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A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers

Book Description

A valuable guide to a successful career as a statistician

A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers prepares readers for careers in statistics by emphasizing essential concepts and practices beyond the technical tools provided in standard courses and texts. This insider's guide from internationally recognized applied statisticians helps readers decide whether a career in statistics is right for them, provides hands-on guidance on how to prepare for such a career, and shows how to succeed on the job.

The book provides non-technical guidance for a successful career. The authors' extensive industrial experience is supplemented by insights from contributing authors from government and academia, Carol Joyce Blumberg, Leonard M. Gaines, Lynne B. Hare, William Q. Meeker, and Josef Schmee. Following an introductory chapter that provides an overview of the field, the authors discuss the various dimensions of a career in applied statistics in three succinct parts:

  • The Work of a Statistician describes the day-to-day activities of applied statisticians in business and industry, official government, and various other application areas, highlighting the work environment and major on-the-job challenges

  • Preparing for a Successful Career in Statistics describes the personal traits that characterize successful statisticians, the education that they need to acquire, and approaches for securing the right job

  • Building a Successful Career as a Statistician offers practical guidance for addressing key challenges that statisticians face on the job, such as project initiation and execution, effective communication, publicizing successes, ethical considerations, and gathering good data; alternative career paths are also described

The book concludes with an in-depth examination of careers for statisticians in academia as well as tips to help them stay on top of their field throughout their careers. Each chapter includes thought-provoking discussion questions and a Major Takeaways section that outlines key concepts. Real-world examples illustrate key points, and an FTP site provides additional information on selected topics.

