Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Dean's Office

Major Professor

Richard Plank, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Richard Will, Ph.D.


data analyst, data driven decisions, business analysis, descriptive analytics, data scientist, statistics


The world’s data sets are growing exponentially every day due to the large number of devices generating data residue across the multitude of global data centers. What to do with the massive data stores, how to manage them and defining who are performing these tasks has not been adequately defined and agreed upon by academics and practitioners. Data science is a cross disciplinary, amalgam of skills, techniques and tools which allow business organizations to identify trends and build assumptions which lead to key decisions. It is in an evolutionary state as new technologies with capabilities are still being developed and deployed. The data science tasks and the data scientist skills needed in order to be successful with the analytics across the data stores are defined in this document. The research conducted across twenty-two academic articles, one book, eleven interviews and seventy-eight surveys are combined to articulate the convergence on the terms data science. In addition, the research identified that there are five key skill categories (themes) which have fifty-five competencies that are used globally by data scientists to successfully perform the art and science activities of data science.

Unspecified portions of statistics, technology programming, development of models and calculations are combined to determine outcomes which lead global organizations to make strategic decisions every day.

This research is intended to provide a constructive summary about the topics data science and data scientist in order to spark the dialogue for us to formally finalize the definitions and ultimately change the world by establishing set guidelines on how data science is performed and measured.