Industrial statisticians help build products, deliver services that satisfy customers, and increase their company’s market share and profit margin. Statisticians help
design the best product, guide the transition from design to manufacturing, ensure a
consistently excellent product, manage customer satisfaction and provide a
financially beneficial bottom line. Industry professionals use statistical models for
quality control and quality assurance in nearly all manufactured goods.
Marketing Statistics is used to quantify the extent of variation in customers’ needs and wants. Statisticians design experiments for new products, conduct focus groups and sample surveys to gather customer feedback, and perform field experiments in test markets to determine to produce viability and marketability. Statistics and data mining also are used to analyze sales data and predict future trends Engineering
Engineers work in electronics, chemicals, aerospace, pollution control, construction,
and other industries. They may be responsible for leading large projects with
significant costs, technical complexity, and responsibility. Statistical methods allow
engineers to make a consistent product, detect problems, minimize chemical waste,
and predict product life.
Reliable and accurate statistical software is arguably the most important tool
available to statisticians in every field. Developing code that is both user-friendly and
sufficiently complex is a challenging task, as is exploiting the rapidly occurring
improvements in hardware platforms, graphics, and algorithms. Opportunities in this
field include software design and development, software testing, quality assurance,
technical support, education, documentation, marketing, and sales.
HEALTH AND MEDICINE
EpidemiologyEpidemiological statisticians work on projects such as calculating cancer incidence
rates or the rates of chronic and infectious diseases, monitoring and reporting on
disease outbreaks, and monitoring changes in health-related behaviors such as
smoking and physical activity. Fields of practice include nutritional, environmental,
genetic, and social epidemiology, as well as pharmacoepidemiology.
Public HealthPublic health statisticians work on preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting
health through organized community activities. These include sanitation, control of
contagious infections, hygiene education, early diagnosis and preventive treatment,
and adequate living standards. This field requires understanding of epidemiology,
nutrition, antiseptic practices, and social sciences. In many developed countries,
public health is studied and coordinated on a national level by a government agency,
such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and
internationally by the World Health Organization.
PharmacologyStatisticians in pharmacology work in pharmaceuticals, animal health, and
government research. They are key to all aspects of drug discovery, development,
approval, and marketing. They work in preclinical research, clinical trials,
epidemiology, health economics, and market research. Statisticians are essential in
the drug development process because they ensure the validity and accuracy of
findings at all stages of the process.
GeneticsStatistics has been used in human genetics to create automated methods of labeling
possible indicators of genetic abnormalities, such as birth defects and early aging.
Statistics also has been used in animal and plant genetics to breed desirable
characteristics in offspring. Using complex statistical models, statisticians help
formulate sound decisions by distinguishing between environmental and genetic
Education is a leading worldwide industry, and the tasks educational statisticians can
choose to undertake are diverse. Statisticians teach students from kindergarten
through doctoral programs. They may help assess teacher effectiveness, analyze a
large database to understand a particular issue, or develop better statistical models
to represent the amount of learning attained by one student or all students in a
school district, state or province, or an entire nation.
Science Writing and Journalism
Science writers are employed by the mass media, universities, and corporations to
produce news briefs, articles, news releases, and other reports. Writers with
scientific backgrounds are especially in demand because of their ability to explain
complicated statistical or scientific data in easy-to-understand articles for
non-statisticians and the general public.
Statistical methods are used in government regulation on topics such as stock
trading rules, air purity standards, and new drug approvals. Statistics also are cited in
court proceedings, parliamentarian or congressional hearings, and lobbying
arguments. Politics involve statistics in the form of approval-rating surveys, voter
registration, campaigning, and election predictions. Statisticians participate in
government agencies and assist in national, provincial, or state government
decision making and policymaking.
Statisticians work on surveys in government, the social sciences, education, law,
forestry, agriculture, biology, medicine, business, and e-commerce. A survey
statistician might study efficient survey design, experimental methods for increasing
response rates, accounting for nonresponse and under coverage, or how to release
data to the public while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents. Other
important issues include questioning wording and design and deciding where and
how to take samples that will include traditionally under-represented groups.
Independent statistical consultants work on many of the same projects as other
statisticians, but they usually are hired on a temporary basis to solve a specific
problem that requires statistical expertise not available within the hiring company.
Since the field of statistics is so broad, many statistical consultants specialize in some
area, such as quality improvement or pharmaceuticals. Consultants may be hired
with grant money to work on short-term projects in medicine, agriculture,
engineering, or business.
Statistics are becoming more important as court cases address increasingly complex
problems. Sometimes the statistician analyzes data that can help the jury or judge
decide whether someone is guilty of a crime or must pay damages for causing
injuries. Court cases involving statistical analyses include DNA testing, salary
discrepancies, consumer surveys, and disease clusters.
Statisticians have teamed up with experts in agriculture to study a number of
challenging questions, including chemical pesticides, hydrogeology, veterinary
sciences, genetics, and crop management. Statisticians are involved in studies
ranging from small laboratory experiments to large projects conducted over many
hundreds or thousands of square miles. They work on data from the smallest scale of
organism to plants, insects, animals, and humans. They also work with scientists
from fields such as bacteriology, genetics, biochemistry, dairy science,
environmental studies, entomology, plant sciences, rural sociology, veterinary
medicine, wildlife, and ecology.
Statisticians play a major role in addressing questions about the Earth’s natural
environment, including animal populations, agricultural protections, and fertilizer
and pesticide safety. Most states employ wildlife statisticians. Statisticians are
employed by state and federal environmental agencies, as well as companies that
collect environmental data. Increasingly, companies need statisticians to help assess
how a new product or plant will affect the surrounding environment. Scientific
researchers also work with statisticians, often at universities, to design experiments
that will answer basic questions about the environment.