Data Science Apprenticeships (The Ultimate Guide)

Did you know that the demand for data science professionals has tripled over the last five years? According to a report by The Royal Society, the demand for data scientists and data engineers has increased by +231% over the last five years. That’s compared to a 36% rise in demand for workers of all kinds.  

Together with data analysts and machine learning engineers, data scientists are among the most sought-after skilled workers.

Naturally, this demand has created opportunities for learning, including several data science apprenticeships backed by huge companies and reputable universities. 

In this blog, we’ll take you through the basics of what a data science apprentice entails and how a career in data science might look for you.  Here are some FAQs to help you get to grips with what is expected of a data scientist.

What do data Scientists do? 

Data scientists look at the sea of data often available in a business and transform it into actionable insights. They are problem solvers who can identify risks and threats as easily as they can predict a particular outcome by looking at the numbers. 

They don’t just store and process data but also clean and integrate it to recognise patterns.

The role combines computer science, maths, modelling, statistics, AI, analytics, and business knowledge. The findings of data scientists are fundamental to business strategy and making objective decisions. 

You must also be able to adjust your recommendations based on feedback and consistently measure and evaluate results.

A similar method of processing may be used on multiple problems. Different models and algorithms may be employed depending on the data. 

Do you need a degree to work as a data scientist?

There are a few acceptable routes into a career as a data scientist, and not all of them involve a university degree. 

It is possible to have a career in data science by working in a related field and building a portfolio that showcases your skills.

You can take online courses in aspects of the job, such as SQL, Python and R, business knowledge, data visualisation, statistics, and mathematics.

However, having a degree is likely to help you to progress more quickly, particularly if you earn the degree as part of an apprenticeship programme. 

What is a data science apprenticeship?

A data science apprenticeship is a programme combining on-site work with in-classroom learning. You will join a company and work for them as a data science apprentice while studying for a degree qualification. You will be paid a fair and liveable wage determined by your age and previous experience. 

There are two main types of data science apprenticeship, based on your level of learning and the qualification you wish to work towards: 

  • BSc Data Science (Level 6)
  • Data Science Apprenticeship (Level 7)

BSc Data Science (Level 6)

This is a structured undergraduate apprenticeship programme to develop candidates into data science professionals. It typically lasts 36 months. There are around 19 modules, including Data Analysts and Statistics 1, Computer Ethics, and Foundation of Python Programming. Apprentices will then complete an endpoint assessment. You will also be working full-time as a data science apprentice and your work-based performance will also be assessed.  At the endpoint, you will earn a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Data Science degree.

Entry requirements:

The Level 6 BSc or Data Scientists Degree Apprenticeship requires at least three A Levels at BBB or BBC grades (or predicted) with a grade of C or higher in English and a B or higher in Maths mandatory. A-Levels in General Studies, Critical Thinking, or Citizenship Skills will not be accepted. However, a Level 4 Data Analyst at Merit or a Distinction level is also accepted

There may be an opportunity for candidates without level 2 English and maths to earn the required grades within the first 12 months of the placement, so it need not be a barrier. 

Data Science Apprenticeship (Level 7)

This is a postgraduate programme suitable for those with a related degree who wish to take the next step in their career. Completing on-the-job and in-classroom learning, you will develop your skills in subjects such as data visualisation, Bayesian data analysis and data science in the wild. You may be asked to complete group projects and may be required to write a dissertation. You will earn an MSc-equivalent qualification in data science.

Entry requirements:

To enrol on the Data Science Apprenticeship (Level 7) programme, you will need at least a 2:1 BSc honours degree, or international equivalent, in Mathematics, Statistics, Computer science and/or an engineering discipline with a high level of mathematical ability. The English Language requirements is IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 5.5 in all-sub-skills).

How long does a data science apprenticeship last?

Programmes usually run between three and four years, depending on the level of apprenticeship you are undertaking, described above. 

How much will I get paid as a data science apprentice?

The salary for a data science apprentice in the UK is around £19,000+ per year for a level 6 programme. Level 7 apprentices can expect around £22,000+. If based in London with a big company, you may also be awarded an extra £4,000+ as a living allowance.

Is there funding available for data science apprentices?

Yes, all UK degree apprenticeships are paid for equally by the UK Government and your employer. 

What do you learn on a data science apprenticeship?

This apprenticeship is designed to develop your analytical skills and teach you how to apply them to maximum effect. Data scientists don’t just analyse results, they drive them. 

You will learn various techniques, such as creating analytical models, how to build prediction systems, and deliver data solutions for colleagues across all departments. 

What are the most common data scientist jobs?

Common careers for data scientists are as follows:

  • Data scientists – design and develop data modelling process, create algorithms and predictive models/perform custom analysis
  • Data analysts – Analyse and manipulate large amounts of data to identify trends, to reach conclusions that can inform business strategies
  • Data engineers – clean and organise data from different sources, aggregate it, and transfer it to data warehouses
  • Business intelligence specialists – Identify trends in sets of data
  • Data architects – Design, manage and create the data architecture of a business or organisation

What is a data scientist’s average UK salary?

The average salary for a qualified data scientist in the UK is just shy of £50,000 a year.

However, this can rise to £85,700+ depending on the organisation, level of experience and the specific role. Data scientists are greatly valued by big businesses. You may find that global companies are willing to offer high salaries to attract the best talent.

How do I find data scientist apprenticeships near me?

To find apprenticeships near you, you can use our handy search function. Type your keyword, such as ‘data scientist apprenticeship’ select your closest location and the appropriate level from Level 2 to Level 6-7 and wait for the results.

We hope you have gained a better understanding of data scientist apprenticeships and the kind of career opportunities they could represent for you.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch