By: Ryan Ayers
For statisticians, the career outlook is rosy, even for entry-level job candidates. Organizations around the world need specialists who can translate data into actionable reports that inform mission-critical decision-making.
As more organizations grow reliant on complex analyses, students who love math can launch a satisfying and lucrative career by pursuing a degree in applied mathematics and statistics. Today, there are many exciting opportunities for newly minted statisticians, and after gaining experience, you can move on to one of several attractive career paths in the field.
The Numbers Look Good
Mathematicians and statisticians earn an average of $88,190 per year, or more than $40 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, mathematicians earn a somewhat higher median wage, at $101,900 per year.
The BLS forecasts 33-percent growth in the field in the decade preceding 2026. Job growth in the specialty, expresses the BLS, is much faster than the average of other U.S. occupations.
Statisticians analyze information and use mathematical practices to solve real-world problems for businesses, engineering firms, healthcare organizations and other enterprises. The government, as well as public sector engineering and research firms, frequently employ mathematicians and statisticians. Also, a growing number of businesses need statisticians to help them make sense of an enormous amount of information. Within these organizations, statisticians may work with engineers, scientists and other specialists.
For most positions, mathematicians and statisticians require at least a master’s degree in their field. Although, there are select positions available with a bachelor’s degree.
It’s All in the Numbers
Statisticians collect, analyze, interpret information and present actionable reports generated using big data analyses. In this profession, you might work in any field that can benefit from the study of information. Demographers, mathematicians and statisticians perfect the concepts backing the entertainment, software and hardware that consumers use every day.
In the public sector, for instance, the government has used statistical analysis for years to learn valuable information about the population. By administering the U.S. Census, the government tracks key metrics to monitor public demographics that inform economic decision-making.
With a degree in mathematics or statistics, you can open the door to an abundance of opportunities. Some individuals who pursue this learning track go on to work in academia.
Organizations across varying industries use statistics for different reasons, including business, learning, public health and safety. Financial institutions conduct statistical analysis to reduce lending risks and analyze economic activity, and investors use statistics to understand speculative risks and make well-informed investing decisions.
In business, marketing specialists use statistics to evaluate metrics such as internet traffic, audience engagement and conversions, and advertisers may use statistics to monitor the success of ad campaigns. Also, search engine specialists may use advanced programs such as Google Analytics to understand consumer behavior.
Solutions for the Real World
Statisticians may work with peers, doctoral professionals or programmers, depending on the work setting. Some statisticians test software designed for use by other mathematicians. This role may include writing test programs and validating the outcomes. In software development, statisticians must understand how organizations use software and then develop a practical solution.
In other roles, a statistician may develop analytical software solutions for specific industries. For example, a statistician might develop software for financial fraud detection or manufacturing warranty analyses. In these kinds of environments, collaboration is vital.
In this field, it’s unlikely you’d be left alone to work with numbers. It’s not enough to work magic with math, you must have the skills to communicate what that magic means to professionals outside of your discipline.
In some scenarios, statisticians may provide customer support. In this capacity, they must have strong communication skills as well as a solid understanding of statistical methods and software.
In other situations, statisticians may educate clients. In this case, effective teaching and presentation skills are essential. Other statisticians may consult with enterprise leaders about applying mathematical methods to research and operations.
Statisticians help organizations make data-informed decisions and optimize work activities. Over time, organizations typically present statisticians with opportunities to take on more responsibilities.
A mathematics or statistics degree is a strong foundation for career development. Many professionals who’ve earned a degree in the field enjoy upwardly mobile careers. Typically, however, these professionals tend to pursue technical roles, rather than advancing to management.
Nevertheless, a mathematics or statistics degree will give you the analytical skills that you need to lead an organization if you so desire. With a degree in applied statistics, the world could be your oyster.