Statisticians have become key employees across a large number of industries. The increased use of data to create business strategy has made the skill set of statisticians more in demand than ever.
Statistics are at the heart of the data revolution. Those who become statisticians gain expert-level knowledge in how to collect and interpret data, finding trends that help drive decision-making by top executives.
Almost every industry now needs statisticians trained in the latest data collection methods. Some of the top recruiters include financial firms, engineering companies and departments, and healthcare providers and insurers.
Entering the field can lead to a stable, challenging career for people with a gift for putting statistics to use.
What Do Statisticians Do?
Successful statisticians master all the latest techniques in collecting and analyzing data. Specific job duties can vary depending on the industry. However, some of the duties typically include:
- Determining the type of data needed to address specific organizational questions
- Designing sound methods for collecting that data (this could include surveying customers of a business, for example, or using specific patient information at a healthcare provider)
- Overseeing the actual collection of the data to ensure it is technically correct
- Applying the proper techniques to analyze the data
- Developing actionable conclusions derived from the data to report to organizational leaders
Examples of this work can be found within a wide variety of industries.
The U.S. Census conducted every 10 years is an example of data collection with results that are used to drive decisions on a number of issues. Another example surveys, which are used to gauge political opinion on everything from societal trends to presidential elections.
In sports, a statistician might work in the analytics department of a baseball team, using data from games to create new tactics for how the team approaches in-game situations.
Whatever the case, statisticians analyze data and look for patterns. They also look for relationships between different data sets. In the census example, this might mean looking at income based on where people live. In baseball, it might mean determining where a ball is likely to go if thrown by a specific pitcher and hit by a specific batter.
A big part of the job is the ability to present conclusions from in-depth data analysis to managers and business leaders in such a way that it is understandable and actionable.
Job Growth & Pay
Statisticians belong to one of the fastest-growing professions in the nation. The number of people working in the field is expected to grow by 34 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The increased use of data and sheer amount of data now available is helping drive the growth.
The median annual pay for a statistician in May 2016 was $80,500, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent earned more than $130,000.
The top-paying jobs in the field are with the federal government, with a median annual salary of $100,750. Other fields that pay statisticians well include scientific research organizations and management, and technical consulting companies.
Earning a master’s degree in the field also can lead to more responsibilities and higher pay.
How to Become a Statistician
Typically, statisticians enter the field by earning a bachelor’s degree in statistics. They may also choose to get a degree in business analytics, which typically offers a curriculum more focused on the use of data in the business world.
However, to move past entry-level positions, most employers will want statisticians with a master’s degree. The Master of Science in Applied Business Analytics at Jacksonville University, which is offered 100% online, is a good example of a program that prepares students for leadership roles in this growing field.
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