Artificial intelligence (AI) is key for many industries to deal productively with data. AI experts will be in demand on the labour market for many years. But how does one actually become an AI expert? We have compiled the current opportunities for studying artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is in more and more products and solutions - starting with Chatbots and digital assistants to software image recognition and autonomous driving vehicles. The importance of AI will increase and be used in more and more areas. Many universities and universities of applied sciences in Germany have now recognised the additional need for specialists with AI skills. The range of courses on offer in artificial intelligence is therefore also growing steadily.
On the definition of artificial intelligence
One of the current reasons why the demand for artificial intelligence is increasing is the successes in machine learning - in particular Deep Learning and Artificial neural networks are in the spotlight here. Yet these are only two small sub-areas of what artificial intelligence is all about. Choosing the right university is therefore not easy. A look at the chairs and curricula reveals that the concept and understanding of artificial intelligence is not always the same. No uniform definition underlying.
According to a study, there are currently (as of 2019) 192 professorships for artificial intelligence in Germany, totalling 75 Study programmes for Bachelor's and Master's degrees as well as a doctoral programme with a focus on artificial intelligence. As the Science Year 2019 proclaimed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is officially themed Artificial Intelligence, the number is expected to increase further.
Artificial intelligence as a subfield of data science
The object of research Artificial intelligence has been established for a comparatively long time. The first scientific events and essays on the topic date back to the late 1950s. One difficulty in the intended study of artificial intelligence is the definition of it itself. Since it is a subfield of Data Science there are also lectures and seminars on this topic in this context. The same applies to the study of computer science and robotics.
Reading tip: Data Science as a course of study: With all aspects of the "Data Scientist Training" we have dealt with in detail in a blog article.
Due to the lack of a uniform definition, there is no such thing as a single degree programme in artificial intelligence. Due to the Variety of content and application possibilities it is also questionable whether such a programme could actually comprehensively cover all aspects of the subject and whether this is in demand in practice. When choosing a degree programme, therefore, care should be taken to ensure that one's own interests and desired career guide the decision.
As an interdisciplinary study programme, the artificial intelligence programme builds on a correspondingly broad range of content from both technical and natural science disciplines as well as from the field of human sciences. These include:
- Human cognitive abilities (psychology and neurology)
- Informatics and Computer Science
The JKU Linz in Austria, one of the few universities in Europe that offers an exemplary overview of specific fields of study, can be found here. Artificial Intelligence as an independent degree programme offer. In addition to learning a programming language and a basic understanding of how algorithms work, the curriculum also includes a discussion of AI and society, i.e. the significance of artificial intelligence for society as a whole and the human-machine interfaces in everyday life and work contexts.
Duration and course of study
Basically, all Bachelor's degree programmes in the European area are standardised by the Bologna guidelines. Accordingly, degree programmes with overlaps to the study of artificial intelligence such as Machine Learning, Humanoid Robotics and Data Science, to name just a few, are also based on the Achievement of 180 ECTS- points including the writing of a Bachelor's thesis, respectively 120 ECTS and a master thesis.
The standard period of study is between 6 and 7 semesters (Bachelor) or 2 - 4 semesters (Master). Depending on the respective country and teaching institute, the composition and content of compulsory, advanced and elective modules as well as courses that must be successfully completed vary. Study-accompanying internships are the rule rather than the exception and, depending on motivation and curiosity, semesters abroad are also possible in principle.
In Germany, admission to a Bachelor's degree programme normally requires the General higher education entrance qualification, subject-related higher education entrance qualification or a comparable educational qualification, even if individual subjects in connection with the study of artificial intelligence may be restricted by a numerus clausus (NC). Preliminary internships may also be required. Since corresponding degree programmes are often offered in English in Europe, proof of language competence may be required.
