Large portions of modern life revolve around computers. Many of us start the day by booting a PC and we spend the rest of our time carrying miniaturized computer devices around – our smartphones.

Such devices rely on complex software environments and programs to meet our personal and professional needs. And computer science deals with precisely that.

The job of a computer scientist revolves around software, including theoretical advances, software model design, and the development of new apps. It’s a profession that requires profound knowledge of algorithms, AI, cybersecurity, mathematical analysis, databases, and much more.

In essence, computer science is in the background of everything related to modern digital technologies. Computer scientists solve problems and advance the capabilities of technologies that nearly all industries utilize.

In fact, this scientific field is so broad that explaining what is computer science requires more than a mere definition. That’s why this article will go into considerable detail on the subject to flesh out the meaning behind one of the most important professions of our time.

History of Computer Science

The early history of computer science is a fascinating subject. On the one hand, the mechanics and mathematics that would form the core disciplines of computer science far predate the digital age. On the other hand, the modern iteration of computer science didn’t start until about two decades after the first digital computer came into being.

When examining the roots of computer science, we can go as far back as the antiquity era. Mechanical calculation tools and advanced mathematical algorithms date back millennia. However, those roots are too loosely connected to computer science.

The first people who started exploring the foundations of what is computer science today were Wilhelm Schickard and Gottfried Leibniz in early and late 17th century, respectively.

Schickard is responsible for the design of the world’s first genuine mechanical calculator. Leibniz is the inventor of a calculator that worked in the binary system, the universally known “1-0” number system that paved the way for the digital age.

Despite the early advances in the mentioned fields, it would be another 150 years after Leibniz before mechanical and automated computing machines saw industrial production. Yet, those machines weren’t used for any other purpose apart from calculations.

Computers became more powerful only in the 20th century. Like many other technologies, this branch saw rapid development during the last one hundred years, with IBM creating the first computing lab in 1945.

Yet, while plenty of research was happening, computer science wasn’t established as an independent discipline. That would take place only during the 1960s.

Early Developments

As mentioned, the invention of the binary system could be considered a root of computer science. This isn’t only due to the revolutionary mathematical model – it’s also because the binary number system lends itself particularly well to electronics.

The rise of electrical engineering moved forward inventions like the electrical circuit, the transistor, and powerful data storage solutions. This progress gave birth to the earliest electrical computers, which mostly found use in data processing.

It didn’t take long for massive companies to start using the early computers for information storage. Naturally, this use made further development of the technology necessary. The 1930s saw crucial milestones in computer theory, including the groundbreaking computational model by Alan Turing.

Not long after Turing, John von Neumann created a model of a computer that can store programs. By the 1950s, computers were in use in complex calculations and data processing on a large scale.

The rising demand made the binary machine language too unreliable and impractical. The successor, the so-called assembly language, soon proved just as lacking. By the end of the decade, the world saw the first program languages, which soon became the famed FORTRAN (Formula Translation) and COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language).

The following decade, it became obvious that computer science is a field of study in itself, rather than a subset of mathematical or physical disciplines.

Evolution of Computer Science Over Time

As technology kept progressing, computer science needed to keep up. The first computer operating systems came about in the 1960s, while the next two decades brought about an intense expansion in graphics and affordable hardware.

The combination of these factors (OS, accessible hardware, and graphical development) led to advanced user interfaces, championed by industry giants like Apple and Microsoft.

In parallel to these discoveries, computer networks were advancing, too. The birth of the internet added even more moving parts to the already vast field of computer science, including the first search engines that utilized advanced algorithms, albeit not at the same level as today’s engines.

Furthermore, greater computational capabilities created a need for better storage systems. This included larger databases and faster processing.

Today, computer science explores all of the mentioned facets of computer technology, alongside other fields like robotics and artificial intelligence.

Key Areas of Study in Computer Science

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, computer science grew in scope with the development of computational technologies. That’s why it’s no surprise that computer science today encompasses many areas that deal with every aspect of the technology currently imaginable.

To answer the question of what is computer science, we’ll list some of the key areas of this discipline:

  1. Algorithms and data structures
  2. Programming languages and compilers
  3. Computer architecture and organization
  4. Operating systems
  5. Networking and communication
  6. Databases and information retrieval
  7. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  8. Human-computer interaction
  9. Software engineering
  10. Computer graphics and visualization

As is apparent, these areas correspond with the historical advances in computational technology. We’ve talked about how algorithms predate the modern age by quite a lot. These mathematical achievements brought about early machine languages, which turned into programming languages.

The progress in data storage and the increased scope of the machines resulted in a need for more robust architecture, which necessitated the creation of operating systems. As computer systems started communicating with each other, better networking became vital.

Work on information retrieval and database management resulted from both individual computer use and a greater reliance on networking. Naturally, it didn’t take long for scientists to start considering how the machines could do even more work individually, which marked the starting point for modern AI.

Throughout its history, computer science developed new disciplines out of the need to solve existing problems and come up with novel solutions. When we consider all that progress, it’s clear that the practical applications of computer science grew alongside the technology itself.

