. If you’re already working in your desired field – perfect! Seize every chance to apply your practical skills in your studies. Even if you aren’t currently working in your desired field, there are always skills you can learn to benefit your studies and current (and future) career.

6. Set Realistic Study Goals

Doing (or trying to do) too much can bring you no good. So, set realistic study goals that align with your work life. For instance, studying for three hours a day will be a Herculean task when working overtime but a breeze on your day off.

7. Talk to Your Professors

Just like you should let your boss know you’re studying, you should also inform your professors that you’re working. This way, they might be able to make some accommodations for you if your work is squeezing your study time.

8. Keep Your Study Area Separate

Let’s say you work from home. If so, make sure you have separate “work” and “study” areas. This will help you maintain a clear boundary between your professional and academic responsibilities.

9. Find Ways to Manage Stress

Juggling work and studying can be rather stressful. Finding a way (or ways) to manage this stress is critical to successfully keeping up with both responsibilities. Meditating, exercising, taking a walk, spending more time with friends, or taking up a hobby are just some of the methods that might work for you.

Taking regular breaks is also an excellent way to manage stress as well as remain focused on your work or studies.

The Don’ts

1. Let School Stress Affect Your Work Performance

If you’re already working in your dream field, remember that studying is only there to enhance your skills and knowledge. In other words, don’t let academic stress affect your work performance, as this can only jeopardize your future in your dream career. It’s all about prioritizing correctly.

2. Sacrifice Sleep or Good Health Habits

Juggling work and studies is no excuse to fall into bad health habits, including sacrificing sleep. Not only will this affect you physically and mentally, but it will also affect your performance in both fields. Talk about a lose-lose scenario!

3. Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Your support network is all you need to navigate any challenge effortlessly. And with both working and studies, you know you’ll have no shortage of those. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the people around you, whether to simply listen to you vent or help with a specific task.

4. Let Your Studies Take Over Your Personal Time

For most people, off time is a chance to rest and recharge. However, for students, a part of this time must be dedicated to studying. But the key word here is “part.” Don’t let your studies consume all of your personal time, as this is a one-way ticket to burnout.

5. Miss Out on Networking in Your Field

If there’s one piece of advice every university (online or offline) will give you, it is network, network, network. If you’re already working in your field, you’re in a unique position to do this even before completing your studies. So, take every chance to meet new people and open up new doors for your career.

6. Neglect Seeking Mutual Work-Study Benefits

Your job and studies can likely benefit each other in more ways than one. By neglecting to explore these avenues, you might miss out on valuable opportunities.

For instance, let’s say you’re getting your Bachelor’s degree in Digital Business from OPIT and working in social media management. Modules like “Digital Marketing” and “Digital Platforms and Ecosystems” could directly contribute to your role (and a promotion). At the same time, your practical experience will help you breeze through most of the course material.

This is just one of the ways your studies can open new doors at your work.

7. Overcommit Socially

Your time is precious. As much as it’s important not to use it solely for work and studying, it’s also crucial to not overcommit socially. Talk to your friends and family (especially those with no similar experiences) and set realistic expectations about your availability. Prioritize quality over quantity in your social interactions, and you’ll never feel like you’re missing out.

The Biggest Do: Study at OPIT

As you’ll learn from this list, everyone at OPIT knows what our students need to succeed on and off campus. And everyone at OPIT, from Rosario to your professors, is more than eager to support you in this journey. Apply to study at OPIT and experience what quality studies, academic assistance, and career guidance can do for you firsthand.

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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.

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