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.

JISC Digital Capability Model

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 - Autumn 2019 cohort


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 three optional two-hour face-to-face 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 through a MOOC, 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 in Excel, VBA, and data driven presentations in Excel. A data analysis MOOC takes a more in-depth view into asking the right questions, statistical modelling and how to interpret data.

Level 1 and 2 course content (PDF)

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, R Statistics Essential Training or how to ‘mine’ data using various packages.  Visualisation skills are delved into in depth and we re-visit the data analysis MOOC from Option 2.

Level 3 course content (PDF)


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

  • Cohort 9 (professional services staff) - start date 24th September 2019
  • Cohort 10 (staff and students)               - start date 15th October 2019
  • Cohort 11 (staff and students)               - start date 14th November 2019
  • Cohort 12 (SRA staff only)                        - start date 8th October 2019
  • Cohort 13 (SRA staff only)                        - start date 10th October 2019
  • Cohort 14 (staff and students)               - start date 25th September 2019
  • Cohort 15 (students)                                  - start date 2nd October 2019
  • Cohort 16 (staff and students)               - start date 14th January 2020
  • Cohort 17 (staff and PG students)        - start date 16th January 2020
  • Cohort 18 (staff and PG students)        - start date 20th January 2020
  • Cohort 19 (staff and PG students)        - start date 21st January 2020
  • Cohort 20 (staff and PG students)        - start date 23rd January 2020
  • Cohort 21 (staff and students)               - start date 02nd December 2019
  • Cohort 22 (Law staff only)                        - start date 24th October 2019


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