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The Tasks, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) were developed with a focus 12 to 36 months in the future for an entry-level employee working in that specific cluster.
More specific definitions can be found within the KSA list.

The average was calculated from the subject matter expert votes.

• A vote of "4" indicated the item must be covered in the curriculum.
• A vote of "3" indicated the item should be covered in the curriculum.
• A vote of "2" indicated that it would be nice for the item to be covered in the curriculum.
• A vote of "1" indicated the item should not be covered in the curriculum.

Task: Specific things an entry level person would be expected to perform on the job with little supervision.

Knowledge: Knowledge focuses on the understanding of concepts. It is theoretical. An individual may have an understanding of a topic or tool or some textbook knowledge of it but have no experience applying it. For example, someone might have read hundreds of articles on health and nutrition, many of them in scientific journals, but that doesn't make that person qualified to dispense advice on nutrition.

Skills: The capabilities or proficiencies developed through training or hands-on experience. Skills are the practical application of theoretical knowledge. Someone can take a course on investing in financial futures, and therefore has knowledge of it. But getting experience in trading these instruments adds skills.

Abilities: Abilities have historically been used to describe the innate traits or talents that a person brings to a task or situation. Many people can learn to negotiate competently by acquiring knowledge about it and practicing the skills it requires. A few are brilliant negotiators because they have the innate ability to persuade. In reality, abilities may be included under skills or may be separated out.


*Anyone is welcome to use, modify, and/or distribute ITSS findings and data, but you must give clear attribution to the source of this material by citing “IT Skill Standards 2020 and Beyond (NSF ATE project grant DUE 1838535).”

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