Strategic Data Skills

Delivery : Online
Study Hours: 48 hrs
Duration: 6 weeks
ODI members price:
£1,275 + VAT
Early bird price:
£1,350 + VAT
General admission price:
£1,500 + VAT
Early bird available if purchased 3 months prior to start date

Make better decisions using data

Strategic Data Skills will equip you with the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and technical know-how to make better decisions using data. It’s a comprehensive course for people who want to work strategically with data, but don’t need or want to learn complex programming.

Taking place online, each of the six modules contains a mix of taught material, self-study, activities and practical exercises. The course emphasises a hands-on approach to learning data skills. In each module, interactive, online exercises will give you practical experience using the techniques and concepts to solve real challenges with real data. To keep you on track you will additionally have access to guidance, feedback and support from a dedicated course tutor.

To ensure inclusivity, we offer discounted pricing for customers from lower or middle-income countries.
Please contact us for further information.

If you represent a business interested in purchasing four or more course spaces, please reach out to us for personalised discounted rates.

Upcoming Dates

September 2024

10th September 2024   
Course schedule TBC   
From £1,275 + VAT
Sales end 9th September @ 17:30

November 2024

5th November 2024   
Course schedule TBC   
From £1,275 + VAT
Sales end 4th November @ 17:30

More about the course

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone working in organisations, who wants to make better decisions with data, or who is leading, or commissioning, data analysis and data-informed decision-making work.

How this course will benefit you/your company

Successfully complete Strategic Data Skills to demonstrate your ability to help any organization generate actionable, strategic insights from data.

Attend the course if you want:

  • A boost to your career – whether you want to demonstrate to potential employers your ability to work with data, or showcase your new skills to peers and managers, the course certificate from the ODI provides evidence of your skills.
  • Data to inform your work – the course shows you how to make better decisions with data.
  • To avoid harmful impacts – discover how to balance the need to create an impact, with the need for ethical approach whilst working with data.
  • To embrace open innovation – get hands-on experience of how you can use open and shared approaches to working with data to create exciting new products and services.

How this course will benefit your company

After attending Strategic Data Skills participants have the ability to help any organisation:

  • Make better decisions with data,
  • Demonstrate to clients and stakeholders its ability to work effectively with data,
  • Identify how open and shared data infrastructures can improve decision making,
  • Apply strategic thinking to new data projects,
  • Adopt open and shared approaches that make it easier to create and build impactful products and services,
  • Avoid reputational risks by considering data ethics as part of a project.
Course prerequisites

No previous experience of data is required. Good computer skills are essential and you should be happy working in spreadsheet tools. You will need access to a computer with spreadsheet applications, such as Microsoft Excel installed. Being able to install additional software on your computer is highly recommended. On the course we demonstrate the use of OpenRefine for increasing the quality of data and use Tableau to demonstrate an alternative to Excel/PowerBI for analysis. Use of certain tools is not mandatory, however to complete the assignments we recommend that a suite of tools be accessible/installable by you.

Learning experience and course delivery

Each course date will consist of up to 18 participants.

Taking place online, each of the six modules you will study contains a mix of taught material, self-study, activities and practical exercises, all carried out online.


  • End of course certificate (if all assessments successfully completed within 3-months).
  • Access to interactive online content for 6-months.
  • Ability to interact with tutors and peers via discussion forums (with tutors during the course delivery).
  • Written feedback from tutors on your assessments.
  • Access to weekly live Q&A sessions with course tutors.
  • Up to 6 live and interactive sessions with a tutor.
  • AI tutor assistant providing personalised feedback on activity submissions.
  • Techinal support throughout the course.

Module 1: Building a healthy data ecosystem

The aim of this module is to introduce data, why it exists on a spectrum, and how to build a strong data infrastructure to support unlocking the full value from data.

To achieve this, you will:

  • Define what data is, explore how it exists on a spectrum and explain how it used to construct insights and evidence for new concepts and ideas.
  • Explore the history of data journalism and storytelling, and contextualise data storytelling and how you use it in your professional practice.
  • Examine the concept of ‘data is Infrastructure’ and how this analogy enables you to understand the need for positive and sustainable investment in open data practices through the use of real-world examples.
  • Explore a number of measures of success for building a healthy data ecosystem and some of the barriers that could prevent the full value of data being realised.
Evaluate your own practices and how data is used in your organisation.

