Statistical Analyst Job Description
Statistical Analysts collect, organize, analyze and present data relevant to their employer. Their analysis is used to help senior decision-makers in business strategy and make personnel decisions. Given the rising importance and complexity of data, Statistical Analysts can find employment in a variety of industries. One avenue of employment is to work for the government. Another is to work in the private sector for a market research firm, or in the marketing department of a corporation. Finally, one can find employment in academia at research-focused universities.
The work environment for Statistical Analysts is your typical office environment. This is a white-collar position with traditional corporate structure, and they work under a Senior Statistical Analyst. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Operations Research Analysts, which includes Statistical Analysts, is set to rise a whopping 27 percent through 2026. This is one of the fastest growing fields due to the prevalence of technology and “big data” in the business sector.
Statistical Analyst Duties and Responsibilities
Using statistics to help their employers make better business decisions involves several duties and responsibilities. We analyzed a collection of Statistical Analyst job descriptions to come up with the following list of the most important duties and responsibilities.
Develop and Implement Data Collection Strategies
The first task in the statistical analysis process is to collect data. Statistical Analysts set the parameters for what data is needed, the method of data collection, and the target number of participants. They are also responsible for managing lower-level employees who collect the data.
Extract and Organize Raw Data
Raw data has to be organized and “cleaned” before it can be analyzed. Statistical Analysts use their set parameters to disqualify bad data, and then organize the data into a spreadsheet.
Analyze and Interpret Data Using Statistical Analysis Software
Once the data is organized and cleaned, it is ready to be analyzed. Statistical Analysts use software such as SAS and R to perform complex statistical analysis. This is where they make meaning out of the data.
Present Data to Decision Makers and Stakeholders
Statistical Analysts don’t just have to make meaning out of data. They also have to be able to explain the significance of their findings in layman’s terms. This involves creating statistical reports and data visualizations and using them to present findings to decision makers and stakeholders.
Statistical Analyst Skills
The role of Statistical Analyst is one that requires much technical knowledge. Statistical Analysts have to have knowledge of advanced Mathematics such as linear algebra, probability and calculus. They also have to be tech-savvy, particularly when it comes to data mining and cleaning. They also have to have expertise in SQL databases, R and SAS languages and big data platforms like Hive and Hadoop. With that being said, Statistical Analysts also have to have good communication skills to explain their findings to decision-makers who are not experts in Statistical Analysis. Here are some of the skills a Statistical Analyst needs to find employment.
- Using strategic thinking to set data collection parameters for research campaigns
- Using data mining software to scrub and organize raw data
- Using SAS and R software to conduct complex statistical analysis
- Presenting analysis to decision makers using data visualization graphics
Statistical Analyst Tools of the Trade
Statistical Analysts use several tools in the course of their work. Here are a few of the most common types.
- Data Mining Software – Statistical Analysts use data mining software to scrub and organize raw data collected in the field.
- SAS and R Software – This software is used to conduct a complex statistical analysis.
- Data Visualization Tools – These tools are used to create visual graphics out of data and are used in the presentation process.
Statistical Analysts Education and Training
Statistical Analysts usually have a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics, Mathematics or a related field. Coursework includes advanced mathematics like statistical probability and calculus. It also involves learning complex statistical analysis software like R and SAS, as well as how to apply theoretical statistical principles in real-world situations.
Statistical Analyst Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for Operations Research Analysts, which includes Statistical Analysts is $79,200. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $43,400, while those in the top 10 percent make above $132,660.
Statistical Analyst Resources
Those looking to explore the world of a Statistical Analyst should check out the following list of resources.
American Statistical Association – The American Statistical is the largest, and oldest, professional organization for Statisticians. Founded in 1839, it is the second-oldest continuously operating professional organization in the country. Their website contains an education section that has resources for both professionals and students of all ages. It also has a career section that helps members with professional development, networking and finding a job.
International Statistical Institute – Founded in London in 1885, the International Statistical Institute now has over 4500 members spanning over 100 countries. Within the umbrella of this organization are seven associations that each focus on a more specialized area of statistics. The website lists all of the associations corresponding publications, which contain scholarly articles on industry hot topics. There is plenty to learn from this organization for Statistical Analysts.
Simply Statistics – Simply Statistics is a blog started and written by three professors of Biostatistics: Rafa Irizarry, Roger Peng and Jeff Leek. Their mission for the blog was to write about statistics being used to solve problems simply. It is updated multiple times a month and has a ton of archived articles with relevant information for aspiring Statistical Analysts.
FiveThirtyEight – This website illustrates just how prevalent statistics are in every aspect of our lives. It contains content on politics, sports, economics and social issues that all revolve around hard statistics.
Analytics Magazine – This website is the digital version of the Analytics Magazine print publication. It is one of the industry standards when it comes to technical content geared towards practicing Statistical Analysts.
SAS and R: Data Management, Statistical Analysis, and Graphics by Ken Kleinman and Nicholas J. Horton – This book covers performing frequent statistical tasks using both SAS and R software. It covers navigating between the two platforms, while most industry books only cover one or the other.
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