What Is Statistics?
What do Statisticians Do?
Defined by Merriam-Webster:
1 : a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data
2 : a collection of quantitative data Statistics is one of the most important sciences
Statistics is considered to be one of the most important sciences. Statistics depends on practical applications of many of the other sciences as it provides results for a wide range of areas. The need for statisticians is great and it is growing. According to the American Statistical Association, you can go pretty far with a degree in statistics. Medical research, educational research, polling, environmental groups and agencies, government agencies, agriculture, consumer marketing, automotive agencies, GIS companies, educational testing agencies, media, etc. Companies employ statisticians because it is important to them to have someone to help them understand the marketplace, trends and rate of changes. With a society that is increasingly math and technology oriented, a degree in statistics will serve you very well. If you like math, statistics is a great choice.
What Do I Need?
An interest in Math and computers is a great starting point. The length of most degree programs is four to five years at the undergraduate level, for a more advanced position you may want to continue and get a Masters. The course load in statistics can be quite heavy, be prepared to work! A strong background in MathCad is essential! You will want to look at a variety of (SPSS, SAS, S-Plus, Fathom etc.) You can combine statistics with other subjects, economics and become an economics statistician, computer science or biology and become a biostatistician! Ultimately you will need to be comfortable with computers, as you will be using various software titles to present complex information. It also wouldn't hurt to have a few science and social science courses in your back pocket.
Many universities and colleges report that there's 100% placement every year for statistics students - there's that much demand! The 'odds' at finding a great career in statistics are excellent! Making sense of large quantities of information and solving problems is the skill involved for statisticians - a highly sought out skill. Some refer to statistical work as being part mathematician and part detective. Statisticians analyze data and discover patterns - then they make sense of it all. Statisticians very carefully analyze past trends to be able to predict future trends.
American Statistical Association
Lots of information regarding careers, events, earnings etc.
Canadian Statistical Association
Valuable information about job fairs for potential statisticians, events, and annual meeting information.
Statistical Society of Australia
Career information, awards, a link dedicated to young statisticians.
Royal Statistical Society
A large organization in the United Kingdom.