Statistics is a special branch of mathematics that is used for interpretation and analysis of data. It uses different models to analyze sets of data pertaining to experiments or even real-life situation. Statistics is basically the study of collection and analysis of data to draw a conclusion.
What are the different branches of statistics?
The two main branches of statistics are
- Descriptive statistics –
Is the area of study concentrating on collection and presentation of data. Any scientific experiment starts its course with descriptive statistics. On the surface, it might seem an extremely easy concept, but statisticians validate that this branch of statistics is complicated and different criteria needs to be considered while performing descriptive statistics.
- Inferential statistics –
Is the area of study concentrating on drawing inference after the statistical analysis has been carried out using the data collected using descriptive statistical methods.
What are the uses of statistics?
- Statistics helps in simplifying and describing natural phenomena with a deeper understanding.
- Statistics helps plan and execute inquiry in all fields of study.
- Statistics is responsible for the collection of accurate data.
- Statistics simplifies complex data and presents them in simple tabular and graphic form.
- Statistics helps analyzing situations to draw inferences.
What are the uses of statistics in real life?
Statistics is a branch of study that is applicable in all fields of life to collect data and analyze situations. Let us now have a look at the implications of statistics in different aspects of life.
- Business and industries
- Measurement of performance –
Following the wise words of the business ‘guru’ Peter Drucker, every business and industrial establishment rely on the performance of the individuals and establishment to analyze how flourishing is the business. The performance analysis is done using concepts and methods of inferential statistics.
- Performance boost –
It is not only the measurement of performance that is being calculated using statistics; statistics also plays a major role in providing means to drive people towards a performance boost. Many firms and business establishments depend on statistical methods to experiment with ways of improving the performance of the employee and the performance of the organization too.
- Customer data –
Statistical methods are used to collect data and analyze them in regards of finding out the likes and dislikes of the customers of businesses and clients of industries.
- Agriculture and farming
Statistical methods can be used to analyze the different in the crop productivity of the present year with the previous years which in turn accounts for the conclusion of the GDP of crop produced in the country. Statistical methods are also used to analyze the effect of different fertilizers used during farming in the size and quality of grains produced.
Statistics has been used in the field of education from time immemorial. Statistical analysis helps draw conclusion about the percentage of girl population receiving education, the difference in the rate of boys and girls receiving education and predict an approximate number of students seating for examinations every year. Statistical methods can also analyze the same data for the last 10 years and compare between the different sets of data to draw an inference about the improvement in the education sector over the years. With the demand for statisticians increasing every year, the universities are also realizing the worth of the subject and are introducing new courses every year at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
What are the different job opportunities available for a statistician?
Statistics has an interdisciplinary role and can be clubbed with many fields and hence it creates varied and numerous employment opportunities. The most common ones are –
- Finance and investment banking analyst – this field focuses on individuals and companies who provide support and guidance to business establishments and individuals about the financial decisions to sustain their business and make them profitable. They assess stock performance, bond values and other types of investments.
The duties of a finance and investment banking analyst are –
- Analyze and suggest individual and collection of investments.
- Evaluate and analyze present and previous financial data.
- Study business trends.
- Determine a company’s true value by studying and examining its financial statements.
Financial analysts can also be hired in the roles of portfolio managers, rating analysts, risk analysts and fund managers.
- Statistical consultant –
People hired for statistical consultation are mostly hired as management analysts and are responsible for devising new ways to improve the efficiency of the organization. They perform statistical analysis to devise new methods to reduce costs and increase revenue generation.
The duties of a statistical consultant are –
- Collect data about the root cause of the problem to be addressed.
- Carry out interviews and conduct observations to determine the methods to be used to address the identified problem.
- Analyze different financial data including expenditure, revenue and employment reports.
- Brainstorm ideas and develop methods to address the identified problems.
- Recommend new systems and changes in the organizational structure.
- Make sure the changes are being implemented.
- Actuarial analyst –
People hired for this position are responsible for studying market conditions and determine the potential of a service or a product. The profile is also referred to as market research analysts.
The duties of a market research analyst are –
- Govern and foresee sales and marketing trends.
- Determine the efficiency and effectiveness of strategies and programs.
- Develop methods for data collection.
- Accumulate data on market trends and conditions.
- Analyze collected data using statistical software.
- Prepare reports and present them to clients.
Analysts help establish a company’s position in the marketplace by evaluating their competitors and analyzing their prices, sales, and marketing methods. They use this information to determine potential markets, product demand, and pricing. Their deep understanding of the targeted consumer helps them to develop advertising brochures and commercials, product promotions, and sales plans.
