How to become a Statistician

Statisticians design and apply statistical techniques for creating, collecting and analysing data to draw conclusions, inform decision-making and direct policy within areas such as science, technology, medicine, education, business, finance and government.

Personal requirements of a Statistician

  • Aptitude for analysis and research
  • Good at mathematics
  • Good reasoning and problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team

Education & Training for a Statistician

To become a statistician you usually have to study mathematics, econometrics or statistics at university. These areas of study may be undertaken within a mathematics, actuarial studies, arts, business, commerce, computer science, economics or science degree, depending on the mathematical and statistical emphasis of subjects taken. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Statistician

Statisticians may perform the following tasks:

  • define precisely what is to be measured and decide which information to collect and from where
  • determine the size of the sample to be tested and how the sample will be selected
  • decide on the best method of collecting the information, whether by mail-out of questionnaires, experiments or survey interviews (telephone or face-to-face), and create associated measurement tools
  • ensure measurement resources are used efficiently
  • interpret data and produce relevant statistics to describe or infer particular trends and patterns
  • model and predict trends for phenomena such as accidents, pollution, disease outbreaks and economic trends
  • check the validity and reliability of statistical models used in applications
  • fit models using statistical computing environments and packages and develop, code and run statistical computer programs
  • design experiments and trials to test new methods and products
  • evaluate the accuracy of the obtained information, represent data graphically and report findings.

Working conditions for a Statistician

Statisticians may work by themselves, but they usually work in a team. The team may include specialists from various fields, as well as clerical and computing staff involved in data collection and analysis.

Employment Opportunities for a Statistician

Statisticians are employed in a wide variety of fields, including financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, technology companies, large industries and major corporations. They also work in federal government departments, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Depending on individual interests, statisticians work within both private and public sectors. Some work as statistical consultants to medical facilities (both research and clinical) and financial services organisations, such as superannuation funds, managed funds or major industries. It is also possible to find work with non-government organisations and research institutes. Most statisticians work in major cities. Advancement to supervisory and higher management positions is possible for experienced and well-qualified statisticians.

Specialisations:


Applied Statistician

An applied statistician analyses data from a variety of sources, including designed experiments and observational studies, and writes statistical programmes. Applications include health, medicine, education, industry, government, finance and business.


Biostatistician

A biostatistician studies links between biological problems and their causes in humans, animals, agriculture and botany. They usually work in medical research facilities, universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or government health departments, and use statistical models to investigate risk factors for health problems.


Epidemiologist

An epidemiologist identifies and studies factors which influence the frequency and distribution of diseases and other health-related events within a population.


Mathematical Statistician

A mathematical statistician develops new statistical theories, modelling approaches and statistical methodologies in a broad variety of contexts.

Additional Information
Membership of the Statistical Society of Australia is available. Visit their website for more details.
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