A person who enjoys math and is considering earning a degree in a related field may wonder what a statistician is. A statistician is a type of mathematician who makes use of or develops statistical theories, tests of significance, models and more. These professionals often work as part of a research team, but they may also be found in insurance, technology, the sciences and government agencies.
Developer of Statistical Models
A statistician is a developer of statistical models. Statistical modeling involves using mathematical formulas and data to evaluate past conditions and make a prediction about the future. This is an activity widely used in weather forecasting, national defense strategies, insurance and healthcare. Statistical modeling is important because not every possibility or outcome can be examined in real life. Using computer programs and formulas to simulate possible outcomes based on past experiences helps people understand what might happen and how likely it is to happen.
Designer of Surveys
Another part of being a statistician involves designing and conducting surveys. A survey might be performed as part of a national poll, such as the Gallup polls about voter opinions of political candidates or legislative issues. They might be national surveys about demographics, such as the United States Census. Survey data could also encompass a customer satisfaction survey sent out by a business or an organization that wants to improve its customer service. Statisticians design the survey so that it flows properly. For example, they might ask a question of, “Have you ever smoked?” A person who says “no” would not have to answer the next question of, “Do you currently smoke?”
Analyzer of Data
Statisticians analyze data collected from surveys, treatments or other activities. For example, a practitioner of statistics at a state health department might use the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s state data to evaluate the current health status of the state’s population. They would use statistical analysis software to import the data for their state. They might compare it to the national data or other states’ data to see where their state falls on the spectrum of results. They could use the data to prioritize certain health department interventions, activities and funding.
Interpreter and Reporter of Analyzed Data
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a statistician is also an interpreter and reporter of data. The practitioner of statistics must be able to interpret the results they derive from analytical tests. They should also be able to report the results by using words, charts, graphs or tables. The statistician should be comfortable with reporting results in journals and meetings. The products of their interpretations or reports are typically used to make informed decisions about business, treatments, medical care and other activities related to the data that was analyzed.
Related Resource: 25 Most Affordable Master of Statistics Degrees
Becoming a statistician is a wise career choice for anyone who enjoys high-level mathematics and is comfortable with the use of computer programs and technology. A successful statistician will also be adept at documenting their work, explaining their results and communicating in both written and oral forms. Knowing what a statistician is could help a person make an informed decision about college courses, majors and careers.