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Career guide: Statistician

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
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Career guide: Statistician
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As detailed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one STEM field that is set to enjoy significant growth in employment in the next seven years or so is statistics. And recent graduates with advanced degrees in subjects such as survey methodology, mathematics and statistics will likely find themselves in a prime position to succeed in this evolving field, an article from U.S. News & World Report explained. If you are keen to learn more about this exciting career path, read on. Below is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know.

What do statisticians do?
Statisticians dedicate their careers to data. The role, according to U.S. News & World Report, involves the collection and interpretation of large amounts of data to achieve insights into any number of problems. Statisticians can also use data to devise solutions and strategies for improvement and change. Given that data is utilized across an array of industries, statisticians can be found in a number of fields, The World of Statistics explained.

For example, statisticians can be found in the business sphere, where they are compelled to use data to investigate any number of concerns related to an industry or particular company. They will then employ this information to create investigative reports into problems such as customer satisfaction, market research, the cost of employee retention and so on, before using the insights to develop plans for improvement or change. Statisticians can also be found in fields as disparate as the sciences, law enforcement, weather forecasting and politics.

A closer look at potential career paths
Given the array of industries that statisticians can enter, it is helpful to look at some common career paths that qualified professionals in this discipline typically pursue:

  • Data scientist: As explained by The Balance, the term "big data" has gained traction in recent times, across a number of industries. The term denotes the practice of utilizing data to gauge actionable insights into any number of issues. Data scientists are essentially statisticians, although the career path can differ slightly. The role necessitates proficiency with statistics and mathematics, as well as an ability to use specific digital analytics platforms. Data scientists or analytics professionals are now widely employed in the private business sector, where they collect and analyze vast amounts of data.

    These professionals are also found in fields such as academia, health care and even politics. For example, data scientists have become increasingly commonplace in the political arena in past years, with data analytics harnessed as a tool in recent presidential campaigns, explained an article from This is Statistics, a publication of the American Statistical Association. Data scientists in politics collect data pertaining to areas such as voter demographics, hot button issues, favored candidates and so on. This information can then be used to predict likely election outcomes. It can also help campaigners target their messages to specific groups of voters, in a process known as microtargeting, Forbes detailed. For example, data may reveal that a certain demographic of individuals is more likely to watch television at a certain time. With this information, campaigns can then ensure that commercials pertaining to issues important to that demographic of people are screened at that time.
  • Census statistician: Working for the government, census statisticians use data to gauge insights into issues as they pertain to politics and public policy. For example, as outlined by an article from This is Statistics, a publication of the ASA, census statisticians will use numbers and other information to help inform areas such as federal funding.
  • Market research analyst: Professionals in this field scrutinize data to understand market conditions in terms of the kinds of products that are successful and well-received by customers, the BLS reported. This information is utilized to inform marketing strategy. Market research is typically conducted prior to the launch of a new product or service. Market research professionals tend to be found in fields such as retail. 
  • Public health statistician: As detailed by This is Statistics, public health statisticians use data-driven research to devise government policy as it pertains to any number of health-related issues. For example, a public health statistician may work on projects that help determine funding allocations for programs targeted at preventative health.
  • Animal health statistician: An unusual and exciting career path, statisticians in the field of animal health utilize data-based research to help monitor and protect groups of endangered species, This is Statistics explained. These professionals are typically associated with nonprofit institutions and zoos.
Statisticians can be found in a number of industries.Statisticians can be found in a number of industries.

Salary prospects
Compensation for statisticians can vary, contingent on the industry and location in which they are employed, although on average salaries can be lucrative. According to a 2015 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, statisticians earned just over $80,000 a year. Although, as detailed by trusted careers website PayScale, salaries in excess of $100,000 annually are not uncommon. Indeed, as noted by U.S. News & World Report, salaries close to $131,000 per annum are by no means out of the question. 

Job outlook
Big data has become an integral part of business practice, which likely accounts for the major growth projected for this sector. The BLS explained that, in the period spanning 2014-2024, employment in the field will grow by as much as 34 percent, which is notably high when compared with other industries.

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