Careers in Statistics

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					Careers in Statistics:
Possibilities and Opportunities

             Presented by the
          Statistical Association

                          American Statistical Association
“We are
 drowning in
 but starved for
 – John Naisbitt,
   author of the book
   “Megatrends” (1982)

                         American Statistical Association
What is “statistics?”

Why study statistics?

                American Statistical Association
• American Heritage® Dictionary:
  – The mathematics of the collection,
    organization, and interpretation of
    numerical data, especially the analysis of
    population characteristics by inference
    from sampling.

• Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary®:
  – A branch of mathematics dealing with the
    collection, analysis, interpretation, and
    presentation of masses of numerical data.
                                    American Statistical Association
                      There are           Mathematical,
Physical Sciences,   many areas            Computing,
  Governmental       of statistical        Probability

Practical            Statistics                     Theory

                                      Storage, Retrieval,
  and Sampling
                                       Graphics, Data
                                           American Statistical Association
     Why Study Statistics?
• Collecting data on subsets of the population
  (samples) can give valid information about the
  whole population.
• Knowing what has happened in the past can
  help answer questions about the present and
• Knowledge helps plan future tests, determine
  optimal allocation of resources, and make
  improvements to quality.
                                       American Statistical Association

• Testing the Polio Vaccine
  – Jonas Salk worked with statisticians to
    design the largest controlled public health
    experiment in the history of the United
    States to determine that a vaccine against
    Polio was safe and effective.

                                     American Statistical Association

• Manipulating Weather Patterns
  – Statisticians and meteorologists
    designed an experiment to show that
    clouds seeded with silver iodide are
    more likely to produce precipitation than
    those clouds seeded with dry ice.

                                    American Statistical Association
What Can I Do
With A Degree
 in Statistics?
            American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Space Shuttle
  – Safety
  – Launch Windows
• Passenger Airlines
  – Plane Safety
  – Logistics/Scheduling
  – Air Traffic Control

                           American Statistical Association
“I found that statistics used more reasoning and logic
skills than the mathematics courses I had previously
taken. The more I did statistics, the more I liked the
“alternative” application of mathematics that it
provided. I especially liked being able to use a lot of
data and a little common sense to figure out
problems. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in
Statistics. Following graduation I was able to find the
perfect use for my skill in the aerospace industry.”

Tiffany T. Sundelin, Quality Control Engineer

                                          American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Crop Efficiency
• Fertilizers and Pesticides
  – Effect on the Environment
  – Effect on Crops
• Pricing Structures
  – Projections of Supply and Demand
• Animal Health
  – Meat Inspections
  – Fishery Resources
                                       American Statistical Association
Statistics is about seeking a solution to a problem
with an objective process that turns data into
information for new knowledge. Agriculture was one
of the first, if not the first, science to utilize statistics
to increase its knowledge. I became involved with
statistics because mathematics did not provide that
avenue to cross into other areas of science and
continue to learn about topics that interested me. I
have stayed in statistics because of the diversity that
it offers and because of the rational approach it
provides to seek solutions to problems.

Dan Mowrey, Senior Research Scientist

                                               American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
•   Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Compliance
•   Weapon Safety
•   Risk Analysis
•   Defense
•   Weapon Production
    – Quality
    – Amount
                               American Statistical Association
“A career as a statistician in defense and national
security offers a chance to serve your country
while doing challenging and interesting work.”

Alyson Wilson, Los Alamos National Laboratory

                                         American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
 • Market Research
   – Consumer Preference
   – Advertising Placement and Type
 • Forecasting Demand
 • Inventory Control Systems
 • Economic Cycle
   – Interest Rates
   – Recessions/Depressions
   – Average Income

                                  American Statistical Association
“I love that statistics is very multi-disciplinary. It
involves problem solving in a group environment
and it involves many skills and talents. I love the
ability to be a mathematician, computer scientist,
teacher, quizmaster, sleuth, and devil’s advocate
all rolled into one.”