A Career in Statistics is an invaluable guide for individuals who are considering or have decided on a career in statistics as well as for statisticians already on the job who want to accelerate their path to success. It also serves as a suitable book for courses on statistical consulting, statistical practice, and statistics in the workplace at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. PREFACE
    1. DISCUSSION OUTLINE
    2. TARGET AUDIENCE
    3. OUR SOURCES
    4. OTHER FEATURES
    5. AN INVITATION
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. CHAPTER 1: PROLOGUE: A CAREER IN STATISTICS
    1. 1.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
    2. 1.2 WHAT IS STATISTICS?
    3. 1.3 WHO IS A STATISTICIAN?
    4. 1.4 WHO EMPLOYS STATISTICIANS?
    5. 1.5 THE STATISTICAL THOUGHT PROCESS AND WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL 4
    6. 1.6 MANY SKILLS REQUIRED
    7. 1.7 BEYOND THE WORKPLACE
    8. 1.8 SOME DOWNSIDES OF A CAREER IN STATISTICS
    9. 1.9 THE EXCITEMENT OF A CAREER IN STATISTICS
    10. 1.10 EMBARKING ON A CAREER IN STATISTICS
    11. 1.11 ACCREDITATION
    12. 1.12 PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
    13. 1.13 A PREVIEW
    14. 1.14 FURTHER READING
    15. 1.15 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
    16. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  9. PART I: THE WORK OF A STATISTICIAN
    1. CHAPTER 2: WHAT STATISTICIANS DO IN BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
      1. 2.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 2.2 MANUFACTURED PRODUCT APPLICATIONS
      3. 2.3 SERVICE BUSINESS APPLICATIONS
      4. 2.4 PROCESS IMPROVEMENT
      5. 2.5 FURTHER APPLICATIONS
      6. 2.6 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      7. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    2. CHAPTER 3: WHAT STATISTICIANS ENGAGED IN OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT STATISTICS DO 1
      1. 3.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 3.2 THE SCOPE OF OFFICIAL STATISTICS
      3. 3.3 EXAMPLES OF THE WORK
      4. 3.4 CHALLENGES OF THE WORK
      5. 3.5 RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
      6. 3.6 SOME MAJOR EMPLOYERS IN THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
      7. 3.7 REQUIRED CREDENTIALS
      8. 3.8 INTEGRATION OF U.S. GOVERNMENT STATISTICAL ACTIVITIES
      9. 3.9 LOCAL OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT STATISTICS ACTIVITIES
      10. 3.10 GOVERNMENT STATISTICIANS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
      11. 3.11 COMPENSATION AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
      12. 3.12 SOURCES OF FURTHER INFORMATION
      13. 3.13 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      14. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    3. CHAPTER 4: WHAT STATISTICIANS DO: SOME OTHER APPLICATION AREAS
      1. 4.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 4.2 REGULATORY ACTIVITIES
      3. 4.3 HEALTH
      4. 4.4 NATIONAL DEFENSE
      5. 4.5 OTHER SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
      6. 4.6 SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
      7. 4.7 TEACHING (IN NONACADEMIC SETTINGS)
      8. 4.8 SOME FURTHER INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES
      9. 4.9 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      10. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    4. CHAPTER 5: THE WORK ENVIRONMENT AND ON-THE-JOB CHALLENGES
      1. 5.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 5.2 RECEPTIVENESS TO STATISTICS AND STATISTICIANS
      3. 5.3 WHERE DO STATISTICIANS FIT INTO THE ORGANIZATION?
      4. 5.4 TWO MODES OF OPERATION
      5. 5.5 GRADING SYSTEMS
      6. 5.6 GLOBALIZATION
      7. 5.7 HAIL TO OUR MANAGERS!
      8. 5.8 SOME CHALLENGES
      9. 5.9 WOMEN IN STATISTICS
      10. 5.10 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      11. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  10. PART II: PREPARING FOR A SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN STATISTICS
    1. CHAPTER 6: CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL STATISTICIANS
      1. 6.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 6.2 ANALYTICAL AND TECHNICAL SKILLS
      3. 6.3 COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
      4. 6.4 ABILITY TO SIZE UP PROBLEMS AND SEE THE “BIG PICTURE”
      5. 6.5 FLEXIBILITY
      6. 6.6 A PROACTIVE MINDSET
      7. 6.7 PERSISTENCE
      8. 6.8 A REALISTIC ATTITUDE
      9. 6.9 ENTHUSIASM AND APPROPRIATE SELF-CONFIDENCE
      10. 6.10 ABILITY TO PRIORITIZE, MANAGE TIME, AND COPE WITH STRESS
      11. 6.11 TEAM SKILLS
      12. 6.12 LEADERSHIP SKILLS
      13. 6.13 ABILITY TO PROPERLY APPLY AND ADAPT KNOWLEDGE
      14. 6.14 PASSION FOR LIFELONG LEARNING
      15. 6.15 FURTHER READING
      16. 6.16 AS OTHERS SEE IT
      17. 6.17 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      18. 6.18 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    2. CHAPTER 7: EDUCATION FOR SUCCESS
