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Certificate in Data Science – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

Will the Certificate in Date Science be postponed or delayed as a result of COVID-19?

We are not anticipating a delay or postponement to the Certificate in Data Science launch on 30 April.  At this time we are working closely with the Southampton Data Science Academy (SDSA) and are on track with the materials for the programme. As the programme is delivered entirely on line and tutors are also working remotely this has currently been a positive.

What if I need to delay my application as a result of COVID-19?

Should you become unwell either before or during the programme SDSA there is information in the Candidate information Pack.

Are there any entry requirements for the programme?

No there are no requirements. You must be an IFoA member, with a good knowledge of statistical techniques. A qualified actuary, or a student who has completed CS1 or CS2 will be able to manage the content adequately.

Will the certificate be available to IFoA Non-members?

No, we are only making the certificate available to IFoA members at this time.

Do I need to be able to programme or have an understanding of a programme language?

No there is no requirement to have any knowledge. Those who are following the new IFoA syllabus will be familiar with ‘R’ and the course will introduce you to Python. There are some ‘additional’ resources available to participants, who would like to try some programming, but this is not a compulsory component of the course.

What are the IT equipment that I will require?

SDSA have provided a Candidate information Pack and page 4 specifically deals with IT requirements.

If I am a student member and progressing with my actuarial examinations to associate and fellowship, will the certificate give me any exemptions?

No it will not. The Certificate is part of the Lifelong Learning offering and sits outside the qualification structure. It is designed to enhance your skillset, both personally and in your broader career development.

Will the Certificate allow me to call myself a Data Scientist?

No. the certificate has not been designed to create data scientists. This will require further study. It has been designed to help actuaries, at whatever stage of their career to gain a basic understanding of data science tools and techniques, and how they can be applied, through examples and case studies to actuarial practice.

I can see that some of the other Actuarial Associations are offering data science/data analytics as part of their offering. Can I gain exemptions from any of these if I complete the IFoA certificate?

No, there are no plans to offer exemptions against any other programme in this way.

Is the Certificate available to CAA Analysts?

Yes providing you have qualified as a CAA Analyst and joined the IFoA you can apply for the certificate in data science.

Will there be any bursaries or scholarships available?

Neither the IFoA or SDSA will be offering bursaries or scholarships, although those in employment may be able to draw down on career/development loans to support their learning if these are offered.


Programme Structure

How has the programme been structured?

The programme takes 10 weeks to complete. Eight of these weeks are programme content delivered and 2 weeks are allocated for the final assessment. There are defined start and finish dates and the course progresses through a number of modules.

How flexible is the course? Can I ‘jump on’ and jump off’ when I like?

No this will not be possible. Once you commit to a particular programme you will need to complete it in the timelines. There is a set start and end date.  Module materials are released on a weekly basis to provide coherence and structure to the programme. That does not mean that a module has to be complete in one week. We recognise that this might not always be possible. There are clear guidelines for those who need to take time out for specific reasons and these will be contained in the Candidate Information pack

Will I have access to tutor support during the programme?

Yes while this is a distance learning programme, it is supported throughout by qualified academic staff. You will have access to staff at set points in the programme. There is a 1:1 tutorial once you submitted your first assignment at which you will be given feedback before you begin your second assignment. There will also be access to group tutorials with an option to ‘purchase’ additional support if you require it.

Will I have to take an examination to pass the certificate?

No there are no examinations, but there are 3 assessments, which will be in an essay style format during the programme. You will need to gain an average of 65% to secure a pass.


Programme Content

How has the actuarial content been sourced?

There has been a considerable amount of discussion with the actuarial community drawing upon the data science member interest group, industry and the academic community. Invitations were sent out to members to write case studies and provide examples of where data science techniques have/are being applied to actuarial work across all the traditional areas as well as industries where actuaries are employed more widely. These have all been peer reviewed and together with educational technologists at SDSA, have been incorporated into the programme.


Assessments

How is the programme assessed?

There are no formal written examinations. Participants will be required to submit and pass three assessments (an essay and report format) which are spaced out throughout the programme. The third and final assessment is undertaken once the formal learning has been completed and individuals have 2 weeks in which to complete and submit this. These assessments are marked and participants will receive feedback on each. In addition to this written feedback individuals will be entitled to a 1 to 1 tutorial with a tutor to discuss the results of their first assignment.

Is the programme graded?

Individuals will gain a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ grade only. In order to pass you must achieve an overall score of 65% across the three assessments.

Will any of the assessments require the writing of code?

No this is not a requirement of the programme.

If in completing any of my assignments, and in particular the final project, I use material which may be classified as 'commercially sensitive/confidential', how will SDSA manage this?