Linda Quinn, Private Industrial Consultant

                                            American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• The extraction of useful information
  (“nuggets”) from large databases
  – Computational Algorithms
  – Statistical Methods
  – Data Visualization
• Fields using data mining include:
  –   Marketing
  –   Drug Discovery
  –   Fraud Detection
  –   Information Retrieval
                                      American Statistical Association
“Data mining represents the natural intersection of
several fields, especially computer science and
statistics. While much of the momentum around data
mining emerged from the computer science
community, it quickly became clear that statistical
thinking had a critical role to play. Now there is
considerable cross-disciplinary research going on,
resulting in impressive advances in our capabilities
for extracting useful information from huge

Jon Kettenring, Mathematical Sciences Research
Center, Telcordia Technologies

                                        American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Teaching Statistics       • Using Statistics To
  – Elementary                Improve Education
  – Middle/Junior High        –   Test Scores
  – High School               –   Teacher Evaluations
  – Advanced Placement        –   Graduation Rates
  – Introductory              –   Enrollment Statistics
    Collegiate Statistics     –   Student Diversity
  – Advanced Statistics       –   Budgeting

                                           American Statistical Association
“The lament ‘When are we ever going to use
this?’ is never uttered when you teach
statistics to high school students. From the
first class where they gather data about
themselves, students see that studying
statistics is useful and interesting.”

Gretchen Davis, High School Teacher

                                      American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
 • Land Use
 • Toxic Waste
   – Monitoring
   – Health Effects
   – Spill Prevention
   – Cleanup and Disposal
 • Air and Water Quality
   – Monitoring
   – Standards
                            American Statistical Association
“People who perform risk assessments are
employed by all of the participants who deal with
environmental issues: government regulatory
agencies, companies whose work may impact the
environment, and non-governmental organizations
involved in environmental protection issues.”

Pamela Doctor, Bechtel Hanford, Incorporated

                                      American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
•   Bureau of Labor Statistics
•   Census Bureau
•   Department of Agriculture
•   Environmental Protection Agency
•   Food and Drug Administration
•   Internal Revenue Service
•   National Institutes of Health
                              American Statistical Association
“I try to identify issues of broad public interest or
significance in which statistics play a role, and help
the Association and its members contribute to the
debates when appropriate. I like to think that the
long-term relationship between this
writer/politician/lawyer and the nation's statisticians
will continue to further the understanding and
prudent use of statistics in the policy arena, by the
media, and among the public at large.”

Terri Ann Lowenthal, Policy and Legislative

                                           American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Insurance
  – Risk Assessment, Pension Plans, Life Tables
  – Claims, Customer Retention
  – Marketing, Operations
• Financial Decisions
  – Interest, Annuities, Mortgages, Bonds
• Pricing and Product Design

                                       American Statistical Association
“I've found the insurance industry to be fertile
ground for using statistical methods. Some of the
methods used are advanced, cutting methods,
which I find quite rewarding. From the outside, I
used to view insurance to be rather dull, but from
the inside, I find it rather exciting. The ability to
use data to make business decisions is a core
competency in this industry, and I believe formal
training in statistics is excellent preparation.”

Gary Skerl, Progressive Insurance

                                          American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Anti-Trust Laws
  – Market Share Percentages
• Employment Discrimination
  – Decisions Based on Gender or Sex
• Educational Discrimination
  – Admissions, Scholarship/Grant Money
• Legal Procedures
  – Jury Selection, Expert Testimony
    • DNA Matching

                                       American Statistical Association
“You may think that statistics would be relatively
useless in law -- and criminal law, in particular --
but you’d be surprised. The logic of statistics is
useful in developing legal arguments, and the
methods of statistics are often directly applicable
to data pertinent to a case.”

Carlton F. Gunn, Attorney

                                          American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Quality Improvement
  – Sampling Plans
  – Manufacturing Process Improvement
  – Product Design
• Reliability Testing
• Risk Analysis
• Systems Analysis

                                  American Statistical Association
“Today's industrial statisticians are in the thick of
their company's initiatives to build products that
delight customers and to increase market share and
profitability. Their involvement is holistic and runs
from product conception to field deployment.”

Gerry Hahn, GE Corporate Research and

                                         American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association

• Diagnostic Tests
  – Effective Testing for Diseases
• Clinical Trials
  – Testing Effects of Specific Drugs
• Safety
  – FDA Requirements
• Epidemiology
  – Assessment of Risk Associated with Specific

                                        American Statistical Association
“Last year when I began applying to medical
schools, the fact that I majored in statistics was
always a good conversation point in interviews
and made me more unique as an applicant.”

Amy Elise Derrow, Medical Student

                                       American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
• Census                  • Sample Surveys
  – Total Population        – Medicine & Health
  – Percentage of           – Crime & Justice
                          • Social Services
  – Number of Children
                            –   Child/Elderly Care
  – Income Distribution
                            –   Social Security
  – Geographic
                            –   Public Policy
                            –   Behavior Research
  – Resource Allocation

                                       American Statistical Association
“The U. S. Bureau of the Census is a pioneer in
survey methodology. It is the agency that
introduced scientific sampling methods into the
large federal surveys; it introduced methods to
quantify and control measurement errors in
surveys; and it introduced the use of computers in
large-scale data processing.”