Applications of Computer Science

Computer science is applied in numerous fields and industries. Currently, computer science contributes to the world through innovation and technological development. And as computer systems become more advanced, they are capable of resolving complex issues within some of the most important industries of our age.

Technology and Innovation

In terms of technology and innovation, computer science finds application in the fields of graphics, visualization, sound and video processing, mathematical modeling, analytics, and more.

Graphical rendering helps us visualize concepts that would otherwise be hard to grasp. Technologies like VR and AR expand the way we communicate, while 3D models flesh out future projects in staggering detail.

Sound and video processing capabilities of modern systems continue to revolutionize telecommunications. And, of course, mathematical modeling and analytics expand the possibilities of various systems, from physics to finance.

Problem-Solving in Various Industries

When it comes to the application of computer science in particular industries, this field of study contributes to better quality of life by tackling the most challenging problems in key areas:

  • Healthcare
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation

Granted, these aren’t the only areas where computer science helps overcome issues and previous limitations.

In healthcare, computer systems can produce and analyze medical images, assisting medical experts in diagnosis and patient treatment. Furthermore, branches of computer science like psychoinformatics use digital technologies for a better understanding of psychological traits.

In terms of finance, data gathering and processing is critical for massive financial systems. Additionally, automation and networking make transactions easier and safer.

When it comes to education and entertainment, computer science offers solutions in terms of more comprehensible presentation, as well as more immersive experiences. Many schools worldwide use digital teaching tools today, helping students grasp complex subjects with fewer obstacles compared to traditional methods.

Careers in Computer Science

As should be expected, computer science provides numerous job opportunities in the modern market. Some of the most prominent roles in computer science include systems analysts, programmers, computer research scientists, database administrators, software developers, support specialists, cybersecurity specialists, and network administrators.

The mentioned roles require a level of proficiency in the appropriate field of computer science. Luckily, computer science skills are easier to learn today – mostly thanks to the development of computer science.

An online BSc or MSc in computer science can be an excellent way to get prepared for a career in the most sought-after profession in the modern world.

On that note, not all computer science jobs are projected to grow at the same rate by the end of this decade. Profiles that will likely stay in high demand include:

  • Security Analyst
  • Software Developer
  • Research Scientist
  • Database Administrator

Start Learning About Computer Science

Computer science represents a fascinating field that grows with the technology and, in some sense, fuels its own development. This vital branch of science has roots in ancient mathematical principles as well as the latest advances like machine learning and AI.

There are few fields worth exploring more today than computer science. Besides understanding our world better, learning more about computer science can open up incredible career paths and provide an opportunity to contribute to resolving some of the burning issues of our time.

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Il Sole 24 Ore: 100 thousand IT professionals missing
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
May 14, 2024 6 min read

Written on April 24th 2024

Source here: Il Sole 24 Ore (full article in Italian)

Open Institute of Technology: 100 thousand IT professionals missing

Eurostat data processed and disseminated by OPIT. Stem disciplines: the share of graduates in Italy between the ages of 20 and 29 is 18.3%, compared to the European 21.9%

Today, only 29% of young Italians between 25 and 34 have a degree. Not only that: compared to other European countries, the comparison is unequal given that the average in the Old Continent is 46%, bringing Italy to the penultimate place in this ranking, ahead only of Romania. The gap is evident even if the comparison is limited to STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) where the share of graduates in Italy between the ages of 20 and 29 is 18.3%, compared to the European 21.9%, with peaks of virtuosity which in the case of France that reaches 29.2%. Added to this is the continuing problem of the mismatch between job supply and demand, so much so that 62.8% of companies struggle to find professionals in the technological and IT fields.

The data

The Eurostat data was processed and disseminated by OPIT – Open Institute of Technology. an academic institution accredited at European level, active in the university level education market with online Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the technological and digital fields. We are therefore witnessing a phenomenon with worrying implications on the future of the job market in Italy and on the potential loss of competitiveness of our companies at a global level, especially if inserted in a context in which the macroeconomic scenario in the coming years will undergo a profound discontinuity linked to the arrival of “exponential” technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics, but also to the growing threats related to cybersecurity.

Requirements and updates

According to European House Ambrosetti, over 2,000,000 professionals will have to update their skills in the Digital and IT area by 2026, also to take advantage of the current 100,000 vacant IT positions, as estimated by Frank Recruitment Group. But not only that: the Italian context, which is unfavorable for providing the job market with graduates and skills, also has its roots in the chronic birth rate that characterizes our country: according to ISTAT data, in recent years the number of newborns has fallen by 28%, bringing Italy’s birth rate to 1.24, among the lowest in Europe, where the average is 1.46.

