Statistics don't just measure dry, boring events like test scores and entrance
exams. Your local hockey team uses stats to track wins, losses and individual
milestones. Retail stores use statistics to track the hottest fads.
Statisticians expertly collect information, analyze it and draw conclusions.
Through complex analysis, they unearth trends, opinions and habits. They're
the first to know about the latest fads, market research and study results.
"Statistics help justify reasons for most social, business and political
changes," says Ruby Lewis, statistician for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Statisticians are mostly office dwellers that work standard 40-hour weeks.
Depending on the industry, there may be some travel involved. "I work Monday
to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with half an hour for lunch. Any extra
time worked results in extra time to take off. Overtime is rare," says Susan
Cowles, a USDA statistician.
Who hires statisticians? Almost every industry, says the American Statistical
Association. It boasts a membership of about 16,000 people.
"The health-care industry and government are probably the biggest employers
of statisticians. I expect this to continue in the future. A growing employment
area for statisticians is in the financial and marketing areas," says Mark
Varney, an Illinois-based statistician.
"The outlook is good on the whole and the need for statisticians and planners
is always going to be in demand. The career of a statistician is very stable,"
says statistician Prosper Hevi.
Statisticians use complex software programs to churn through data. Strong
computer skills are a must.
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