The McKinsey Global Institute has identified that the demand for deep analytical talent will outpace the supply in the United States by almost 200,000 people within three years (source). In response, the White House has launched a "Big Data Research and Development Initiative", to "expand the workforce needed to develop and use Big Data technologies" (source). This theme is echoed by Thomas Davenport's article "Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job in the 21st Century" (source).
These studies - and many others - point to the need for universities to educate and train "Data Scientists" to address this demand. However, few universities in the country currently have pivoted their curricula to develop degree programs in Data Science - defined as the intersection of Statistics, Mathematics and Computer Science.
Kennesaw State University's Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science is an advanced degree which has been developed to meet the market demand for Data Scientists. This degree will train individuals to translate large, structured and unstructured, complex datasets into information to improve decision making. The curriculum includes heavy emphasis on programming, data mining, statistical modeling and the mathematical foundations to support these concepts. Importantly, the program also emphasizes communication skills - both oral and written - as well as application and tying results to business and research problems. Because this degree is a Ph.D., it creates flexibility. Graduates can either pursue a position in the private or public sector as a "practicing" Data Scientist - where continued demand is expected to greatly outpace the supply - or pursue a position within academia, where they would be uniquely qualified to teach these skills to the next generation.
Jennifer Lewis Priestley, Associate Dean, The Graduate College