Profumo: “Structural deficiency”

“The chronic problem of the absence of IT professionals is structural and of a dual nature: on one hand the number of newborns – therefore, potential “professionals of the future” – is constantly decreasing; on the other hand, the percentage of young people who acquires degrees are firmly among the lowest in Europe”, declared Francesco Profumo, former Minister of Education and rector of OPIT – Open Institute of Technology. “The reasons are varied: from the cost of education (especially if undertaken off-site), to a university offering that is poorly aligned with changes in society, to a lack of awareness and orientation towards STEM subjects, which guarantee the highest employment rates. Change necessarily involves strong investments in the university system (and, in general, in the education system) at the level of the country, starting from the awareness that a functioning education system is the main driver of growth and development in the medium to long term. It is a debated and discussed topic on which, however, a clear and ambitious position is never taken.”

Stagnant context and educational offer

In this stagnant context, the educational offer that comes from online universities increasingly meets the needs of flexibility, quality and cost of recently graduated students, university students looking for specialization and workers interested in updating themselves with innovative skills. According to data from the Ministry of University and Research, enrollments in accredited online universities in Italy have grown by over 141 thousand units in ten years (since 2011), equal to 293.9%. Added to these are the academic institutions accredited at European level, such as OPIT, whose educational offering is overall capable of opening the doors to hundreds of thousands of students, with affordable costs and extremely innovative and updated degree paths.

Analyzing the figures

An analysis of Eurostat statistics relating to the year 2021 highlights that 27% of Europeans aged between 16 and 74 have attended an entirely digital course. The highest share is recorded in Ireland (46%), Finland and Sweden (45%) and the Netherlands (44%). The lowest in Romania (10%), Bulgaria (12%) and Croatia (18%). Italy is at 20%. “With OPIT” – adds Riccardo Ocleppo, founder and director – “we have created a new model of online academic institution, oriented towards new technologies, with innovative programs, a strong practical focus, and an international approach, with professors and students from 38 countries around the world, and teaching in English. We intend to train Italian students not only on current and updated skills, but to prepare them for an increasingly dynamic and global job market. Our young people must be able to face the challenges of the future like those who study at Stanford or Oxford: with solid skills, but also with relational and attitudinal skills that lead them to create global companies and startups or work in multinationals like their international colleagues. The increasing online teaching offer, if well structured and with quality, represents an incredible form of democratization of education, making it accessible at low costs and with methods that adapt to the flexibility needs of many working students.”

Point of reference

With two degrees already starting in September 2023 – a three-year degree (BSc) in Modern Computer Science and a specialization (MSc) in Applied Data Science & AI – and 4 starting in September 2024: a three-year degree (BSc) in Digital Business, and the specializations (MSc) in Enterprise Cybersecurity, Applied Digital Business and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI), OPIT is an academic institution of reference for those who intend to respond to the demands of a job market increasingly oriented towards the field of artificial intelligence. Added to this are a high-profile international teaching staff and an exclusively online educational offer focused on the technological and digital fields.

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Times of India: The 600,000 IT job shortage in India and how to solve it
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
May 2, 2024 3 min read

Written on April 25th 2024

Source here: Times of India 

The job market has never been a straightforward path. Ask anyone who has ever looked for a job, certainly within the last decade, and they can tell you as much. But with the rapid development of AI and machine learning, concerns are growing for people about their career options, with a report from Randstad finding that 7 in 10 people in India are concerned about their job being eliminated by AI.

 Employers have their own share of concerns. According to The World Economic Forum, 97 million new AI-related jobs will be created by 2025 and the share of jobs requiring AI skills will increase by 58%. The IT industry in India is experiencing a tremendous surge in demand for skilled professionals on disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, cybersecurity and, according to Nasscom, this is leading to a shortage of 600,000 profiles.

 So how do we fill those gaps? Can we democratize access to top-tier higher education in technology?

These are the questions that Riccardo Ocleppo, the engineer who founded a hugely successful ed-tech platform connecting international students with global Universities, Docsity, asked himself for years. Until he took action and launched the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT), together with the Former Minister of Education of Italy, Prof. Francesco Profumo, to help people take control of their future careers.

OPIT offers BSc and MSc degrees in Computer Science, AI, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and Digital Business, attracting students from over 38 countries worldwide. Through innovative learning experiences and affordable tuition fees starting at €4,050 per year, OPIT empowers students to pursue their educational goals without the financial and personal burden of relocating.

The curriculum, delivered through a mix of live and pre-recorded lectures, equips students with the latest technology skills, as well as business and strategic acumen necessary for careers in their chosen fields. Moreover, OPIT’s EU-accredited degrees enable graduates to pursue employment opportunities in Europe, with recognition by WES facilitating transferability to the US and Canada.

OPIT’s commitment to student success extends beyond academics, with a full-fledged career services department led by Mike McCulloch. Remote students benefit from OPIT’s “digital campus,” fostering connections through vibrant discussion forums, online events, and networking opportunities with leading experts and professors.

Faculty at OPIT, hailing from prestigious institutions and industry giants like Amazon and Microsoft, bring a wealth of academic and practical experience to the table. With a hands-on, practical teaching approach, OPIT prepares students for the dynamic challenges of the modern job market.

In conclusion, OPIT stands as a beacon of hope for individuals seeking to future-proof their careers in technology. By democratizing access to high-quality education and fostering a global learning community, OPIT empowers students to seize control of their futures and thrive in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

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