      1. 7.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 7.2 THE STATISTICS ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSE AND OTHER HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS
      3. 7.3 DEGREES IN STATISTICS: THE NUMBERS
      4. 7.4 HOW FAR TO GO: BACHELOR'S, MASTER'S, OR PH.D. DEGREE?
      5. 7.5 SELECTING THE RIGHT SCHOOL AND PROGRAM
      6. 7.6 STATISTICAL EDUCATION: SETTING THE FOUNDATIONS
      7. 7.7 COURSEWORK IN STATISTICS
      8. 7.8 STATISTICAL COMPUTING AND SOFTWARE
      9. 7.9 SOME OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS
      10. 7.10 INTERNSHIPS AND UNIVERSITY CONSULTING
      11. 7.11 ENTERING STATISTICS FROM OTHER FIELDS
      12. 7.12 FURTHER RESOURCES
      13. 7.13 CONCLUDING COMMENT: THE LIMITS OF FORMAL STATISTICAL EDUCATION
      14. 7.14 AS OTHERS SEE IT
      15. 7.15 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      16. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    3. CHAPTER 8: GETTING THE RIGHT JOB
      1. 8.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 8.2 DEFINING CAREER GOALS
      3. 8.3 IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES
      4. 8.4 RÉSUMÉ WRITING
      5. 8.5 THE JOB INTERVIEW
      6. 8.6 FOLLOW-UP
      7. 8.7 PROVIDING REFERENCES
      8. 8.8 SOME FURTHER HINTS
      9. 8.9 ASSESSING JOB OFFERS
      10. 8.10 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      11. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  11. PART III: BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS A STATISTICIAN
    1. CHAPTER 9: ON-THE-JOB STRATEGIES: PROJECT INITIATION AND EXECUTION
      1. 9.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 9.2 PROJECT INITIATION
      3. 9.3 PROJECT EXECUTION
      4. 9.4 AS OTHERS SEE IT
      5. 9.5 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      6. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    2. CHAPTER 10: ON-THE-JOB STRATEGIES: COMMUNICATION, PUBLICIZING, AND ETHICS
      1. 10.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 10.2 COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION
      3. 10.3 PUBLICIZING STATISTICS (AND STATISTICIANS)
      4. 10.4 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
      5. 10.5 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      6. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    3. CHAPTER 11: GETTING GOOD DATA: A KEY CHALLENGE
      1. 11.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER 1
      2. 11.2 DESIGNED EXPERIMENTS
      3. 11.3 CENSUS AND RANDOM SAMPLING STUDIES OF HUMAN AND OTHER POPULATIONS
      4. 11.4 SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
      5. 11.5 OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES 6
      6. 11.6 HINTS FOR GETTING THE RIGHT DATA
      7. 11.7 A PROCESS FOR DATA GATHERING
      8. 11.8 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      9. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    4. CHAPTER 12: CAREER PATHS
      1. 12.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 12.2 SOME ROLES FOR APPLIED STATISTICIANS
      3. 12.3 OTHER MAJOR ROLES TO WHICH APPLIED STATISTICIANS MIGHT ASPIRE
      4. 12.4 SOME CAREER PATHS
      5. 12.5 MORE ON STATISTICAL LEADERSHIP
      6. 12.6 CONTRIBUTIONS BEYOND THE WORKPLACE
      7. 12.7 SOME MORE CAREER EXAMPLES
      8. 12.8 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
      9. 12.9 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      10. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  12. PART IV: FURTHER PERSPECTIVES: CAREERS IN ACADEMIA AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
    1. CHAPTER 13: CAREERS IN ACADEMIA1
      1. 13.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
      2. 13.2 WHAT STATISTICIANS IN ACADEMIA DO: AN OVERVIEW
      3. 13.3 TYPES OF POSITIONS
      4. 13.4 LOCATION WITHIN THE INSTITUTION
      5. 13.5 MORE ON TENURE
      6. 13.6 LIFE BEYOND TENURE
      7. 13.7 TEACHING CHALLENGES
      8. 13.8 RESEARCH CHALLENGES
      9. 13.9 CONSULTING CHALLENGES
      10. 13.10 ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE CHALLENGES
      11. 13.11 PROFESSIONAL SERVICE CHALLENGES
      12. 13.12 MORE ON THE ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT
      13. 13.13 TRAINING TO BECOME AN ACADEMIC STATISTICIAN
      14. 13.14 CAREER PATHS
      15. 13.15 DOWNSIDES OF A CAREER AS AN ACADEMIC STATISTICIAN
      16. 13.16 BRIGHT SIDES OF A CAREER AS AN ACADEMIC STATISTICIAN
      17. 13.17 A CAREER AS A STATISTICIAN IN ACADEMIA: A SUMMARY COMPARISON
      18. 13.18 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      19. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    2. CHAPTER 14: MAINTAINING THE MOMENTUM
      1. 14.1 About This Chapter
      2. 14.2 SOME INTERNET RESOURCES
      3. 14.3 FORMAL EDUCATION
      4. 14.4 TECHNICAL AND PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS
      5. 14.5 TECHNICAL CONFERENCES
      6. 14.6 FUTURE OPPORTUNITY AREAS
      7. 14.7 MAJOR TAKEAWAYS
      8. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  13. REFERENCES
  14. INDEX