Module 2: Organising and validating data

By the end of this module you will understand how to organise and clean data, as well as undertake activities to quality check and enable greater utility and interoperability of data.

To achieve this, you will:

  • Investigate the gathering of data, including various sources of data and the practices employed in finding the data.
  • Examine the structure of data and determine approaches to organise the data into the appropriate structure as well as apply cleaning techniques to increase the utility of data.
  • Understand the purpose of data schemas and how to create and use them.

Assignment: To complete this module, you are tasked with organising and structuring a supplied dataset. As a learner you will need to restructure this messy dataset into a single dataset that can be analysed by both human and machine. This activity utilises the AI Tutor’s Assistant, using generative AI to review the submission and provide personalised feedback.

Module 3: Introduction to data analysis

By the end of this module you will have the skills to evaluate data from different sources in order to establish its quality, and carry out exploratory data analysis to produce insights.

To achieve this, you will:

  • Evaluate the benefits and risks of applying different statistical techniques to data.
  • Apply several exploratory data analysis techniques to create summary statistics and visual representations.
  • Practise the skills to establish the shape of data and examine what it means, and how it can be used to determine the state of data.
  • Use tools to filter and explore trends in data.
  • Evaluate the difference between qualitative and quantitative data analysis

Assignment: For this module, you will use open data to analyse the performance of the London Fire Brigade, its operations, and the impact of the 2014 station closures.

Module 4: Telling stories with data

By the end of this module you will understand how to produce and present appropriate data visualisations that deliver a connected and relevant narrative.

To achieve this, you will:

  • Explore data visualisation best practice and understand the principles behind effective data visualisations.
  • Examine where visualisations can be used to misrepresent or deceive and the impact this has on our outcomes.
  • Evaluate complex stories and their impact
  • Create a narrative that tells the story of the data.

Assignment: You will tell the story of the London Fire Brigade. Using the open data you have analysed through the course, you will create a story. This includes the development of data appropriate and effective visualisations with a relevant and compelling narrative.

Module 5: Data Ethics

By the end of this module you will be able to use tools to evaluate the potential impact of data, identify data ethics concerns and produce recommendations to mitigate potential negative

To achieve this, you will:

  • Explore the concept of data ethics.
  • Examine examples of unethical data practices.
  • Apply the consequence scanning toolkit to evaluate the impact of real-world data ethics case studies.

Course Completion

Complete and submit your assignments within 3-months of starting and you will be eligible for your Certificate of Achievement from the Open Data Institute.

Course Cost
The course cost:

ODI members: £1,275 (+VAT where applicable) (from 18.09.23)
General admission: £1,500 (+VAT where applicable.)

Not an ODI member?

You can join as an individual for £100.

Organisations can join and share the training discount across their entire business. The cost for organisations is between £360 and £2,200, depending on sector and size.

Click here to find out more about ODI membership. 


How many places/people are on each course? 

Each course date will consist of up to 18 participants.

Is there a limit to the number of people from my company that can attend?

Yes, there is a maximum of 3 places per organisation. If you are interested in booking more than 3 places for your organisation, please contact

About this course

This course was created by and is © The Open Data Institute. It was developed with the help of funding from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under the Open Data Education project.

What you'll learn

Identify how open and shared data infrastructures can improve decision making
Apply strategic thinking to new data projects
Open and shared approaches that make it easier to create and build impactful products and services
Make better decisions with data

Interested in fast-tracking your CPD in Strategic Data Skills (SDS)? - see our flexible SDS self-paced option

Course instructors

Learning Pathway: Data Skills without Programming

ODI learning pathways_SDS

Potential Learning Journey

Strategic Data Skills

Choose between tutored or self-paced learning formats. A comprehensive course designed for individuals seeking to work strategically with data without delving into complex programming concepts.

After completing Strategic Data Skills, consider advancing to:  

Introduction to Data Ethics and Data Ethics Canvas or Understanding Data Ethics and AI (coming soon). These learning opportunities will provide a well-rounded understanding of data ethics, complementing your strategic data skills.

Alternatively, if you hold a more technical or hands-on data-focused role, you can progress towards:
Best Practices for Data on the Web course (coming soon).

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SP cource icons_stategic data skills SP-1
Strategic Data Skills (self-paced)
A comprehensive course designed for individuals seeking to work strategically with data without delving into complex programming concepts.