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Earn a Data Science, Artificial Intelligence Area Associate Degree

The Technological University “El Retoño” is the first BIS (Bilingual, International, and Sustainable) technological university in Mexico and is distinguished by its commitment to innovation, technology, and sciences. For this, the University will open the first academic program in the country related to data science and artificial intelligence.

Background

The great advances in science and technology demand the permanent renewal of study programs and the opening of new careers at a professional level. The management of a new option of studies at the Associate Degree level is a process that leads to the careful articulation of several stages, including preliminary studies, labor analysis of the environment, the definition of the professional competencies, validation of the training project, production of the study program, approval of the program, and its implementation (CGUTyP, 2015).

The methodology established by the Technological and Polytechnical Universities Direction to generate the curricula of a new educational program consists of carrying out a workshop with employers, supervisors, and experts in the area where the graduate will work in the labor market. The objective of this multidisciplinary group is to collect reliable information about the competencies, abilities, knowledge, skills, and attitudes that the professional must possess to perform successfully in the labor field (CGUTyP, 2015).

Profession Overview

The Data Science, Artificial Intelligence Area Associate Graduate is a professional with knowledge and skills to develop the activities of pre-production, production, and post-production of creative content in an efficient and functional way. The specialists gathered in the workshop identified the key tasks of the sector and grouped them by productive function. Based on this classification, the general purpose of the profession in data science was formulated:

  • Integrate data collection, organization, and processing solutions using databases, programming languages, libraries, and specialized tools, process automation, and service implementation for data consumption and contribute to decision making.
  • Develop computational learning solutions by identifying and modeling data patterns and generating products, as well as documenting and communicating the project to automate processes and make decisions.

Labor Field

The Data Science, Artificial Intelligence Area Associate Degree may work at the local level, regional, national and international, as well as in any organization in areas related to technology solutions; software; digital marketing; financial and banking institutions; stores wholesale; discount department stores; warehouse clubs; the INEGI; the SAT, among others.

Opportunity

Offering the first educational program in this area will allow the University to graduate talent for a growing industry in data science, but in a scenario where there was no training and preparation at the associate or bachelor level until now.

The above will make the UTR a benchmark and leader in this sector, in which the efforts of experts from research centers, institutions such as INEGI and IEE Aguascalientes, and recognized companies in the market such as IBM, Siemens, Continental, and Capgemini, who collaborate closely with the University for the consolidation of this project.

The University maintains its social commitment to continue contributing to the development of the region by implementing actions aligned with Industry 4.0⁠ — innovation for our education.

Teaching alternatives during the pandemic: Aula Virtual as an educational tool

Nowadays the world has been in constant change. We must readapt ourselves to the new needs that arise in the tasks that are performed every day. This is mainly due to the fact that the human being’s objective is to look for changes that allow pertinent and adequate growth.

With the arrival of the pandemic caused by the SARS COV2 virus, most universities with a face-to-face model faced the challenge of continuing with classes despite the contingency. Although with today’s technological tools it should not be a major problem to find a solution for non-face-to-face classes, it is important to say that both, students and teachers, were not prepared to face the situation. In addition, at Technological University of the North of Aguascalientes (UTNA) there was only one platform, which was used to take the exit exams.

Due to the above, we worked on a way to solve these problems and consequently, we adopted a free software platform known as Moodle that later was considered as the principal platform used by the university, this program is called “Aula Virtual”.

What does “Aula Virtual” mean?

Aula Virtual is a digital medium based on the Moodle platform, in which a process of knowledge exchange between student/teacher or vice versa that is carried out. This is achieved thanks to the features and applications that are presented in this work tool, since it allows generating various types of activities to continue with the development of classes.

Since the implementation of this system, it has been possible to visualize some changes in the paradigm of traditional teaching. One of these advantages is that the student can access the virtual classroom when it is required, since asynchronous class sessions can be held. This platform has other benefits, however, not everything was so easy at the beginning, as not all students and teachers were prepared for this great change. So, we worked with the required strategies to help them in this transition.

First, we worked with a course for teachers, in which we sought to train them to control and manage the basic aspects of the platform. In this training course, a methodology was taught so that the materials designed for learning in the virtual classroom would contain important elements for designing quality courses. Subsequently, a second course was developed in which more specific topics were addressed and some other functionalities of the virtual classroom were taught so that teachers could manage these resources and thus improve the efficiency in the use of the virtual classroom itself.

