Strategic data skills for people who don't want to develop programming skills

Strategic Data Skills – September 2021

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Mon Sep 6, 2021 09:00

This comprehensive, 6-week, online course is for people who want to work strategically with data, but don’t need or want to learn complex programming. With only two start dates in 2021, the Strategic Data Skills course offers you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

This course is now sold out – click here to register your interest in future course dates.

Develop your career with Strategic Data Skills

Strategic Data Skills will equip you with the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and technical know-how to make better decisions using data. It’s a comprehensive course for people who want to work strategically with data, but don’t need or want to learn complex programming.

Taking place online, each of the six modules contains a mix of taught material, self-study, activities and practical exercises. The course emphasises a hands-on approach to learning data skills. In each module, interactive, online exercises will give you practical experience using the techniques and concepts to solve real challenges with real data.

To keep you on track you will additionally have access to guidance, feedback and support from a dedicated course tutor.

With just two dates and limited places available in 2021 we are asking potential participants to complete a short application form. The application process is to verify the course is right for you. Our tutors review each application before confirming acceptance on the programme.

The assignments were the highlight of the course. They were well designed – it’s good to use real live data from a different sphere than I’m used to working in. And I really liked how they built on the previous assignment learnings.” 

Digital Analyst, Boots

“This has been an eye-opening journey for me. Looking at data over the last six weeks I learned to understand it’s value, different ways of looking at it, the impact it can have on people’s lives and the value of predicting the future”

– Gretl M.

This course has been awesome and a great stepping stone to build confidence in using data no matter which industry you are from.” 

Director, Qina Consulting

More about the course

Click on each section to learn more about the course costs, modules, certification and required time commitment:

Successfully complete Strategic Data Skills to demonstrate your ability to help any organization generate actionable, strategic insights from data. Attend the course if you want:

  • A boost to your career – whether you want to demonstrate to potential employers your ability to work with data, or showcase your new skills to peers and managers, the course certificate from the ODI provides evidence of your skills,
  • Data to inform your work – the course shows you how to make better decisions with data,
  • To avoid harmful impacts – discover how to balance the need to create an impact, with the need for ethical approach esto working with data,
  • To embrace open innovation – get hands-on experience of how you can use open and shared approaches to working with data to create exciting new products and services.

After attending Strategic Data Skills participants have the ability to help any organisation:

  • Make better decisions with data,
  • Demonstrate to clients and stakeholders its ability to work effectively with data,
  • Identify how open and shared data infrastructures can improve decision making,
  • Apply strategic thinking to new data projects,
  • Adopt open and shared approaches that make it easier to create and build impactful products and services,
  • Avoid reputational risks by considering data ethics as part of a project.

Taking place online, each of the six modules you will study contains a mix of taught material, self-study, activities and practical exercises, all carried out online.

Module 1: Discovering open data

What is open data and what impact can it have? We will assess successful case studies of open data projects and look at how risk can be minimised through licensing and certificates.


  1. What is open data?
  2. Unlocking value from open data
  3. Open data and open standards
  4. Understanding your rights to use data
  5. The data spectrum


  1. Discussion activity: how is data used in your organisation?
  2. Discussion activity: favourite open data case studies
  3. Discussion activity: your own data spectrum

Module 2: Health check – cleaning hospital data

You will begin your hands-on experience of data management with the first assignment, based upon a real case study of hospital performance data in Tanzania. This module focuses on how 80% of your time can be saved if data is collected, organised and cleaned in a consistent fashion.


  1. The four step process of data science/journalism
  2. Organising data
  3. Cleaning data
  4. Choosing & designing schemas
  5. Annotating and describing data
  6. Open data and open standards
  7. Data formats and structures


  1. Practical assignment: data cleaning

Module 3: How can we improve the performance of the London Fire Brigade? (part one)

In this module the major case study of the course is introduced. You will begin looking at a large piece of data analysis using real incident records from the London Fire Brigade, to review the decision to close several stations. This module looks at the data processing and analysis that can help reveal the impact.


  1. Gathering data from a number of different sources
  2. Evaluate the quality and usability of data
  3. Establishing trust in data
  4. Filtering & pivot tables
  5. Introduction to quantitative data analysis
  6. Introduction to qualitative data analysis


  1. Practical assignment: data analysis

Module 4: How can we improve the performance of the London Fire Brigade? (part two)

Module 4 takes the result of the analysis and challenges you addressed in module 3, to tell a compelling story from data, that includes at least one visualisation. This module introduces the theory of data visualisation and how to create a compelling story where the message pops off your screen/page.


