Student Services

Learn data science

One student pointing towards screen and another at a computer

Demand for data on the up

More government agencies, international organisations, development agencies, NGOs, media outlets and publishers are calling for increased data sharing and the provision of open data.

It's been said that Britain is facing “explosive demand” for data science skills and its education system needs to change to keep up, according to an analysis commissioned by the Royal Society. Demand for data scientists and data engineers tripled over recent years.

Having these types of skills of using raw and unstructured data to determine trends, patterns and correlations in ways that can help inform actions, will be key to employability.

Recognising this, we want to help our students improve their skills in data science and analytics to make them more attractive in the job market and to help them gain confidence to pursue further postgraduate study in this area.

“We need students who have knowledge in a wide range of social science and humanities topics, but who can also work with data science and analytics to understand patterns and trends. There is a real disconnect between people who can communicate well and people that are good at data science. Our short courses aim to bridge that gap.”


What are the courses? 

In January 2022 we are offering three courses: one for beginners, which will focus on the R programming language, and two for more advanced users, covering advanced topics in R and Python. 

Who is it for?

Essex students studying at any level that that want to improve their data analytics and programming skills. The courses are also available to both University of Essex staff and alumni. If you already have a background in R and/or Python, you can take one of the more advanced Bootcamps. It is also possible to do both Bootcamps together if you want to learn advanced topics in both R and Python.

How will I study?


How long does it last?

Up to four hours a day, over five days, per course.

When is it?

10-14 January 2022

What else?

Our unique extracurricular data science courses are completely free-of-charge.  

These courses are both non-credit bearing and optional, but all Essex students who complete the course will have this noted on their transcripts.

Students will have direct access to an academic member of staff for live academic support hours so they can speak to someone directly to help them through the process.


What will I study?

Please note: the topics for the courses in January 2022 have not been confirmed and are subject to change.

Data Science for All: R for beginners

Day 1

  • What is R and R Studio
  • Introduction to R Studio GUI and basic functionality
  • How to start coding in R
  • Basic commands in R
  • What is Python and Python IDE/code editor
  • What is Google Colab and why we use it
  • How to start coding in Python on Colab
  • Basic commands and tricks in Colab
  • How to create your GitHub and commit
  • Organising your working directory
  • Announce project: dataset and task

Day 2

  • R syntax
  • Python syntax
  • Variables and tips on variable names
  • Data types
  • Data structures
  • Strings
  • Logic/booleans
  • Operators
  • If/else, while, for, functions
  • OOP: classes and inheritance

Day 3

  • Packages and libraries
  • Package installation from CRAN
  • Reading data into R
  • Package installation in colab using Pip
  • Different ways for reading data in Colab
  • Inspecting data structures
  • Dataframe and using in data analysis
  • Writing to files

Day 4

  • Plotting in R
  • Lines, scatterplot, piecharts, bars
  • Introduction to statistics
  • Min, max, mean, median, mode, std, etc
  • Use of box plot
  • Introduction to machine learning
  • Types of machine learning
  • Example of linear regression

Day 5

  • Clustering: k-means
  • Classification/regression
  • An example of machine learning on real-world dataset
  • Group presentations
  • Q&A session

Data Science Bootcamp: R for advanced users

Please note: the topics for the R for advanced users course has not been confirmed.

Data Science Bootcamp: Python for advanced users

Please note: the topics for the Python for advanced users course has not been confirmed.


How can I sign up?

If you are either a current Essex student, a new student who will be starting your degree in January 2022, a member of staff or alumnus, please email Professor Natasha Lindstaedt your name, degree course and year of study (or other relevant details if you are a member of staff or alumnus). 


Will more of these courses be offered?

Due to exceptional demand for these courses, we are planning to offer short data science courses in September/October 2022. So if you miss out on January 2022, consider starting one of the courses later in the year instead.

“Essex has a really diverse student body and has some of the best academics in data science in Europe. We would like to be known as the number one institution in Europe for data science training, particularly for non-computer scientists, and to reach students from around the world.”
Professor Natasha Lindstaedt Deputy Dean of Education for Social Sciences

Our vision

The boot camp is part of the University’s plan to create a Data Science and Global South Centre which will merge topics that are often neglected in data science. The hope is for the Centre to bring the humanities, social sciences and computer science closer together, offering collaborations, education and training. This will extend to include Essex’s educational partners in the Global South – in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

The University is home to the Institute for Analytics and Data Science – a centre for excellence that connects scholars, businesses, institutions and authorities to work on their data needs. The Essex data analytics community includes Professor Maria Fasli, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Science and Health, who is UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science.

Essex is committed to putting people at the heart of data science and is part of the unique Essex Centre for Data Analytics partnership with Essex County Council and Essex Police – a programme designed to share data ethically and combine it with the experience of people and communities across Essex, to create powerful insight and inform policy decisions.


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