Postgraduate in data science: Why degree apprenticeships make you more employable

The demand for data science professionals spans all sectors, with specialists sought after everywhere from government departments to technology start-ups.

By U2B Staff 

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Data science is becoming increasingly important due to its revolutionising impact on various industries. The impact of data science on social sciences, security and engineering to market analysis and banking is well documented.

New research conducted by the Royal Society details an increased demand for data science skills in the job market and sets out mechanisms that can help build a stronger talent pipeline.

The report emphasises on a need for future professionals to be well informed about the ever-widening range of opportunities working with data.

The technical aspects of data science and data analytics cover a range of architectures, frameworks, and algorithms designed to handle very large, often highly complex datasets. It addresses the big data ecosystem, its common software tools, frameworks, and platforms.

Professional students also require statistical and machine learning skills employed for data analytics. Depending on the area of specialty, data science professionals also require the knowledge associated software tools and frameworks, and mathematical modelling underpinning big data analytics.

The report by The Royal Society also states the importance of data science education to take on more hybrid forms of learning, including apprenticeship programmes. Due to the interdisciplinary and applied nature of data science, this field sits perfectly with apprenticeship mechanisms.

The same report also recommends that professional-level courses for the data science field should be flexible and responsive in nature, where the training provided should be industry-approved and accredited enabled through strong coordination between the industry and universities.

Why you should earn a masters in data science qualification through a degree apprenticeship?

According to Skills Training UK, many different work sectors are now discovering the benefits of apprenticeships. Some of the specialties the benefit most include retail, customer service, business improvement techniques, team leading, management, and manufacturing operations.

New programmes are announced regularly to meet evolving industry needs including data science. Many professionals are increasingly drawn to data science qualifications as data science is a fast-growing field and skills in this area are in high demand.

While apprenticeships have traditionally been viewed as an entry point to those who first starting out in their careers, this no longer holds true, as the face of apprenticeships has evolved over the years. In fact, an increasing number of students pursuing a masters qualification have opted for apprenticeships to gain entry to employment.

This reflects changes in the current education and employment climate, where there are abundant opportunities for existing staff to get involved and upskill themselves in various new fields.


In the UK, apprenticeships are offered across all levels of education. Level 2 and level 3 apprenticeships are for GCSE and A-Level equivalent qualifications while level 6, level 7 and level 8 are for degree, masters and doctorate qualifications, respectively.

Masters degree apprenticeship based qualifications are becoming increasingly popular as the list of universities in the UK offering this option grows. There are now over 100 universities in England on the register of apprenticeships training providers, and the number of degree apprenticeship starts has increased, from 1,614 into 7,114 in the first quarter of 2019.

Masters degree apprenticeships are relatively new but are already highly embraced by employers in various industries. Research commissioned for this report shows an increasing need for people with data science skills, with a sharp rise in demand for Data Scientists and Data Engineers in the last five-and-a-half years.

The demand spans all sectors, with specialists sought after everywhere from government departments to technology start-ups. There are various programmes on offer, for undergraduates who want to choose a speciality, those who want to assume leadership positions in their organisations and those who want to advance their existing skills in this field


Masters degree apprenticeships for those who want to specialise in data science

Graduates who have undergraduate qualifications in computer science and engineering fields can advance their careers in the technology and digital sector by earning a masters degree in data science.

The MSc in Digital Technology Solutions is an apprentice masters degree offered by Aston University in the UK that provides a pathway for career development to graduates who want to hone their existing technical skills into specialist qualifications. The entire programme emphasises on developing the investigative and interrogative skills required to work with big data.

Through this apprenticeship masters programme, graduates will be able to develop the right knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to become specialists in their field through practically orientated learning sessions.

Apprentices will be provided with an academic tutor and a development coach to provide workplace support. The coach will help apprentices identify skills gaps and create a plan to advance their personal and professional competencies.

Apprentices will also undergo an extended project module, designed for them to deliver real business value to the employer. Apprentices will have the opportunity to demonstrate the skills and knowledge gained throughout the programme.


Masters degree apprenticeship for advanced data science

The MSc Digital and Technology Solutions (Data Analytics) offered by Anglia Ruskin University is developed for apprentices who are training to develop themselves in advanced data science.

The programme caters to graduate students who want to take their data skills and capabilities to the next level. Through this masters degree apprenticeship, apprentices will develop and apply advanced data science tools and techniques to process large, complex datasets in order to extract and derive valuable insights to inform strategic decision making within the organisation.

The course combines immersive teaching, online study and a hackathon-style boot-camp which simulates real-world environments.

This programme was developed in consultation with leading employers and education experts, Cambridge Spark, a leader in transformational data science and AI training, career development and progression.

The programme aims to build advanced data science talent in the country to meet the increasing demand for talent in this field.

Apprentices will be able to upskill themselves through this flexible learning model with the help of a team of expert tutors while contributing their talent and skills to the business.


Masters degree apprenticeships for leadership technology

The University of West London is also offering an MSc Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist (Data Analytics) Degree Apprenticeship for professionals with a desire to enhance their technology leadership skills.

The masters degree apprenticeship programme will focus on the skills required to facilitate and influence the provisioning of digital and technology solutions in an organisation. It’s combined focus pairs leadership and specialist skills with knowledge within the dynamics of organisations.

Apprenticeship students will benefit from the programme that combines academic study with work-based experience, where they will have an opportunity to apply theoretical learning in a workplace environment.

Learners will hone their skills by applying concepts and trying out techniques and tools in an actual business setting. At the end of the programme, apprentices will participate in a business-related project with the employer, that will be supervised by the university.