Statistician Job Description
A statistician collects numerical data to solve real-world problems. These analytical wizards use mathematical and statistical techniques to help businesses, hospitals, research firms, and government agencies deeply analyze data, identify useful trends, and make smart decisions. Statisticians typically work full time in office settings. They may work independently in the medical and healthcare industries, or on teams with other mathematicians, engineers, and scientists in government and financial settings. People who love puzzles and are passionate about finding the right answer to an original question will thrive in this role. Statisticians help institutions make well-informed business and policy choices.
Statistician Duties and Responsibilities
No two statisticians are exactly alike, as specific skills vary by employer and industry. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job:
Design Surveys and Questionnaires
In order to collect the data they need, statisticians create statistically accurate surveys, experiments, questionnaires, and subject polls. In order to make surveys easy to administer, they often train or write instructions on how to properly manage and organize survey data. Statisticians also suggest how to enhance the design of future surveys and experiments.
Data editing and cleaning is a key component of a statistician’s work. They use data scrubbing techniques to separate files and thoroughly check for overall quality. Data management is essential to producing accurate conclusions and results, and statisticians are required to maintain and update precise databases.
Perform Statistical Analysis
Statisticians analyze data with specific statistical software. Their primary responsibility is to spot trends and detect relationships within data sets. They commonly conduct tests to determine the reliability and soundness of their data. Once sure of its accuracy, statisticians create a Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP) to find useful information. Statisticians perform calculations on data using statistical formulas, computers, and calculators.
Conduct Research and Development
Performing R&D work to develop new predictive models is a key responsibility of statisticians. Employers expect them to create experiments for product and process testing and improvement. Their statistical research helps businesses and organizations design more effective strategies. To ensure that their models and experiments work properly, statisticians must also continually develop and sustain their quality control procedures.
Present Statistical Findings
Statisticians compile their findings from multiple source materials. They create reports, charts, or graphs that describe and interpret their research conclusions. Statisticians may be called upon to present written reports to other team members and clients. They commonly publish their findings in well-known publications and journals.
Statistician Skills and Qualifications
Statisticians should be detail-oriented people who love working with boundless amounts of data. A master’s degree in statistics or math is typically required, while higher-level original research positions require a doctorate degree. Employers also look for the following skills:
- Statistical programming – applying statistical formulas and methods to solve practical problems is why companies hire for this role
- Data analysis – creating relevant data sets, tables, and figures is key to a statistician’s job
- Math skills – statisticians use advanced math, such as calculus and linear algebra, to develop their predictive models
- Writing skills – a significant part of a statistician’s role is preparing research papers, abstracts, and presentations. They need strong writing skills because their reports often require them to explain highly technical material to others without their same expertise
- Project management – statisticians often work independently and require the ability to manage multiple assignments and meet project deadlines with efficiency and accuracy
- Interpersonal skills – because they often operate in teams, statisticians must be able to speak their ideas in a clear way so they are understood and adopted
- Critical thinking – statisticians use logic and critical thinking to overcome challenges in their data collection and interpretation process
Tools of the Trade
Although they work in different industries, statisticians use a common set of tools to fulfill their duties, including:
- Statistical software (SAS, SPSS)
- Database software packages (Microsoft Excel and Access)
- Analysis tools (MatLab, R)
Statistician Education and Training
A master’s degree in mathematics, economics, computer science, or a related quantitative field is required for most statistician positions. Some employers accept a bachelor’s degree, but those that do require substantial prior experience. A bachelor’s degree in statistics includes classes such as survey methodology, statistical theory, calculus, and trial design.
Statistician Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for statisticians is $84,060. The highest 10 percent of earners make more than $133,720, while the lowest 10 percent earn less than $50,660.
Industry employment for statisticians is expected to grow 34 percent through 2026. The BLS notes that this growth rate is much faster than average for all other occupations. Demand for statisticians will increase as organizations hire more of them to sort through the rapidly rising amount of digital and electronic data involved in the modern age.
Ready to become a top-notch statistician? We’ve come up with a list of outstanding resources that will help you move forward in your career:
American Statistical Association – ASA is the official association for statisticians, offering knowledge, networking, and community for aspiring and experienced statisticians
American Mathematical Society – get career advice, events, news, and educational scholarships and grants to further your statistician career with this association
This Is Statistics – take a look at this career resource created by the ASA to raise awareness of the many interesting careers in statistics
Statistician Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – learn how to win your first dream job as a statistician with this career search guide
A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers – prepare for a successful career as a statistician with this insider guide full of hands-on guidance that will help you decide whether this role is right for you and equip you with useful skills
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