Career Spotlight: Statistician

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The days of professional statisticians gathered around a chalkboard in a stuffy room are finished. Statisticians now work in the realm of computers, hand-in-hand with data analysts, actuaries, and other types of researchers and mathematicians.

Most statisticians work within a specific industry, collecting data (a task that has increased exponentially in the wake of Big Data), analyzing it for patterns and trends that will be useful to their company, and reporting the fruits of their labor to business executives and marketing departments, or publishing their work in professional journals.

For students interested in pursuing a career as a statistician, a masters in business analytics or a masters in data analytics can provide the training and experience necessary to qualify for that position.

Statistics Is About Being Prepared

Because statisticians now have access to computers, stored data, sensor readings, polls, data models, and historical records, they are becoming able to predict the future with a higher degree of accuracy than ever before.

Statisticians in meteorology help to predict weather problems days or even weeks ahead of time. Statisticians in business can see economic trouble coming a mile away. In the realm of public health, statisticians can track outbreaks and clusters of infections in an effort to pinpoint causes and determine remedies.

“Since things such as the forecasting of election results, population growth, and economic trends started to be systematically studied using statistics, the future has become less unknown,” writes Eunylson Lopes, founder and CEO at United Statisticians, in his article, “Statistician: The Profession Of The Future (That Is Already Here)” on LinkedIn.com. “The possibility to predict what is going to happen with a certain degree of confidence just became a reality to us [thanks to data science].”

Where Statisticians Are Found

Statisticians are needed in every major field and in several different capacities within each field. “Statisticians At Work,” a list compiled by the website WorldOfStatistics.org, details the need for statisticians in various fields, including:

  • Business and Industry – Statisticians are tasked with guiding the manufacturing process from design and engineering all the way through to customer satisfaction. Marketing departments use statistics in the testing of new products, measuring customer feedback, and predicting future trends. And due to the vast improvements in computer sciences, AI algorithms, and hardware platforms, software design departments need statisticians to help develop, test, and educate others on new analytics software.
  • Health and Medicine – Statisticians are instrumental to monitoring cancer incidence rates and health-related behaviors ranging from tobacco smoking to healthy eating. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are major employers of statisticians. Pharmaceutical companies also need statisticians to aid in development, clinical trials, and market research. Finally, the field of genetics would not exist without statisticians constantly studying genetic abnormalities, birth defects, and epigenetics.
  • Education and Research – Educational organizations use statisticians to study the effectiveness of policies and assess school faculties. At the graduate and post-graduate levels, statisticians are sometimes employed by universities to conduct research on theoretical topics and report findings through academic journals. Governments and major corporations use statistics experts to conduct surveys and measure the effectiveness of policies and regulations. And of course, statisticians are needed to teach future statisticians.
  • Miscellany – Other fields that need statisticians include the agricultural, ecological, legal, and consulting industries. In fact, any industry that can improve through a careful analysis of available data and a thorough study of trends and predictions can benefit from professional statisticians.

The Road To A Rewarding Career

Entry-level positions in statistics typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or statistics. Those new to the profession are likely to be assigned simple analytical tasks or report writing. The more interesting work is reserved for statisticians with master’s degrees and beyond.

Post-graduate statistics coursework includes advanced mathematics, logic, computer science, data analytics, and predictive modeling. Many students will combine statistics coursework with other areas of study in order to follow a pre-determined career path. By far, the most popular field of study to combine with statistics is data analytics.

Statisticians with post-graduate degrees may supervise teams of researchers and data analysts. Pay increases dramatically along with responsibilities. Managers and supervisors in statistical fields are expected to keep current on their education, so attending conventions and lectures is highly recommended.

“In this era of Big Data, more and more jobs require statistical literacy and skills in data analysis,” explains the American Statistical Association in the “Why Study Statistics” section of its website, ThisIsStatistics.org. “For example, Jeremy Singer-Vine, data editor at Buzzfeed and author of the Data Is Plural newsletter, took a few classes in statistics as an undergraduate to land a job in the emerging field of data journalism.”

According to DataUSA.io, students or recent graduates looking for a position as a statistician should seek employment at colleges and universities, scientific research and development services, insurance carriers, hospitals, or pharmaceutical companies (in order of most common employers of statisticians). The highest paying industries are, in order from highest to lowest, pharmaceutical companies, financial investment, advocacy organizations, scientific and technical consulting services, and electronic component manufacturers. Average salary, taking all fields into account, is around $90,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Whichever direction he or she takes, a statistician in the era of Big Data can expect a long and bountiful career. Nearly every industry needs professional statisticians, and that need is only going to grow larger in the coming years.

Maryville University’s Master Degree In Business Data Analytics

The demand for business analytics experts lies at the heart of Maryville University’s online Master’s of Science in Business Data Analytics degree. The program can prepare graduates to enter the workforce as a statistician, data scientist, data analyst, or actuary.

At Maryville University, students learn how to handle datasets, orchestrate multiple infrastructures, monetize data, and make decisions based on valuable business analytics insights. Graduates can gain the training and knowledge to combine business operational data with the latest analytical tools, making them invaluable to employers.

Sources:

Statistician: The Profession Of The Future (That Is Already Here) – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/statistician-profession-future-already-here-eunylson-lopes
Statisticians At Work – http://www.worldofstatistics.org/statistics-as-a-career/statisticians-at-work/
Why Study Statistics – http://thisisstatistics.org/students/
Miscellaneous Mathematical Science Occupations, Including Mathematicians And Statisticians – https://datausa.io/profile/soc/1520XX/