Diploma in Data Analytics

Diploma in Data Analytics

The Diploma in Data Analytics at SCQF level 8 provides learners with a qualification that will demonstrate their aptitude in this area. This Diploma will develop the learner’s confidence and awareness of the skills that they have acquired, and which they can use for employment and/or further study. This qualification covers areas such as Personal Effectiveness, Principles of Data Management Infrastructure, Data Analysis Tools and Data Analysis: Data Science.

Building analytical capabilities is vital if Scotland is to remain competitive in the global information economy. The explosion of data, which has been called ‘the new corporate oil’, is set to continue at an exponential rate. The arrival of the Internet of Things, where billions of internet-connected devices will each generate their own stream of data, only serves to underline this point. According to tech giant Cisco, by 2020 there will be 50 billion such devices. But the data is worthless unless there is the analytical capability to extract insights and business value from it.

This qualification is available through colleges, employers and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

The Diploma in Data Analytics at SCQF level 8 is a new course for the growing big data sector. This is the first qualification developed by SQA in this new area This Diploma will provide a fully vocational work-based pathway for candidates

The structure and content of the qualification was determined in consultation with stakeholders. The core and option structure will allow candidates to mirror job roles in the data analysis field, such as data management; data analysis and visualisation; and data analysis software development. The core units focus on specialist Data Analytics topics, while the options are largely drawn from existing computing and IT competence-based qualifications including information security.

The qualification is a part of a Technical Apprenticeship in Data Analytics at SCQF Level 8

Who does this qualification suit

This Diploma in Data Analytics at SCQF level 8 is suitable for:

  • learners who have just left school
  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for some time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and who wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • people who wish to start their own business
  • employers who wish their employees to obtain short, continuing professional development courses


Entry to this qualification is at the discretion of the centre. The following information on prior knowledge, skills, experience or qualifications that provide suitable preparation for this qualification has been provided by the Qualification Design Team as guidance only.

In general, learners should possess qualifications (or equivalent experience) at the SCQF level below the level of the award. For example, candidates may have an HNC or equivalent qualification at SCQF level 7. Alternatively, candidates may have successfully completed a Modern Apprenticeship at SCQF Level 6 and have work experience equivalent to SCQF Level 7.

There is no absolute requirement that learners possess Computing or IT qualifications prior to undertaking this award, however given the cognitive demands of the award, it is unlikely that learners will successfully complete without some knowledge and experience of computers and/or demonstrable intellectual skills at an appropriate level.

Some typical entry scenarios are:

  • Candidate possesses HNC Computing or similar, has previous experience of computers and programming, seeks to specialise in Data Analytics.
  • Candidate has successfully completed a Modern Apprenticeship for IT & Telecoms Professionals at SCQF Level 6 and has work-based experience of the application of IT within their organisation.


This qualification is not designed to articulate to any specific degree programme, although it provides content similar to years 1 and 2 of degree programmes in Data Analytics. It is expected that these qualifications would only be considered in conjunction with any other qualifications held by the learner.

The Diploma in Data Analytics could also provide progression to:

  • an HNC/HND in Data Analytics or a related area
  • industry-related PDA
  • professional qualifications offered by the British Computer Society and the Institute of Engineering and Technology (subject to the suitability of the candidate's work role)
  • an SVQ in a related area at SCQF level 8
  • degree level study at a higher education institution
  • employment in the IT sector


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

E-assessment may be appropriate for some assessments in this Unit. By ‘e-assessment’ we mean assessment supported by Information and Communication Technology (ICT), such as e-testing, or the use of e-portfolios or social software. Centres which wish to use e‑assessment must ensure that the national standard is applied to all learner evidence and that conditions of assessment as specified in the Evidence Requirements are met, regardless of the mode of gathering evidence. The most up-to-date guidance on the use of e-assessment to support SQA’s qualifications is available at:  www.sqa.org.uk/e‑assessment.

Knowledge and understanding for all the units can be assessed through SOLAR (www.sqasolar.org.uk). If your centre is not already on SOLAR, you can complete the application form on the SOLAR website and get immediate access. The SOLAR website contains training materials and answers many of the common questions you may have. If you would like to know more, contact the SOLAR team on solar@sqa.org.uk.

If evidence is produced by means of an e-portfolio, learners are required to collate a portfolio of evidence, which can take a variety of digital forms, eg text, graphics, webpages, video clips, audio clips. This may be stored in an appropriate online platform.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Information about the qualification(s)

Qualification Structure

Group Award Code: GL30 48

The qualification is available at SCQF Level 8.

The Diploma consists of five mandatory Units and the total credit value of 76 SCQF credit points. At least a further 50 SCQFcredit points must be obtained from the optional units.

For details of the Units making up the qualification, please refer to the Qualification Structure.

Qualification Structure (135 KB)

Information about delivery, assessment, quality assurance and support material

Assessment strategy

For cognitive outcomes, any assessment method which demonstrates that the candidate understands the content may be used. Every effort should be made to relate the content to the candidate’s organisation wherever possible.

Simulation is allowed for aspects of outcomes where work-based activities are specified when:

  • a learner is required to complete a work activity that does not occur on a regular basis and therefore opportunities to complete a particular work activity do not easily arise
  • a learner is required to respond to a situation that rarely occurs, such as responding to an emergency situation
  • the safety of a learner, other individuals and/or resources will be put at risk.

Simulation must replicate the workplace to such an extent that learners will be able to fully transfer their occupational competence to the workplace and real situations

Evidence for cognitive outcomes may be wholly or partly produced under controlled conditions. When evidence is produced in uncontrolled or loosely controlled conditions it must be authenticated. There are no time limitations on the production of evidence.

Assessor's guidelines

Assessor's guidelines (477 KB)

Candidate Guidance and Portfolio

Candidate Guidance (502 KB)