Data science incorporates varying elements and builds on techniques and theories from many fields, including math, statistics, data engineering, pattern recognition and learning, advanced computing, visualization, uncertainty modeling, data warehousing, and high performance computing with the goal of extracting meaning from data and creating data products. Data science is a novel term that is often used interchangeably with competitive intelligence or business analytics, although it is becoming more common. Data science seeks to use all available and relevant data to effectively tell a story that can be easily understood by non-practitioners.
A practitioner of data science is called a data scientist. The term was coined by DJ Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher. Data scientists solve complex data problems through employing deep expertise in some scientific discipline. It is generally expected that data scientists are able to work with various elements of mathematics, statistics and computer science, although expertise in these subjects are not required. However, a data scientist is most likely to be an expert in only one or two of these disciplines and proficient in another two or three. There is probably no living person who is an expert in all of these disciplines - if so they would be extremely rare. This means that data science must be practiced as a team, where across the membership of the team there is expertise and proficiency across all the disciplines.
Good data scientists are able to apply their skills to achieve a broad spectrum of end results. Some of these include the ability to find and interpret rich data sources, manage large amounts of data despite hardware, software and bandwidth constraints, merge data sources together, ensure consistency of data-sets, create visualizations to aid in understanding data and building rich tools that enable others to work effectively. The skill-sets and competencies that data scientists employ vary widely. Data scientists are an integral part of competitive intelligence, a newly emerging field that encompasses a number of activities, such as data mining and analysis, that can help businesses gain a competitive edge.