Study programmes in Germany
In total, there are currently at least 29 Bachelor's degree programmes on the subject of artificial intelligence or subjects with a corresponding focus. Here is a selection of study options in Germany:
Bachelor Data Science & Scientific Computing from WS2020/2021 at Munich University of Applied Sciences
|Uni/University||Study programme||Start of study||Closing|
|Munich University||Data Science & Scientific Computing||Winter semester||Bachelor|
|Beuth University Berlin||Humanoid Robotics (restricted admission)||Winter semester||Bachelor of Engineering|
|University of Bielefeld||Cognitive informatics||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Bachelor|
|TH Deggendorf||Artificial intelligence||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Bachelor|
|TH Ingolstadt||Artificial Intelligence (restricted admission)||Winter semester||Bachelor|
|Stuttgart University||Data Science||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Bachelor|
|HDM Stuttgart||Media informatics (with a focus on artificial intelligence)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Bachelor|
|University of Marburg||Data Science (focus on machine learning possible)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Bachelor|
|TH East Westphalia-Lippe||Data Science (Dual Study)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Bachelor|
|Offenburg University||Applied Artificial Intelligence||Winter semester||Bachelor|
At least 46 degree programmes at German universities offer a Master's degree with an AI focus. In many cases, however, these are not purely artificial intelligence studies. Here is a selection:
|Uni/University||Study programme||Start of study||Closing|
|LMU Munich||Data Science (Prerequisite: Bachelor of Science in Statistics or Computer Science and very good English skills)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master|
|TU Munich (TMU)||Robotics, Cognition, Intelligence (Prerequisite: very good English skills)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master|
|University of Chemnitz||Data Science||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master|
|Darmstadt University||Data Science||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master Data Science|
|University of Mannheim||Data Science (focus: Data management, data mining and text mining, predictive analytics and statistics)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master of Data Science|
|University of Marburg||Data Science (focus: data mining, algorithms and data management)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master of Data Science|
|University of Potsdam||Data Science||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master|
|University of Bielefeld||Intelligent Systems and Data Science (each with a focus on AI, Machine Learning and Robotics)||Summer Semester/Winter Semester||Master|
|University of Tübingen||Machine Learning||Winter semester||Master|
While independent Master's programmes in artificial intelligence have been offered for some time, the comparatively small Bachelor's programme is also gradually growing. Here is a selection of worldwide locations and study opportunities:
- UPES (Dehradun, India) - Computer Science and Engineering with specialisation in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
- Morgan State University (Baltimore, USA) - Computer Science
- Savonia University of Applied Science (Kuopio; Finland) - Internet of Things
- Kozminski University (Warsaw, Poland) - Management and Artificial Intelligence
- University of Groningen (Groningen, Netherlands) - Artificial Intelligence
- Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - Artificial Intelligence
- University For Information Science and Technology (Ohrid, Macedonia) - Machine Intelligence and Robotics
Examples of Master's programmes abroad
- University of Bath Online (Bath, UK) Artificial Intelligence
- EPITA (Paris, France) Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence Systems
- University of Skövde (Norrmalm, Sweden) MSc in Intelligent Automation
- MIA Digital University (Barcelona, Spain) Master in Computer Science Specialisation in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
- Boston University (Boston, USA) MSc in Artificial Intelligence
Non-university institutions and study opportunities
In addition to studying artificial intelligence, there are numerous other ways to deal with the topic outside the university. First and foremost, there are AI online courses. Numerous Websites and platforms teach important skills and knowledge on artificial intelligence and its sub-areas. In addition to free courses, there are also paid courses, for example on the "Udemy" learning platform.
Non-university AI research institutes in Germany are:
- German Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
- Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: e.g. the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS; Fraunhofer Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Alliance; Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich- Hertz-Institut, HHI
- Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science e.V.: e.g. the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
- Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM)
- Cyber Valley" research network: Consisting of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen and companies such as Daimler, Bosch, Amazon and Facebook.
As well as associations:
- KI-Bundesverband e.V.
- Bitkom Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media e.V.
Due to the broad and interdisciplinary spectrum of skills, there are opportunities to start a career in almost all industries after successfully completing the degree. From the development of medical diagnostic software to process optimisation in industry and goods traffic to research institutes and software companies, there are opportunities in practically every area in which technology is used.
Studying artificial intelligence is demanding - but the job prospects are bright.
Studying artificial intelligence is one of the most future-proof subjects and the subsequent earning potential is also high. However, it is also clear that the course content is demanding. In addition, it is worthwhile to first consider your own intended professional career. The more precise the ideas and goals are, the easier it is to choose the right degree programme. Non-university institutions and learning opportunities offer a good introduction to the subject and should therefore be used as much as possible in advance.