First meeting of the development team for PDA Data Science

Following my recent announcement that SQA was about to begin the development of a suite of new, advanced qualifications in data science, the Qualification Development Team (QDT) met for the first time on Saturday in SQA’s offices in Glasgow.


The QDT has representation from colleges, industry and national organisations but we’re looking for more members, particularly from the university and employment sectors, so please let Emma know if you’re interested in working with us. I was particularly pleased to welcome a representative of Skills Development Scotland, who has a special interest in gender and technology.

These first meetings are more scene-setting than decision-making but we did have useful discussions around levels, structure and philosophy. Regarding levels, we agreed that there was a need for three levels – SCQF Level 7, 8 and 9. The Level 7 would be introductory and fairly generic, the Level 9 specialist, and the Level 8 somewhere in between. The structures would reflect this but we’re hoping to keep it simple. It’s unlikely that there would be the same structure at all three levels. Philosophically, we felt that there is a need for a a broad, introductory qualification at Level 7, suitable for just about any professional person who needs data skills. At the other extreme, we recognised that the Level 9 award needs to be demanding and technical, suitable for people who want to specialise in data analysis.

Of course, it’s early days in the development and no final decisions were made. The next task is to select the lead developer, who will have special responsibility for creating the new suite of awards. Once that person is appointed, s/he will carry out qualitative research (talk to people) and come up with a draft framework.

We hope to have the new qualifications available to centres by Spring 2020. Please contact Emma if you want to know more or volunteer to serve on the QDT.

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