Statistician

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Rachel Carter is a senior analyst statistician for a marketing consultancy. She uses maths to help her calculate the risks of business ventures on behalf of the company's clients.

How would you sum up your role?

I am responsible for statistical projects and lead a small team of analyst statisticians. I also run training courses in statistical methods and software for clients, as well as supporting staff internally.

As a statistician, maths is heavily used in my work. I needed a qualification in a mathematical subject to progress in this career. I deal with data on a daily basis and use maths continually.

What does a typical project involve?

A typical project starts with meeting a client and discussing their requirements. For example, a lot of our clients are charities wanting know which is the best group of people to contact for donations. We take into account a lot of factors such as their past history in donating, gender, age, occupation and where they live. We analyse their data to find all this out and make recommendations on the sorts of donors to try to recruit in the future or how to re-activate past donors.

I carry out the analysis using specialist computer software and report the findings back to the client. This may be in the form of a written report, a presentation, or a workshop, or a combination of all three.

What personal qualities and skills do you need?

You need to be good with numbers to do the work and a good team player but able to work independently, as that is the nature of project work. Attention to detail is essential.

What do you like about your career as a statistician?

I love working with data and using maths to solve real problems. There is a lot of satisfaction in finding information from data and passing this on to other people, especially when it makes a difference to their lives in some way. I also enjoy the interaction with people.

What are your plans for career progression?

I want to run my own statistical consultancy business.

Rachel's route to her career as a statistician

  • A levels including maths with statistics.
  • Degree in Probability and Statistics.
  • Masters degree in Biometry. (Biometry is statistics in agriculture, biology and medicine.)
  • Started work as a statistician and gained chartered status of the Royal Statistical Society.

Rachel's statistician tips

  • Complete a good theoretical degree and follow it up with a postgraduate course that teaches you how to apply what you've learnt in the real world.
  • Get the professional qualifications from the Royal Statistical Society as you progress through your work.
  • Get involved by volunteering for committees and community work. You learn a lot just by meeting people.

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Salary of a statistician

  • In the Civil Service, fast-stream assistant statisticians usually start at around £19,000 in London.
  • They are expected to progress rapidly, on merit, to statistician, with a salary starting around £31,000 to £33,000 and rising to £48,000.
  • Salaries outside the Civil Service are similar.
  • Salaries for new entrants might typically be around £20,000.
  • This will rise to £40,000 or more for senior posts.

Getting in

  • Recruitment is usually at graduate level, but you may start as a statistical assistant after leaving school and make progress through on-the-job training within your organisation.
  • To become a statistician, you need to have a statistics related qualification such as a degree, or a certificate or diploma from the Royal Statistical Society.
  • If you have a related degree such as maths, the sciences, or economics, you can take a postgraduate course in statistics.
  • Training takes place mainly on the job. You gain experience by working under the supervision of experienced staff until you are able to work on your own. You may also work towards the professional qualifications offered by the Royal Statistical Society.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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