What does it mean when we at XU Exponential University speak of studying digitization? In the following blog article, we would like to show you what digitization means for our world and how we are building our study programs that will accompany students into the future.
What is digitization?
First of all, it is important to understand what digitization actually is. The simplest description is transformation, a process that transforms existing things, such as a cassette or a letter. Music runs online through a cloud and is hardly ever owned by anyone anymore and a letter has evolved into many text messages, photos or even video recordings. These two simple examples from everyday life are only a small part of the digital change. Digitization marks a ‘profound economic and social change’ that is often so subtle that it is difficult to understand.
With the transformation from analogue to digital, networking also goes hand in hand. To follow the example of communication: Thanks to digital networking, images and videos flow seamlessly back and forth within a family, for example, and are equally available to everyone. Holiday photos taken on 5 different devices synchronize directly to a large collection of data that can be accessed by everyone at any time from the cloud. We have not only networked communication but also many different processes with each other. In this family home, where all smartphones, cameras and computers form one single network, surveillance devices, vacuum cleaners and thermostats can also be connected. The result is a smart home network that heats the house to the right temperature in winter, for example, just before the family comes home.
What happens in the household has long since arrived in the economy. Individual processes are linked together, all company data is no longer only available at the head office but is available to everyone, at any given moment and in real time.
As a university, we naturally ask ourselves what these changes do to us and what they mean for the future of our students. XU Exponential University was founded with the principle of being the first university for digitization and technology in Germany. Since then we have grown: Today there are five bachelor’s degree programs and two master’s degree programs at the XU Exponential University that deal from different perspectives with digitization – from coding to marketing.
What does digitization mean for a degree program?
No matter whether you are interested in studying software development or social media marketing, digitization affects everyone and changes the social and technical skills that are becoming important.
For example, in our Bachelor’s program in Digital Business, you’ll find the basics and elements of business administration: students learn about business processes, investment models and organisational theories. But beyond that, it is important to us that the connection to practice remains. Our degree programme in Digital Business is a course of study for all movers and shakers who want to help shape the companies of tomorrow. You will learn what digital business models look like, what systems are used and what communication and leadership looks like. Which modern collaboration methods are there? How can we integrate the ideas of Design Thinking and Lean Startup into our daily working life? How do transformation processes affect employees and managers, how does the cooperation between product development and Go-To-Market work, how are online customer acquisition methods such as Data Driven Marketing combined with traditional B2B sales? These and many more are the questions that arise with digitization in business studies and demand completely new skills from graduates.
What to study and how to study digitization?
Depending on the topic you are interested in and your main focus, there are different perspectives to study digitization.
For example, if you like to work with computers, you like abstract thinking and you want to build products that will be used tomorrow, software development can be an exciting field for you. In contrast to computer science studies, our bachelor’s program at the adesso School of Coding and Software Engineering has a very strong practical orientation and introduces you to current programming languages from the first semester on. So you can quickly program your own apps and learn firsthand about the implications of UI and UX. The way our course is structured aims to impart skills in digitization: Instead of frontal teaching, interactive lectures, hackathons, sprints, and many projects take place at XU Exponential University. In this way, our students learn to work autonomously at an early age and apply communication and group methods such as agile or Kanban.
If you loved math at school, identify as an Excel nerd, and are able to keep the big picture in mind, a study program in Data Science might be right for you. This is a brand new course of study, because the profession of a Data Scientist has not been around for long. Here we are concerned with how new business ideas can be derived from data, how future forecasts can be made and products can be analysed. The methods used in data science are in themselves very flexible and the way they work is often project-based. Thus, even the way of teaching with different projects and specialization modules such as Big Data, Machine Learning or Cyber Security prepares our students for their future working life.
In this way we see our role as a university as a kind of springboard for our students. More than providing our students with answers to current questions, our education enables them to build up their knowledge and skills themselves in order to stay one step ahead of the future.