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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 student 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., 05/04/2020
End date
E.g., 05/04/2020

Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    Due to the COVID-19, we will be running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 22 April.  

    CIGI is a well-established seminar designed to increase awareness and encourage discussion on a variety of topical issues across the general insurance industry. 

  • Spaces available

    InsurTech headlines are often big statements, which seem impossible to many working in the sector day-to-day. How can actuaries implement new systems, keep the value from legacy systems, deliver BAU and not require the resources of three teams?

  • Spaces available

    Pressure on organisations to address climate change risks is intensifying. But what does this really mean for insurers? In this session Adhiraj Maitra and Gareth Sutcliffe will look at the why, the what and the how of this risk through a number of different lenses including regulatory, principle and resilience.

  • Spaces available

    There have been a number of events across the financial markets where particular services have fallen below customer expectations.  These have included inability to receive or make payments or or the inability to check your own status or access services.  In an increasingly interconnected world the causes of this are often complex and hard to spot in advance, but can be a major impact to the reputations of firms.

  • CIGI Webinar - Are you Vulnerable ?

    Webinar
    27 April 2020

    Spaces available

    With ever increasing focus from the FCA on pricing practices and the relationship between insurers and their customers, it is critical to ensure appropriate controls are in place. This presentation summarises the latest developments in the market and showcases practical approaches to mitigate the risk of poor customer outcomes in pricing, with a particular focus on protecting vulnerable customers.’

  • Spaces available

    This webinar provides an update on renewal pricing outcomes for Property and Casualty markets at the latest 1/1 reinsurance renewals with the focus being on capacity availability and price drivers.  These issues include, but are not limited to, the cat bond market, wider trends in claims outcomes, trends in Casualty RI space that affect pricing such as social inflation, yield curve, and the reserving cycle.

  • Spaces available

    The Ogden Discount Rate shock of 2017 brought about a period of profound uncertainty to General Insurance market.  GI Actuaries' first task was to estimate the impact of the Ogden shocks, particularly to reserving and reinsurance pricing.  Their second was to navigate a period of framework uncertainty, maintaining an agility in actuarial modelling as the Civil Liability Bill took shape. 

  • Spaces available

    Model validation should not be a tick box exercise. It has all the right ingredients to be a value adding exercise that can help senior management understand what really drives the business from a risk and capital perspective. Model validation can be a stressful, bloated process - and may not be as value adding as it could be. 

  • Spaces available

    The FCA’s interim report into general insurance pricing practices has brought into focus a number of market wide issues including:

    Price walking • Poor governance • Higher prices for potentially vulnerable customers • Higher prices for less aware customers

  • CANCELLED The Global Actuarial Profession

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    30 April 2020

    Spaces available

    We are sorry that this event has been cancelled.

    The IFoA's policy regarding COVID-19 is designed to safeguard the well-being of members and employees. As stated within the policy, the IFoA is reviewing its events programme on a case-by-case basis.

  • Spaces available

    The IFRS 17 Working Party have been producing a number of deep dive papers, these include topics such as risk adjustment, impact of disclosures on how uncertainty is perceived, deferring acquisition costs over renewals, PAA eligibility and more. 

  • SIAS Event: Cyber Insurance

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    4 May 2020

    Spaces available

    The talk will cover:
    • Why cyber security is regarded as the top threat to businesses (Allianz Risk Barometer 2019)
    • What is causing the shift in threat landscape
    • Who is attacking, why, and how we can stop them
    • Customer impressions of cyber security and how you can help them
    • Threats to evaluating insurable losses and responding to claims
    • How cyber insurance policies have evolved, and need to continue to do so
    • Can and should you recover ransoms under cyber insurance?
    • What is the future for cyber risk?

  • KSS event: Technology: A red-eyed Terminator or an actuary’s best friend?

     Hymans Robertson, Exchange Place 1, 1 Semple Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BL
    4 May 2020

    Spaces available

    Despite long-running concerns that innovation could lead to widespread redundancy, technology has enabled greater productivity, created higher-value jobs and spurred us on to new heights. With artificial intelligence increasingly automating work undertaken by professionals, I look at the prospects for the actuarial profession in the era of unprecedented technological innovation.

  • Finance and Investment Conference 2020

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Pl, London NW1 4LE
    05-05 May 2020
    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19, we are running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 5 May.

    The environmental, social and governance (ESG) space is growing rapidly and increasingly moving centre stage. In many cases, it is now an essential part of policy and central to the way stakeholders make decisions for the long term to ensure retention of clients, manage risk better, and ensure more economically efficient and sustainable investment returns.

    ESG factors cover a wide range of areas reflecting how vital consideration of these factors are part of wider systemic risks.

    The IFoA’s policy regarding Coronavirus is designed to safeguard the well being of those who attend IFoA events. Find out more. 

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (19 May 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    19 May 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (19 May 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    19 May 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • CILA 2020

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Pl, London NW1 4LE
    20 May 2020

    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19 this event has been postponed until later in the year. A new date will be announced soon.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020

    The Grand Brighton, 97-99 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FW
    02-03 June 2020
    Spaces available

    The Protection, Health and Care Conference is an annual conference aimed at all insurance professionals with a passion for harnessing insurance risk in their organisations.

  • Spaces available

    How we relate to others at work, whether they are colleagues, clients, prospective clients or other business contacts is key to individual career progression and business performance. People buy people , so considering what we are known for and how to be positively memorable are vital. This session looks at the importance of professional relationships, the psychology of personal image and impact and the three personal impact 'tools' which affect what people say about us when we're not in the room.

  • Mortality and Longevity 2020

    1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ
    08-08 June 2020
    Spaces available

    This highly regarded seminar will provide topical and practical updates and discussion on the latest thinking and innovations in mortality and longevity.  The program is designed for life, pensions and health and care actuaries, academics, researchers, underwriters and related practitioners eager to learn about the latest developments in mortality and longevity.  The sessions are designed to be very accessible to a broad range of exp

  • Professional Skills Training - London (10 June 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ       
    10 June 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (17 June 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    17 June 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (18 June 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ   
    18 June 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Pensions Conference 2020

    Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel, Blackfriars Street, Manchester,M3 2EQ
    18-19 June 2020
    Spaces available

    Join us as this year’s conference that will focus on topics including  funding and savings, pension law current issues, ESG, the end game and transferring risk, investment issues, data visualisation and data science.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2020, Kuala Lumpur

    CCEC Nexus, 7, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    24-25 June 2020
    Spaces available

    This event has been postponed. A new date will be announced.

    The IFoA's policy regarding COVID-19 is designed to safeguard the well-being of members and employees. As stated within the policy, the IFoA is reviewing its events programme on a case-by-case basis.

    To this end the IFoA and their strategic partner, the AIR, have taken the decision to postpone this year's Asia Conference. A new date will be announced pending further reviews over the following months.