Within these instructions, we worked on the importation of activities, management of rubrics for grading tasks, activities and projects, as well as teamwork and some other activities. It is worth mentioning that in this collective work, the product was raised by the users themselves, in this case the teachers, that took a lot of time to design an exam and after, they were able to solve and design activities without any difficulty.

Some of the colleagues mentioned that an evaluation instrument of 20 items could take up to 2 hours to complete. Therefore, the virtual classroom support department, began to look for alternatives to optimize the time used in this activity, and this led to the creation of a template that would make the exams easier and faster. This template was developed in part by people from the Moodle community and the remaining work was done within the University. Now with this template it is possible to make any type of question in Moodle and the importation of the questions to the platform is faster and more transparent; so now, it saves a lot of time when designing the quizzes by the teachers.

In this short time that we have been working with this educational platform, we have seen meaningful progress in the way of teaching classes, and several teachers have expressed their relish for the system and have made proposals to continue using it even once we return to face-to-face classes. Some of these advances are that teachers have more complete material for teaching classes and, above all, didactic material that can be useful to complement learning. And students say that they are learning more and can use additional resources that have helped them to a better understanding of some topics.

As it was mentioned at the beginning, this platform can be used by anyone and can be customized and fit to any institutions’ needs. To achieve our goal, improvements have been implemented to extend the usage of the platform and thus benefit the university community. Some of these improvements range from allowing the visualization of assignments without the need to download them and adding comments to them by sharing workspaces on the cloud such as Google Drive, which allows hosting heavy didactic materials without the need to feed platform resources. Although there are endless applications, each institution is in charge of managing the ones that best suit its needs.

Finally, we can say that the current pandemic brought something satisfactory, and this is our educational tool that once seemed very far away or something that only prestigious universities could afford. But now, it is a reality and we will be working on continuous improvement so that every day we can offer better technological tools.

Tips for Building an Online Portfolio that Will Make You Stand Out as a Developer

Despite the pandemic, the job market in certain specialisms is still candidate-led (i.e. there are more vacancies than qualified candidates to fill them). In the US, there is a significant shortage of web developers and full-stack developers.

Despite this shortage, it is still important that you are able to outshine other candidates. But how can you make sure that your application and overall profile is unique and makes you stand out from the crowd?

When it comes to developer roles, the evidence as to how good you are is fairly easy to show. These types of roles nearly always result in a tangible output that can be used as an example of what you can do. Therefore, you could potentially create a portfolio to showcase your previous work to use when applying for new roles. This process would usually involve creating a unique website that acts as a digital representation both of you as a professional/expert and as a person.

Here’s our top tips for building your online portfolio:

Keep it simple: This may seem counterintuitive but you want your work to be at the center, rather than cramming the site with swathes of customized and niche features. Simple can still look great and work seamlessly.

Be selective: It is natural to want to display all your work, but you will only have the viewer’s attention for a short amount of time. Therefore, make sure you select your most successful and unique projects.

Focus on your homepage: First impressions count, so make sure that your homepage is relatively clear and not cluttered. Essentially, you want to be able to convey who you are and what you do as quickly and succinctly as possible. Including a photo is a great idea as it immediately gives that human element.

Don’t forget the user experience: This is always a priority when building websites, so your own portfolio site should be no different. Make the site easy to read, simple to navigate, and ensure accessibility levels are high. Also, make sure it works effectively on various devices.

Make it easy for people to contact you: The primary objective of the portfolio website is to encourage people to hire you. So, you need to make it clear how they can contact you. This should be a telephone number and email address as a minimum. You may opt for a separate contact page, but you should ideally have contact details on your homepage instead/as well.

Be different: Trying something new or different to all the other similar sites will make people take notice. It is perfectly possible to have an intuitive, good looking, and easy-to-use site that doesn’t look as though you have simply followed a template. This can also be used to express your personality.

Other ways to stand out

Building a portfolio website is just one of the many ways in which you can make your application stand out from the rest. Other methods include ensuring that your LinkedIn page is full of positive endorsements, obtaining unique references (ideally from high-profile professionals in the sector), and using a unique and individually-tailored CV and cover letter for each role that you apply for.

You might consider working with an expert recruiter. If you are currently looking for work as a developer, Coltech are experienced specialists in the recruitment of IT professionals. We currently have a considerable number of job vacancies for a wide range of clients who are looking for outstanding candidates. Give our friendly experts a call or send them an email and improve your chances of landing that ideal next role? We can be contacted by phone on 020 3946 2721 or by email at info@coltech.io.

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