COPSS Career Brochure on Census Statistics

                                       American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
•   Player and Team Statistics
•   Starting Line-ups
•   Records (national, world, Olympic, etc.)
•   Odds of Winning a Given Event
•   Prediction of Future Outcomes
•   Data Collection and Validation

                                   American Statistical Association
"I have always been fascinated with numbers and I
found quickly that I can apply statistics to a wide
variety of fields. Having played tennis competitively,
my current position with the men's professional
tennis tour is the perfect 'match.' I also have a
passion for technology in sports and my position
allows me to get involved in software design, Web
site, and wireless applications.”

Philippe Dore, Research Manager, ATP Inc.

                                          American Statistical Association
How do I Become
 a Statistician?

            American Statistical Association

•   Degree - Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.
•   Quantitative Skills (Math/Statistics)
•   Problem Solving Skills
•   Computer programming languages
•   Foundation in area of statistical
                                American Statistical Association
• Diversity
  – Pure Research
  – Teams
     • Communication with non-statisticians
• Advancement
  – Experience, education, and communication
    skills lead to professional advancement
• Versatility
  – Challenging and Exciting Fields of Application

                                       American Statistical Association
      2001 - 2002 Salary Report of
         Academic Statisticians
Type of Institution               Title             Beginning
Liberal Arts College
                        Assistant Professor         $       49,000
                        Associate Professor         $       58,350
                        Full Professor              $       72,550

Research University
                        Assistant Professor         $       56,000
                        Associate Professor         $       64,812
                        Full Professor              $       85,600
       The complete Salary Report can be downloaded at
                                              American Statistical Association
2001 Salary Survey of Biostatistics
                                  Years in           Median
                                   Rank              Salary

Starting Assistant Professor                     $        67,504

Assistant Professor             1 - 3 years      $ 70,000
Associate Professor             1 - 2 years      $ 85,608
Full Professor                  1 - 6 years      $ 110,401
        The complete Salary Report can be downloaded at
                                                American Statistical Association
 Employment and Salary Tables
• The following tables were developed from the Scientist and
  Engineer Statistics Data System (SESTAT) database
  representing U.S. residents with at least a bachelor's
  degree who were working as a scientist or engineer during
  the reference week of April 15, 1997 or who had received at
  least a bachelor's degree in science or engineering as of
  the survey reference period.
• There were 508 persons whose highest degree was in
  Statistics in the SESTAT database. Tabulations are based
  on these 508 persons.
• Information on the survey methodology and reliability of
  estimates can be found at

• All tables have a 90% confidence interval.
                                               American Statistical Association
   Occupation and Degree Type
Highest Degree:            Bachelor's    Master's         Doctorate
Occupation                 Percent      Percent          Percent

Statisticians                   1            25                   30
Postsecondary Teachers -
Math/Computer Sciences          1            8                    41
Computer & Information
Sciences                       21            13                   7
Other Scientists                3            4                    3
Engineers                       4            7                    0
Managers                        7            10                   9
Actuaries                       3            4                    0
Sales Occupations               8            3                    1
Other Occupations              31            11                   4
Not in Labor Force             21            15                   5
Total                          100          100                  100

Number of Persons             11,700       17,800               5,000
                                                    American Statistical Association
   Percent of Persons Whose Highest
Conferred Degree as of 1997 is in Statistics
   by Occupation and Type of Degree

Highest Degree:           Bachelor's Master's Doctorate
Employer Sector           Percent     Percent       Percent

Educational Institution        1         19                  54
Government                    17          8                  9
Business/Industry             61         58                  32
Not in Labor Force            21         15                  5
Total                         100        100                100

Number of Persons            11,700     17,800             5,000

                                                 American Statistical Association
    Median Annual Job Salaries in 1997 for
 Persons Who Received Their Highest Degree
  in Statistics since 1990 by Employer Sector
               and Type of Degree

Highest Degree:            Bachelor's      Master's        Doctorate
                          Median Annual Median Annual Median Annual
Employer Sector           Salary        Salary        Salary

Educational Institution              N/A       $15,000               $36,000
Government                       $29,000       $48,000               $61,000
Business/Industry                $48,000       $53,000               $68,000

                                                      American Statistical Association
And Always Remember

                American Statistical Association
Contact the ASA for more specific information:

          ATTN: Customer Service
             1429 Duke Street
           Alexandria, VA 22314

            Phone: (703) 684-1221
             FAX: (703) 684-2037

       Web site:

                                    American Statistical Association

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