  1. Data visualization formats
  2. Data visualisation best practice
  3. Mapping open data
  4. Narrating your story
  5. Practical data visualisation
  6. Visual deception


  1. Practical assignment: telling a story from data

Module 5: Open data futures

Module 5 looks at the future of open data. We look at how data standards and open APIs enable services to talk intelligently to each other and how these are already in widespread use with cloud services and big data. We discover how Transport for London has used open data and the cloud to deliver £130m of economic benefit a year and look at how an industry has grown around this open data. In a rapidly changing data landscape we examine the role for open data in business evolution. By creating a personalised travel planner, you will explore the area of business development from a management perspective whilst also considering the potential implications of data futures.


  1. APIs and open data
  2. Working with live data
  3. Recognising and working with big data


  1. Discussion activity: transport route planning, applications and data services

Module 6: Strategic data skills

How do we ensure that data is used strategically? What does the future hold? How are you going to create value from data for your organisation while avoiding harmful impacts?

 The final module of the course takes a holistic view of data use and examines the key role of data ethics.

Participants will also be asked to share their own experiences and next steps following the course.


  1. A theory of change for data
  2. Data ethics
  3. Threats and opportunities
  4. The ODI data skills framework


  1. Discussion activity: your next steps

Complete and submit your assignments within 3-months of starting and you will be eligible for your Certificate of Achievement from the Open Data Institute.

Strategic Data Skills an online course from the ODI

Completing all of the learning activities and assignments will take five to eight hours, each week, depending on the module and your pace of learning. You will be able to access guidance, feedback and support from your course tutor for assignments.

You’ll also get access to the content for 12-months.

Starting in September, the course schedule is as follows:

16/08/2112:00Students will be able to access Moodle
03/09/2114:00 - 15:00Welcome event (webinar)
MODULE 1: Introduction to open data
06/09/2114:00 - 15:00Module 1 webinar
MODULE 2: Organising and validating hospital data
14:00 - 15:00Module 2 webinar
17/09/2118:00Assignment 1 deadline
20/09/2112:00Assignment 1 grades available
MODULE 3: How can we improve the performance of the LFB? (Part 1)
20/09/2114:00 - 15:00Module 3 webinar
24/09/2118:00Assignment 2 deadline
27/09/2112:00Assignment 2 grades available
MODULE 4: How can we improve the performance of the LFB? (Part 2)
27/09/2114:00 - 15:00Module 4 webinar
Assignment 3 deadline
11/10/2112:00Assignment 3 grades available
MODULE 5: Open data futures
14:00 - 15:00Module 5 webinar
MODULE 6: Positive impact
18/10/2114:00 - 15:00Module 6 webinar
22/10/2114:00 - 15:00End of course event

Note: all times are BST based.

The course cost is:

  • £849 (+VAT where applicable) for ODI members.
  • £1200 ((+VAT where applicable) for non -members

Not an ODI member?

You can join as an individual for £100. Organisations can join and share the training discount across their entire business. The cost for organisations is between £360 and £2,200, depending on sector and size.

Find out more about membership and sign-up here:

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone working in organisations, who wants to make better decisions with data, or who is leading, or commissioning, data analysis and data-informed decision-making work.

How many places/people are on each course? 

Each course date will consist of up to 24 participants.

Are there any course prerequisites?

No previous experience of data or programming is required. However, a good level of computer literacy is necessary. In particular, you need to be comfortable using spreadsheets programmes, such as Excel.

What are the course requirements?

You’ll need an internet-enabled laptop or PC with Google Chrome installed. You will need internet access. And, you’ll ideally need to be able to install new software.

What is included in my ticket?

All tickets include:

  1. End of course certificate (if all assessments successfully completed within 3-months).
  2. Access to interactive online content for 12-months.
  3. Ability to view video content.
  4. Ability to interact through the course forums.
  5. Written feedback from tutors on your assessments (within first 3-months).
  6. Access to weekly live Q&A sessions with course tutors.
  7. Up to 6 one-to-one sessions with a tutor.

Can you tell me more about ODI Courses?

Co-founded by the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI offers courses that are friendly, supportive and fun. No question is a silly question in our classrooms, and our expert teachers will arm you with all the practical skills you need for applying what you’ve learnt to the real world.

All slides and exercises are made available for anyone to access, use and share under an open licence.

About this course

This course was created by and is © The Open Data Institute. It was developed with the help of funding from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under the Open Data Education project.

Upcoming dates

With only two course start dates across 2021, this exclusive course offers you a chance to stand out from the crowd. 2021 start dates are: 

  • ***SOLD OUT*** 12th April 2021 for 6 weeks (final session on 24th May 2021)
  • ***SOLD OUT*** 6th Sept 2021 for 6 weeks (final session on 18th Oct 2021)

This course is only available for registered applicants and there are a limited number of places for each date.

This course is now sold out – click here to register your interest in future course dates.