When you hear the term statistician, the most common mental image people have is of a math professor dealing with theoretical situations, or a government official analyzing demographic information. It sounds like a stable, boring and limited profession. In reality, global demand for statisticians and data scientists is going through the roof, according to reports. This is because the skillset is being utilized in a number of new ways. In this article, we’ll share what is coming out of these recent reports,then we’ll delve into the trends that have made statisticians and data analysts some of the most sought-after, and best paid professionals in the world.
What the Latest Reports Say
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for statisticians and data scientists is going to grow by a third over the next ten years, and this parallels the 32 percent increase in data science jobs posted online. Note that this is several times the growth rate for the overall job market. Compounding matters is the roughly 15 percent discrepancy between job postings and job searches, suggesting a significant gap between talent supply and employer demand.
Demand for freelance statisticians is growing even faster, since organizations may not need a full-time data scientist, but do require an expert to make sense of their data set once in a while. For example, small businesses can’t afford to keep a data scientist on staff full-time. The salary for statisticians was around 80,000 dollars in 2016, though those working in Silicon Valley often earned as much as 120,000 dollars. More importantly, pay rates for statistics experts are rising faster than the rate of inflation. Today, a PhD in statistics often ties with a doctorate in computer science as among the best-paid professions. Statistics experts familiar with at least one programming language are especially sought out.
Of the ten jobs in the BLS report that are growing the fastest over the next decade, only software application developer and statistician were not in the healthcare or eldercare industries. The number of data science jobs in the U.S. is expected to hit two million in 2020.
The Factors Driving These Trends
There are students graduating with masters and doctorate degrees in statistics. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of graduates with masters’ degrees in this field grew 260 percent. The number of doctoral degree holders grew 132 percent. However, demand for them was several times higher than this as they found work in both traditional and new fields.
For example, Big Data, the massive collection of meta data from online searches and buyer history online, has led to Big Tech companies, online marketing firms and ecommerce businesses to hire statistics majors. A few are even employed in machine learning and artificial intelligence development. Many more are valued members of sales and marketing departments. We can expect even more to be employed as the Internet of Things is becoming more massive by the minute. There will be a growing number of statisticians and data scientists needed to capture and interpret data from all these new sensors and internet dependent devices, and this will be across all sectors, whether it’s healthcare, the retail industry, or manufacturing.
Statistical analysis is increasingly recognized as essential to process improvement. When you have data on individual workers, production lines, and workstation performance, relative to dozens of variables, you need a statistics guru to tease out the relationships that lead to actionable advice. They will be needed to introduce lean working processes and identify bottlenecks. They will also be at the forefront of automation and evaluate when and where automation could benefit processes while performing a cost analysis at the same time.
Statistical analysis has become the backbone of medical research. You are not simply analyzing data from research studies and psychology surveys. You may be performing meta-analyses of many prior medical studies to find the common threads between their findings. Statisticians are also working in pharmaceutical companies to sift through the massive amount of data coming from clinical trials to find new uses for existing treatments or potentially problematic side effects. Their day-to-day work includes estimating the impact of public health interventions or estimating the effectiveness of drug treatments.
Statistical analysts are also working with environmental and wildlife conservation bodies and educational organizations. What was once before seen as a very narrow profession is now easily one of the most diverse, allowing students from all over the world to choose a specialization that speaks to their strengths and realities.
How You Can Capitalize on This Knowledge
One job site found that the best degree to have to be guaranteed a job was a doctoral degree in statistics. The second-place entry on the list was a master’s degree in biostatistics. We can see here that the main driver here is the medical field. The ninth most valuable degree in today’s job market was a master’s degree in statistics. Know that you don’t necessarily have to enroll in a brick and mortar school to earn these coveted credentials. Students can now get their masters in statistics online. An online statistics master’s program is nationally recognized, and it can be completed in less than two years.
A side benefit of a master’s degree in applied statistics is that you’re taught how to analyze and interpret data in a variety of settings and industries. Whether you want to work in online marketing or for nonprofits seeking to make data-driven decisions to maximize the benefits reaped from their charitable dollars, you’ll be ready to meet their needs. If you already have a background in math or science, a master’s degree will teach you how to work with software and tools that are considered industry standards.
As more industries adopt big data analytics, demand for data scientists and statisticians who can make sense of it all is only going to grow. Those who can quickly provide valuable insights will be able to work anywhere they want.