Thanks to our hard-earned reputation for world-class research, we're one of only five universities to be tasked with establishing the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science. And we're serious about educating the data scientists of the future. Our Data Science undergraduate degree has been running since 2014. Here, three students from the first cohort, Tom Thorpe, Enis Nazif and Tom Maullin-Sapey, describe their first year to us.
We’ve been named as one of the partners for the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science. Why do you think people are taking such notice of data science?
Tom Thorpe: "It’s a growing industry. When I first started my degree in October I’d tell people what I was studying and they wouldn’t know anything about it. But I can imagine in 10 years’ time, everybody will know what it is. It’s something that’s becoming more and more important."
Enis Nazif: "The amount of data we’ve got now is just so huge. You just can’t use old methods to analyse this data, we need new methods and new ways of looking at data and tackling these big questions. So it’s important to develop understanding and research in this field."
What does our University bring to the Turing partnership?
Tom Thorpe: “You hear the names of those universities in the partnership; Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Edinburgh and Warwick, and you think, those are top institutions. Warwick’s taken the decision to run an undergraduate degree in Data Science, which some institutions may not have done because it’s a fairly new discipline. But that doesn’t faze Warwick.”
Tom Maullin-Sapey: “For example, we could have chosen to study a traditional course, but our Data Science course has allowed us to specialise.”
Enis Nazif: "Because Warwick is changing with the times, academically speaking, by funding these new courses, of which another example is MORSE, they’re pioneering data science research and will be leading the way in new approaches and research."
Does your lecturers research affect how you study?
Enis Nazif: "It means that we’re studying and learning about some really current issues. Say your lecturer is doing work in a particular area, it means you’ve got access to some really up-to-date research."
Tom Maullin-Sapey: "It feels like there are lots of opportunities too. In the second and third year especially, it looks like there will be lots of chances to branch out. Especially in the research side of things."
What advice would you give to someone who’s considering studying Data Science here?
Tom Thorpe: "If you’re interested in understanding how things actually work, and seeing behind the scenes how programmes and software are developed and actually made, I’d really recommend the course. If you’re good at problem solving and working things out, how to actually put things in code, then this is for you!"
Tom Maullin-Sapey: "A strong focus in maths is really important. I had no experience of computing and programming, but I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere without maths."
Enis Nazif: "It’s a good degree to do if you’ve not decided what you’d like to specialise in in the future, if you want to keep your options open and stay quite broad. It seems like we’ve covered a lot in the first term and a half! It’s also nice to know you can specialise in later years, so I’m already thinking about modules for next year; I like the sound of artificial intelligence modules."
How do you think the Data Science degree will affect your employability?
Tom Thorpe: "I think we’ve definitely got a head start because we’re specifically trained in Data Science, and we’ve made it clear by choosing this degree that we’re aiming for a career or further development in this field."
Enis Nazif: "Lots of companies are advertising for Data Scientists, but what they want from them they varies hugely from role to role. This means we’ve got to have quite a broad set of skills, which our course, which has Maths, Statistics and Computer Science, certainly gives us."
Tom Maullin-Sapey: "A lot of people who do Computer Science can code and a lot of people studying Maths know how to approach a problem, but it’s rare to find people who can do both. I think employers will appreciate this mix of skills we’ve learned studying Data Science."
Find out more about the Data Science degree at Warwick.