The course does not assume prior experience in programming or data analysis. Basic familiarity with a spreadsheet application will be an advantage.
The course does not require any knowledge of statistics, but you need to have basic numeracy skills, like writing arithmetic expressions, using percentages and understanding scientific notation. If you wish to brush up on your numeracy skills, we recommend the FutureLearn course Basic Science: Understanding Numbers from The Open University.
To study this course you will use specialist software. You can use the software online, via a free account on a website, or offline, by downloading and installing a free software package. You will receive instructions about both options via email before the course starts. The online solution requires a good internet connection and has some limitations.
The offline software has no limitations and is the recommended option. However, you will need access to a desktop or laptop computer on which you can install software. The software is free and there are versions available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. You will need about 3 GB of free disk space to download and install the software, and to store datasets that will be provided in the course.
Whether you choose the online or offline software option, you will need to be proficient in basic computer tasks, like creating folders, downloading files and copying them to specific folders, etc. In terms of accessibility, you will be asked to use your web browser and to type code.