What are the best colleges to pursue a degree in statistics?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the employment opportunities for people with a degree in statistics are expected to rise rapidly in the future and can increase by approximately thirty-four percent by the year of 2024. This data has not only opened new employment opportunities, but also inspired students to take up a degree in statistics in colleges and universities. The course structure is revised and more colleges and universities are now offering both graduation and post-graduation degrees in statistics.
The world’s best ten universities to pursue statistics are –
Located in Cambridge, Harvard is an extremely prestigious and renowned university. It offers a course in statistics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They specialize in making their course structure flexible and even allow specialization at the undergraduate level. Students pursuing statistics at Harvard can not only apply for employment options, but also take up higher education and devote their time in internship, research, and other special programs.
Harvard’s statistics department is famous for the conventions, workshops and conferences that they host which gives the students a platform to interact with experts of the field.
- University of California, Berkeley –
Is famous for the flexible courses that they offer in the field of statistics at both the undergraduate and graduate level. They are also famous for their graduate degree programs in biostatistics. The university also provides facilities such as departmental events, internships and research opportunities.
Many of these facilities are supported by the Berkeley Statistics Industry Alliance Program, which also has established a partnership between the department and huge multinational companies such as Adobe, Google, and Microsoft. These companies provide opportunities to young statisticians to try their hands to address statistical knowledge to solve real-world problems.
Is a private university in Pittsburgh, United States of America, which is extremely popular for their statistics course at both undergraduate and graduate levels? They offer courses in different disciplines like statistics and neuroscience, public policy and statistics, and statistics and machine learning.
They promote active participation in research even at the undergraduate level. This university is best suited for interdisciplinary course and encourages students to take part in interdisciplinary research from a very young age.
Situated in California, Stanford’s department of statistics offers two MS programs and a PhD course. The courses involved in the MS programs are flexible and can be opted for either as a foundation course for a doctoral program or as a degree in its own. The course also highlights a special paper in data science. Despite multiple available courses, Stanford mainly focuses on MS in statistics and prepares students for a career in both theoretical and applied statistics.
Is an uprising university offering multiple courses in statistics? They have only 20 seats for an undergraduate course in statistics and 35 seats for graduate students. Even though the university offers limited seats, it makes sure to offer world class facilities and opportunities to its students. The department has varieties of programs like BS in statistics, MA and MS in statistics and applied statistics and a PhD in statistics.
The huge number of available options help students chooses a course as per their liking. The department of statistics at University of Pittsburgh is home to the Statistics Computing Lab and Statistics Consulting Center, which support and facilitate research.
- Texas A&M University, College Station –
Offers multiple flexible degree programs in statistics at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. They also offer courses that are interdisciplinary like applied statistics, computational statistics, and biostatistics. The Bayesian Bioinformatics Lab and the Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computation are an integral part of Texas A&M University’s statistics department and organizes conferences and research opportunities for the students.
Hosts the maximum number of students in the statistics doctoral program all over Indiana. They also offer a variety of courses for the students to choose from. At the undergraduate level, they offer courses like mathematical statistics, applied statistics, and actuarial science. The graduate program is like the undergraduate course structure providing more flexibility to a student.
The departments advanced computing facilities are made available to all degree students and the graduate students are given an added advantage of free access to all on-campus facilities to conduct interdisciplinary research.
Offers a flexible degree course in statistics. They have both BS and MS programs in statistics and their courses are structured and designed in a manner to promote interdisciplinary study and push their students towards research. They also offer their MS program to be opted as an online course.
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor –
Is an extremely popular and high-praised university as its department of statistics is famous for its high-quality programs, excellent faculty, and research opportunities. The university offers three bachelor’s programs, three master’s programs and one doctoral program. The variety of program encompasses courses like quantitative finance, informatics, and applied statistics.
The university also encourages their undergraduate students to take active part in research and organizes conferences and workshops for their exposure to the real world.
Located in Houston, United States of America, Rice university offers degree courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate course is broad and mainly focuses on educating students in both theoretical and applied statistics. However, they offer specialization in computational finance to those who opt for it. The courses at the master’s and doctoral levels are more varied and offer specialization in finance statistics, bioinformatics, and environmental statistics.
All students are encouraged to take part in active research and make most of the internships so that they can soon be a part of the real world.
Heather Battey is a lecturer in Statistics and a renowned name in the professional world because of her achievements at such an early age and contribution to the society. I am a Lecturer in the Statistics Section of the Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London. I also hold an EPSRC research fellowship until January 2020.