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New Data Science and Security Course Unveiled

A new course at Liverpool Hope University could help you secure one of the best-paid jobs in computer science. 

And you could also find yourself in great demand among employers.

The postgraduate offering from Hope is a ‘PG Certificate’ in Data Science and Security - and when it launches in January it’ll be taught entirely online. 

A PG Certificate is often known as a ‘mini Master’s’, and is perfect for anyone looking for a shorter postgraduate course than a standard full-time Master’s degree. 

Hope also sees the PG Cert as a route into full MScs in either Cybersecurity or Data Science - and because employees with specialties in both ‘Data Science’ and ‘Security’ are in high demand across the globe, it could be the starting point for a lucrative career. 

Course leader Dr Mark Greenwood, from the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at Hope, explains: “Every facet of industry life is now centered on data, and how you use that data to improve performance. 

“All enterprises will need cybersecurity experts and data scientists. And if they don't, then they're making a big mistake as a business or institution. 

“A huge number of people are going to be working in these subjects in the next decade or so and that means that we’re talking about very important skill sets that will be in great demand. 

“What’s more, data scientists and cybersecurity experts are currently among the best paid professionals working in the software or IT industries.

“With this course we hope to introduce individuals to the key concepts in Data Analytics and Security and to prepare them, through a mix of theoretical and practical learning, for life in this rapidly-expanding market.”

Dr Greenwood, who has returned to university teaching after spending 25 years working in the telecommunications industry, explains: “The need for good data science, and the associated requirement for data security, is present in almost every aspect of modern life.

“For instance, in e-commerce, vendors stay one step ahead of the competition by building recommender systems that stimulate purchases. On Netflix, data science algorithms suggests films or TV programmes that you might want to watch, based on your viewing habits, with very good accuracy.

“As important as the amazing things that we can do with data analytics is the importance of protecting that data.

“First and foremost, whenever you have data, you'll have people that want to access it without permission; If you're a bank, that means protecting customers’ personal details, or if you’re a hospital, it means securing medical records.

“This need for security is obviously brought into sharp focus by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

“This science pervades almost every facet of modern life.”

The course itself runs for 12 months and is studied part time. In Higher Education terms, it comprises 60 Level 7 credits, split into four models of 15 credits each. 

Students will learn how to perform Data Analytics using modern statistical tools and they’ll also be introduced to Artificial Intelligence using the ‘Python’ programming language. 

There are also modules on Big Data and Cloud Computing, while students will also learn the essentials of Security and Data Protection, covering elements such as cryptography, authentication, and the practical implementation of security in cloud based applications.

Dr Greenwood, however, is quick to point out that you don’t necessarily need to be a mathematician to thrive on the course.

He reveals: “People who become good data scientists are often Jack-of-all-trades because there’s such a vast array of problems to solve. You might have mathematicians, who are highly statistically-minded, but you would also see programmers who think functionally and sequentially. 

“With this course, you have to be prepared to understand a little bit of the mathematics, but not a vast amount; and you don’t have to be a calculus wizard. We will build the foundations to take a non-mathematician, or non-computer scientist, up to where they can think like a data scientist

“And to really succeed in the job you need to have a spectrum of skills, because data science is interesting, and useful, to far more people than just computer scientists and mathematicians.

“For instance, I myself was a medical scientist who only became interested in software as a tool to analyse experimental results. Data science should be interesting to anyone who needs to use their information to solve problems or to describe situations.”

The Royal Society last year revealed how ‘Demand for workers with specialist data skills like data scientists and data engineers has more than tripled over five years (+231%) …’ whilst ‘ … demand for all types of workers grew by only 36% over the same period’. 

Meanwhile a recent global information security workforce study suggests that there could be around 100,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the UK by 2022.  

Britain is projected to create an average of 56,000 Big Data jobs annually through 2020, with the rest of the world following suit

** You can find more details about the course - which is assessed by a 50/50 mix of online exams and coursework -

 


Published on 02/12/2020