Not only for math lovers, careers in statistics require an understanding of data and what it means in our lives. Statisticians, who are like detectives, need a well-rounded background which can include the social sciences. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for statisticians should be strong from 2010-2020, and the median salary in this field as of May 2012 was $76,560. Statisticians generally focus in the following areas.
What can genes tell us about our past and our future? Bioinformatics involves finding the answers to the questions of DNA. Some of the most important contributions in the field have occurred within the realm of computational biology, where scientists often use models of genetic material to demonstrate the effects of environmental factors on the body.
How many people will get the flu next year? In what area of the country will pneumonia hit the hardest? Public health professionals concern themselves with answering the important questions of community welfare. Statisticians play a vital role in examining the effects of different health conditions on the population. They may also model findings in an effort to address disease and stem outbreaks.
When is the right time to redesign our best-selling product? What changes should we make? For statisticians who are also interested in building things, industrial design may be appealing. The planning stage for creating products typically requires a great deal of mathematical analysis. This is true whether a company produces cars, computers or cell phones. In industrial design, statistics can help to design the best possible products.
How can an organization structure itself and function to yield the best results? Professionals working in operations research use statistics modeling to provide insight into how companies perform and suggest steps they can take to improve. The abstract formulas statisticians use in operations research can produce very concrete results.
What's the most popular breakfast cereal? What type of pizza do people in the Midwest like best? Professionals with a background in statistics have a vital role to play in the field of marketing. Statisticians in market research can take seemingly random numbers and glean important information. When companies are planning products and services, they consider consumers' opinions and buying habits with regard to price, quality, brand appeal and other factors. Statisticians analyze data from focus groups, surveys and product tests to help companies make decisions that meet consumer needs and yield profits.
Educational Testing and Evaluation
How do kids best learn math? What books do students like to read most? School systems all over the country are integrating more and more testing into the school day. Data are being collected about what students know and what they can do to improve, and funding is often directly linked to student success. Statisticians can provide support to school systems by leading the charge to collect and analyze testing information.