Who Hires Statisticians?
mathematicians who specialize in the reasoning and methods for producing and observant
data. Students who major in math can combine a focus in statistics with other
subject area like science, business, or computer science.
The Role of Statistics in Medicine:
Statistics is important
in the area of health and medicine. The field of biostatistics deals with the
application of statistics specifically in biology. Some statistics careers are
The Role of Statistics in Business and Industry:
The role of statistics
in business and industry is to help solve the major problems in companies today
like quality control and product improvement. Such companies can be in the line
of work such as:
- Animal Health
- Public Health
- Clinical Research
- Forensics Medicine
The Role of Statistics in Government:
According to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, about 30% of statisticians work for federal, state and
local governments. Some of the jobs are in the fields of:
- Computer Science
- Economics and Finance
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
- Census and Population Research
- Government Regulations
- National Defense
- SPSS 15.0.1 – November 2006
- SPSS 16.0.2 – April 2008
- SPSS Statistics 17.0.1 – December 2008
- PASW Statistics 17.0.3 – September 2009
- PASW Statistics 18.0 – August 2009
- PASW Statistics 18.0.1 – December 2009
- PASW Statistics 18.0.2 – April 2010
- PASW Statistics 18.0.3 – September 2010
- IBM SPSS Statistics 19.0 – August 2010
- IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0 – August 2011
You always begin by defining a set of variables, and then you enter data for the variables to create a number of cases. For example, if you are doing an analysis of automobiles, each car in your study would be a case. The variables that define the cases could be things such as the year of manufacture, horsepower, and cubic inches of displacement. Each car in the study is defined as a single case, and each case is defined as a set of values assigned to the collection of variables. Every case has a value for each variable. Variables have types. That is, each variable is defined as containing a specific kind of number. For example, a scale variable is a numeric measurement, such as weight or miles per gallon. A categorical variable contains values that define a category; for example, a variable named gender could be a categorical variable defined to contain only values 1 for female and 2 for male. Things that make sense for one type of variable don’t necessarily make sense for another. For example, it makes sense to calculate the average miles per gallon, but not the average gender.
After your data is entered into SPSS — your cases are all defined by values stored in the variables — you can run an analysis. You have already finished the hard part. Running an analysis on the data is much easier than entering the data. To run an analysis, you select the one you want to run from the menu, select appropriate variables, and click the OK button. SPSS reads through all your cases, performs the analysis, and presents you with the output.
You can instruct SPSS to draw graphs and charts the same way you instruct it to do an analysis. You select the desired graph from the menu, assign variables to it, and click OK. When preparing SPSS to run an analysis or draw a graph, the OK button is unavailable until you have made all the choices necessary to produce output. Not only does SPSS require that you select a sufficient number of variables to produce output, it also requires that you choose the right kinds of variables. If a categorical variable is required for a certain slot, SPSS will not allow you to choose any other kind. Whether the output makes sense is up to you and your data, but SPSS makes certain that the choices you make can be used to produce some kind of result.
There is a huge place for statistician jobs in all over the world. Think back to when you last heard the unemployment rate. Though the news was likely concerning, you probably didn’t consider all the work that went into producing that statistic. Yet the behind-the-scenes analysis that produces usable statistics is vital to making crucial decisions in the private and public sectors. And the people who conduct it—statisticians—are in high demand.
Crunching numbers may not sound like the stuff of dream jobs, but industries across the board need statisticians to analyze the ocean of data that technology has put at our fingertips. “The Internet and more sophisticated computers have allowed us to collect and organize so much data that we’ve outpaced our vision for what to do with it,” says Sally Morton, president of the American Statistical Association (ASA).
Because of the availability of data and the ease with which it can be collected, companies are eager to put it to good use. “You hear about evidence-based medicine and science-based policy,” says Alicia Carriquiry, director of graduate studies at Iowa State University’s statistics department. “Those things require data collection and interpretation, and statisticians can do that.”
Companies are so bent on hiring people who can add it all up that the current pipeline for statisticians can’t meet the demand. “We know based on data from the National Science Foundation that hiring needs are bigger than the number of graduates we’re turning out,” says Morton. Echoing this shortage, Carriquiry says her graduates “have their pick of jobs, with typically two or three offers, even in this pathetic economy.”
The Science of Statistics
Statisticians does more than just churn out unemployment numbers. They design research, formulate results, and turn those results into meaningful information that non-statisticians can use. Statistics also predict outcomes using data from the past. Almost every industry employs data analysts—from marketing to environmental science—and the work, though not always visible, has a big impact. The following are a few industries that have seen an increased need for statisticians: ]
The government is one of the largest employers of statisticians, with a need to fill a variety of functions, from studying crime patterns at The Department of Justice to analyzing traffic congestion at The Department of Transportation. The U.S. Census Bureau will also need statisticians to turn out and analyze the nation’s demographics for the 2010 Census. The information will affect policies in areas, such as education and infrastructure, and determine how many representatives each state sends to the House of Representatives.
As the pharmaceutical industry grows, so does the need for statisticians to design clinical trials, collect information about drugs’ effects, and test thousands of chemical compounds to find which ones cure which ailments. Bioinformatics, which uses biological data, such as gene sequences to solve medical problems, is another growing area in healthcare that needs statisticians.
Here statisticians work in quality control and design. Green energy manufacturing is especially important. “If you want to design a wind turbine, you need to figure out what direction it should be pointing in and how long the rotors should be,” says Carriquiry. “A statistician can predict where the wind is going to come from and what strength it is going to have using information from the past.”
In today’s frugal climate, statisticians play an important role because they can help businesses predict which products will be successful and what marketing will work. They can also act as actuaries, determining and managing risk for financial services and insurance companies.