NEWS12 July 2022

First cohort completes data science professional standards

Awards B2B Data analytics News UK

UK – The first cohort of data scientists to complete the new, defined standard of professionalism from the Alliance for Data Science Professionals (AfDSP).

Data science abstract image

The AfDSP was set up in 2020 to address the multidisciplinary nature of data science. These new industry-wide standards cover a wide range of issues, including good data management, effective problem solving with data, and managing risks such as data breaches, misuse, or bias in datasets.

The alliance comprises six organisations: the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), the Operational Research Society, the Institute of Mathematics and its applications, the Alan Turing Institute, and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). 

All the member societies of the alliance developed the standards collaboratively, which followed an earlier discussion between the RSS and BCS. The first group of awardees will be rewarded at a special ceremony at the Royal Society. 

Commenting on the awards, the national statistician Sir Ian Diamond said: “In recent years, there has been exponential growth in the use of data science in the public sector. 

“Innovations in data science can reap great rewards and enable better use of data in decision making and analysis that can benefit everyone. The Office for National Statistics’ Data Science Campus has recently shown [this to be true] on topics as diverse as the cost of living and tracking the ‘busyness’ of urban centres in real-time using machine learning.

“I am delighted to see the launch of the Alliance for Data Science Professionals. This will help develop and provide the data science skills we need to deliver transformational benefits in the public sector. It will bring together data scientists from across many disciplines and professions where it is currently being incubated. 

“I hope that ultimately his will help us better harness data science for good in the public sector.”

The AfDSP chair and RSS vice-president for professional affairs, Professor Rachel Hilliam, said the standards would help build public trust in data scientists. 

Hilliam noted: “It is fantastic that this first cohort of candidates has successfully completed our new standards – a validation of their expertise, ethics, and professionalism. 

“But this is just the beginning; we would like to see this level of quantifiable professionalism become the accepted norm and essential for ongoing career development in the sector, ensuring that our data is in safe hands.”

One of the candidates to achieve the new standards is Dr Sophie Carr, founder and owner of analytics company Bays Consulting. She said: “It is a huge privilege to be part of the first cohort to be recognised by an alliance of learned societies for the work I'm involved in.

“Data science impacts across society and it’s wonderful we can now show we’re working ethically, safely and professionally.”