Courses and Skills



Compared to other subjects, it is relatively easy to find free, high quality data analytics materials and courses online.

The free online courses are sufficient to familiarise yourself with tools and applications and apply them in practice in your daily work to solve business problems. Note that actuaries are well placed to develop data analytics skills as they have a strong technical background including statistics and quantitative methods.

If you are more dedicated and you are looking to be employed as a data scientist, then it is highly recommended that you undertake further study in the area because data analytics has developed into a new discipline which has its own jargon and methods (e.g. random forests, decision trees). It is also recommended that you further develop your knowledge of statistical or data analytics software packages.


Free online courses

There are a number of free online courses on data analytics, some of them are quite comprehensive, start from the basics and cover more advanced topics later on, including programming.

Links to a few popular courses are provided below:


Udacity Nanodegree

EDX Courses on Data Science

Note that we cannot guarantee that these courses will be available for free in the future. Also, the course materials are maintained by external parties and the Society does not accept responsibility for their content.


Degree courses

Please refer to the list of Wider Fields Courses on the website and select those related to data analytics.

You will find both online and traditional courses from Certificate to Masters levels with durations of 1 to 3 years.


IFoA Certificate in Data Science

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has worked with the Southampton Data Science Academy to present a certificate in data science.

The course runs over 10 weeks at various times during the year.

More details are available here.


Skills required

As a data scientist you will need a certain level of IT literacy, familiarity with handling data and using software packages, but you do not have to be an IT programmer. Other skills are also essential: experience in statistical and mathematical modelling, business knowledge and good communication skills.

Ideally a data analytics project team consists of members who contribute in each of these areas and work together to achieve the best results.

You are most likely to enjoy data analytics projects or activities if you:

  • like thinking outside of the box and have lots of creative ideas;
  • understand statistical and mathematical methods and like experimenting with which method best solves the problem;
  • enjoy working with colleagues with different background and find communication with them easy; and
  • are driven by results for the business and provision of insights for executives.


Actuaries are well placed to add a lot of value in such projects, both in the insurance and other industries, due to their strong quantitative background coupled with business insight.



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