What is this job like?
Statisticians help to design surveys and experiments. They also collect, analyze, and interpret numerical data. Some work for businesses and some work in government.
To give an example, some statisticians may collect data to learn how safe new products are. This must be done before the product can be sold.
Statisticians often use samples to collect information. A sample provides information about a small group within a much larger group. They can then take what they learned about the small group and apply it to the larger group.
Statisticians decide where and how to gather the data. They choose the sample size. They decide about the type of survey. They tell workers who gather the data how to do their job. They process the collected data and reach conclusions about the data. They do this with the help of computer software.
Statisticians usually work regular hours in comfortable offices. Some have to travel to give advice to people. Some have to travel to set up surveys or gather data. Others have a lot of different duties. These include things such as setting up experiments and doing fieldwork. Some teach and do research.
How do you get ready?
Some people with only a bachelor's degree in statistics are able to get entry-level jobs as statisticians. However, a master's degree is needed for most of the jobs in this field. Research and teaching jobs usually require at least a master's degree in statistics, and generally a Ph.D. is needed. A master's degree and several years of experience are usually needed to get a job in industrial research.
In 2004, about 230 universities had degree programs in statistics.
Statisticians use computers a lot. So, it is very important to have a good background in computers if you are interested in this field. Good speaking and writing skills are also needed. This is because statisticians must often explain their work to others who don't know that much about statistics.
See also: Notable Mathematicians and Statisticians.