The University of Southampton

Southampton’s Data Science Academy launches first online course

Published: 9 March 2017

Southampton’s world-leading data science team has developed an innovative professional programme that provides a powerful insight into applying data science to work.

Launched by Southampton’s Southampton’s Data Science Academy (SDSA), the online course equips students with the theoretical knowledge and technical skills for a career in data science.

The Fundamentals of Data Science is the first course provided by the Data Science Academy that was set up a year ago as a partnership between Southampton’s Web Science Institute and the Cambridge Education Group. It aims to bridge the data skills gap by providing research-informed, industry-focused education and training.

The SDSA is designing programmes to address the demands of the increasingly data-driven world by helping ambitious individuals to master the powerful tools of data science.

SDSA Director Dr Sepi Chakaveh, a member of Southampton Web and Internet Science Research Group, said the programme is directed at people wanting to start a career in data science or who are looking to learn how to apply data science to their current business challenges.

She said: “With the growing emergence of large datasets the SDSA recognised that there was a huge skills gap in understanding, interpreting and applying these datasets to provide solutions or products, so we embarked on designing a range of professional development courses that would address these issues and allow people to gain the skills required for commercial and economic gain both in the public and private sector.

“The Fundamentals of Data Science is the first of these courses and our first cohort has come to the end of the programme. We have just started our next six-week course with more than 30 students and are providing six hours of online tutorials and 39 hours of further study.”

The programme emphasises a hands-on approach to learning data skills by offering a number of interactive, online exercises that will teach students about:

• fundamental terminology and processes in data science • the technology landscape that helped fuel the data explosion • the tools data scientists use to unlock the hidden value of vast datasets • collecting, storing and managing data • the different sources of data • combining data to increase the potential insights • analysing data using Python • using different data visualisation techniques to report data science findings and improve the impact of these reports

Tutoring Coordinator Manuel León Urrutia said: "The tutoring team were highly engaged with the course, and enthusiastically provided pedagogical support to the students which, according to feedback, resulted in a positive learning experience for the students."

Following the success of the Fundamentals of Data Science programme, the SDSA is now developing further programmes in Data Science Literacy, Business Analytics, Management with Data Science, and Machine Learning through Big Data.

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