SDSA are very familiar with managing these sorts of issues especially as they run many company specific programmes where this is often an issue. Programme participants can indicate at an early stage that the contents are ‘confidential’ and state for how long the work is accessible to the SDSA Tutor and Moderator. SDSA will then store the document in a password protected secure server with access by the Senior Tutor and the Moderator only.


Certification

Will I get a formal certificate when I have completed the programme?

Providing you pass the programme, you will be issued a certificate jointly awarded by the IFoA and Southampton data Science Academy (SDSA). The IFoA will be notified of all passes and failures and these will be added to your IFoA record.

What happens if I fail the programme?

You will be issued with a certificate of attendance only and this is different to the Certificate in Data Science jointly awarded by the IFoA/SDSA.

I have already completed a course in data science. Will the IFoA recognise this and credit me with the IFoA certificate in data science?

No there are no plans to grant an accreditation of prior learning in this way.


Employers

Will there be a bulk discount for employers who want to put a number of their employees through the programme?

No, not at this stage. This is an individual application process only.

Would we be prepared to offer a bespoke course to employers?

At this stage we have a single contract with SDSA, which has a finite number of places. We do not envisage delivering company specific programmes.


Post Course

Once I have completed the course are there any CPD requirements?

You will be required to demonstrate ‘currency’ in data science once you have completed the certificate. This will normally be through your CPD obligations, and we would suggest that some of your 15 hours (we would recommend 2hrs) should be dedicated to maintaining your level of competency in data science.

Will there be any post-nominal letters once I complete and pass the course?

No there will not be post nominal letters, but you will be able to refer to the course.

Will the Certificate be recognised by employers?

The certificate will show a level of competence in data science and with time it will be recognised more widely. It has credibility in the marketplace because of the partnership between the Southampton Data Science Academy and the IFoA, two leading globally recognised bodies in their own right. You will be able to use the certification on your CV and to enhance your transferable skills.

Filter or search events

Start date
E.g., 23/09/2020
End date
E.g., 23/09/2020

Events calendar

  • Asia Conference Webinar Series

    Webinars
    7 September 2020 - 25 September 2020

    Spaces available

    There will be a prestigious line-up of international speakers discussing the insurance and financial industry’s innovation and change in Asia.  The conference will take place throughout September via an online platform. The webinars consist of plenary speaking sessions and a series of workshop sessions including Life, GI, Data Science, Sustainability, Risk Management and Investment.

    This will be the perfect opportunity for you to discover,ask questions and be at the forefront of current and developing actuarial/financial topics and trends in Asia.

     

  • Spaces available

    This free 90 minute webinar is designed to support the IFoA CPD Co-ordinators, and others, involved in supporting our members to achieve their CPD requirements. 

    The programme will include an overview of the new CPD Scheme; specifically sharing with you key messages to support you implement and embrace the new CPD Scheme for our members within your organisation and regional community; how to arrange a reflective practice discussion; and an interactive reflective practice discussion learning exercise.  In addition, delegates will gain information about accessing, and making the most of the IFoA event Toolkits which you can make use of to run your own in-house events and events for regional communities. 

  • Spaces available

    16.00-17.00 GMT+8

    Consumer expectations are changing Insurance. The Royal Commission in Australia, Design Obligations in the UK, the insurtech ecosystem, and digital-first consumers demanding personalised solutions will all revolutionise how insurance looks like in the future.

  • Spaces available

    12.00-13.00 GMT+8

    This presenter / panel workshop hybrid will be anchored by two presentations examining the socioeconomic, medical and technological factors that will have a significant impact on mortality and our pricing over the next 20 years and beyond. It will also discuss whether significant mortality improvement will continue in Asia or whether varying experience of low improvements or deterioration. 

  • Spaces available

    12.00-13.00 GMT+8

    This presentation aims to provides an overview of the reformation of current Chinese regulatory solvency regime, how industry coping with the new normal after pandemic time and how the reformation of the regulation could help the insurance industry gets back on its feet as well as coming back to the “protection” core value for the policyholders. The presentation would include:

  • Spaces available

    16.00-17.00 (GMT+8) | 09.00-10.00 (BST)

    The basic data of China’s 2nd Critical Illness Mortality Table covers 2000+ products in Chinese market, including about 340 million insurance policies and 5.1 million claimants. Presenter will give the audience a general understanding including but not limited to the following contents:

  • Autumn Lecture 2020: Professor Elroy Dimson

    Online webinar
    14 October 2020

    Spaces available

    Many individuals and institutions have a long-term focus, and invest funds for the benefit of future generations. Their strategy should reflect their long horizon. University endowments are one of the oldest classes of institutional investor, and I will present the first study of the management of these endowments over the very long term.

  • GIRO Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area.

  • Spaces available

    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

  • Spaces available

    The talk will provide an understanding of the priorities and relationships between deficit reduction contributions, in the context of wider scheme funding, and different types of value outflow from the employer based on the working party’s recently published report.