Starting in January 2023, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) offers its students a new upskilling programme SKILLed AI. The programme is aimed at KTU students of all majors who want to learn more about the purpose, possibilities of use, and benefits of AI. SKILLed AI admission starts today; students in their second or third semester of undergraduate studies are eligible to apply.
In the recent decade, artificial intelligence (AI) has established itself in science, business, and even in people’s daily activities. We use chatbots, virtual assistants, and automated industrial devices, and, in some locations, even self-driving cars are being tested. All this leads to a growing demand for professionals with specific knowledge of AI. By the way, the know-how of AI is necessary not only for IT specialists.
“The goal of the SKILLed AI is to prepare specialists in the field of AI who would have the experience of writing scientific papers. During the programme, students will have the opportunity to apply AI knowledge in all fields of science, regardless of whether or not modules related to AI are included in their regular curriculum. In this way, the aim is to expand the applicability of AI and the career opportunities of students,” says Milda Kizelevičiūtė, Head of the KTU Career and Service Centre.
Agnė Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, Head of the KTU Artificial Intelligence Centre, and professor at the Faculty of Informatics points out that the SKILLed AI programme aimed at motivated KTU students who seek to acquire knowledge and competencies in how to create AI solutions using the latest methods and algorithms, considering today’s priorities for the application of AI.
“During the programme, “soft” competencies will also be developed, including AI and business ethics, intellectual property topics, and the psychology of communication. All this is necessary in order to substantiate, present (at scientific conferences, business representatives, etc.) and sell the created AI solutions,” says Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė.
Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė notes that although the job market currently lacks all kinds of AI specialists, the most needed are those possessing broader skills and knowledge in AI – not just programmers or data analysts.
“Of course, other competencies come with work experience, but the earlier one acquires analytical and critical thinking, creativity and complex problem solving, the better,” she says.
Participation in this programme can help in future career: AI competencies can be important for students of humanities, social sciences, and engineering (including IT students).
“Especially the latter, who have good programming basics and knowledge of AI theory, lack effective communication, critical thinking, leadership skills, as well as practical experience on how to efficiently plan time and work to achieve a result, how to refine the requirements of the AI solution being created, and how to solve the challenges that have arisen.
On the other hand, representatives of the humanities and social sciences lack knowledge about the increasingly widely used AI technologies, their capabilities, basic operating principles, and the importance of data. AI knowledge is useful for most professionals,” says Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė.
The new upskilling programme offered by KTU is diverse. In it, students will have the opportunity to communicate with companies, make valuable and exclusive contacts, participate in training, and hackathons, develop personal and subject-specific competencies and plan and manage a research career in cooperation with academic mentors from the AI sciences field.
“The network of students will expand with additional modules, they will also have informal meetings. All AI knowledge acquired in the programme will be applied by students in various projects. In addition, we will promote teamwork and interdisciplinary cooperation among the students from different faculties,” says Kizelevičiūtė emphasising the advantages of the programme.
Students’ curriculum will be expanded with study modules providing knowledge in the field of AI research. According to Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, it is very important that students will be able to conduct scientific research in the field of AI, evaluate its quality, and publish the results.
“Usually students start learning these skills during their PhD studies. In this programme, the participants will be able to acquire such competencies much earlier. Perhaps this will help them decide in which direction they are interested in growing: to become AI users, solution creators, or perhaps scientists in the field of AI,” says the KTU professor.
The new upskilling program SKILLed AI is available to KTU students of all faculties. It will run throughout the student’s undergraduate studies.
To be admitted to the SKILLed AI programme, the student should have passed the state matriculation exam in mathematics with a score of at least 75 and has had a cumulative university entrance score of at least 7. Those, applying in the autumn of 2023, will have had an average grade of the previous academic semester of not less than 7; the student will have no academic debt.
“The admission is open January 2–19. Students can apply by logging into their Academic Information System (AIS). On January 24–26, the selected candidates will be invited to motivational interviews,” says Kizelevičiūtė.
The student’s involvement in extracurricular activities, their experience in the field of AI and strong motivation will be among the qualities influencing the decision of the application board.
During the first year of the programme, the students will be introduced to AI topics and businesses working in this sector; in the second year, the development of personal and professional competencies will take place; in the third and fourth years, real-life solutions based on AI technologies will be implemented, the synergy between business and science developed. For more information, please visit the SKILLed AI website.
AI is a priority direction of scientific research at KTU. Almost two years ago, the AI Centre was established, which is responsible for the policy formation of AI research development at the university and the coordination of activities related to artificial intelligence. For several years now, the university has encouraged students to choose topics for their final projects related to AI applications, and awards scholarships to the authors of the best works.