Information Services

Developing Your Data Skills

A six month blended programme for staff and students to develop your data skills no matter what your level of prior knowledge.

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Data is everywhere and is more complex than ever, and it’s important that our staff and students have the tools, skills and confidence to work efficiently with data – whether understanding it, analysing it or presenting it to colleagues.

The Developing Your Data Skills programme is framed around the Jisc Digital Capability Model, where data skills are included in the Information, Data and Media Literacies competence.

This has been the most useful course I've attended throughout my PhD, and having learned R, I can’t put into words how beneficial it has been during lockdown, thank you very much for offering the course!

Programme participant - 2019/2020


The programme is based around freely-available online self-study resources that have been watched, verified and collated into a step-through programme in Learn.

They are supplemented by four optional workshops to help embed learning, ensure you make the most of the resources, and encourage interaction and discussion. 

There is also an opportunity to undertake a project to access a dataset, cleanse and analyse it, and then present your data story in the final workshop as part of a group.


The programme offers three capability pathways to make it suitable for a variety of staff and students, irrespective of their prior level of knowledge. For each pathway, content is divided into three topics:

  • Introduction to Data Skills and Programming
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Presenting Your Data

Details of capability pathways (levels) and content included at each level are below.

Level 1 - Beginner

Designed for the beginner, by the end of the programme you’ll have a basic understanding of what data science is, how to do basic programming in Excel and R, Python or SQL. Statistics is introduced, taking you from entry level knowledge to that of around a beginner's statistics module on an undergraduate course. Data analysis and visualisation skills are also introduced.

Level 2 - Intermediate

Designed for intermediate learners who are already comfortable with statistics and Excel.  This course teaches data science from an Excel perspective and covers statistics and data cleaning in Excel, programming basics, an SPSS option, data driven presentations in Excel and Adobe Illustrator and a data ethics option.

Level 1 & 2 course content

Level 3 - Advanced

Designed for the advanced learner who is experienced with programming and statistics. This course builds upon topics covered in the programme so far and consolidates learning: Data science fundamentals, an advanced Excel and Analytics pathway, an R pathway, a SQL pathway, or two Python pathways, and how to ‘mine’ data using various packages. A data analysis MOOC takes a more in-depth view into asking the right questions, statistical modelling and how to interpret data. Visualisation skills are also delved into in depth.

Level 3 course content


The programme is intended for staff and students who would benefit from an introduction to data skills.


The programme runs over a six-month period. We estimate that learners will need to set aside on average about 1–2 hours per week to accomplish this, which is a total of 25–40 hours, depending on your level of note-taking or review. Everyone will work at different speeds.  The flexibility of the programme should make it possible to work around existing work and study commitments.

Current cohorts and start dates

Start dates for each cohort (subject to change):

Semester 1:

  • Cohort 63 - Student (UG & PT & PR) - 18th October 2023
  • Cohort 64 - Student (UG & PT & PR) - 1st November 2023
  • Cohort 65 - Student (UG & PT & PR) - 16th November 2023
  • Cohort 66 - Student (UG & PT & PR) - 29th November 2023

Semester 2:

  • Cohort 68 - Staff - 11th January 2024
  • Cohort 69 - Staff - 17th January 2024
  • Cohort 70 - Staff - 23rd January 2024
  • Cohort 71 - Staff - 25th January 2024
  • Cohort 72 - Staff - 31st January 2024


You will earn a Developing Your Data Skills certificate for your capability level if you complete all online learning and the data project.

Further information

To register your interest or for further information, please contact the Digital Skills and Training team by email.

Contact us 


Really enjoying the course. I'm spending most of my research time on data analysis and what I have learnt already has given me renewed confidence, especially with larger data sets than I'm used to.

Programme participant - Spring 2019 cohort


Hear from one of our professional services staff about their experience on the Developing Your Data Skills Programme:  

Video: Developing Your Data Skills Programme Participant Interview
Interview with Kay Douglas, School Liaison Associate, School of GeoSciences about her experience completing the Developing your Data Skills programme. Interview conducted in February, 2020.