Data science allows industries to turn information into actionable insights. It can resolve issues within individual sectors and the economy at large — but used incorrectly, it can also create problems.
Over the years, data science has become an essential part of industries such as telecommunications, manufacturing, insurance, agriculture, marketing and public policy, to name a few. Given its prevalence, it has also become a popular professional field, with many unfilled jobs and low unemployment rates. As the field has grown, the number of institutions of higher education offering data science degrees has, as well.
Agreement on standards is an important step in the maturation and establishment of any emerging discipline. The interdisciplinary nature of data science brings challenges in uniting traditionally separate disciplines into a coherent approach that produces ethical and well-trained practitioners.
ABET and member society CSAB formed a joint task force of professional society experts to investigate data science accreditation. These experts drafted criteria for data science programs, presented the criteria at public forums and revised it based on public feedback. On July 26, 2020, the ABET Computing Area Delegation approved the release of Program Criteria for Data Science and Similarly Named Computing Programs for public review and comment through June 15, 2021. This gives the Computing Accreditation Commission an opportunity to get constituent feedback while ensuring the proposed changes, revisions and criteria are as clear, effective and inclusive as possible. Pilot accreditation is being planned for the upcoming 2021-2022 accreditation cycle.