Career in statistics


I'm thinking about a career in statistics, possibly by doing a Diploma in Statistics with Open University, here in the UK. However, I am wondering if I know all my options... I am currently a Database Officer and have been trained in SQL, SPSS, MSAccess, M***cel... the usual stuff really... I think my options include (a) database administrator or (b) data analysis - for which I would go for statistician status.

Does anyone have any advice or guidance for me? How did you get to where you are today? What's your career path? What other options did you investigate? Any regrets or unfufilled ambitions?

Thanks for any and all help.

I am currently a statistical analyst, working in London. I haven't got a degree in stats so it may not be necessary for you to get one in order to pursue a similar career. My career path is:
Graduated in 2006 with masters in Maths/Physics (I did some stats in physics but not very much)
Started job as data analyst where I learned mainly SQL and a little SAS, stayed for 18 months.
Moved to London and began job as Statistical Analyst.

My job is ok but im not completely sure it's the right thing for me, it can be a bit boring at times.
Hi Gemma

Thanks for your response. I reckon your degree in maths/physics helped to get you on your career path - I think I need something to get started with concepts and tools. Also, I think the qualification would make a difference to what salary I can demand/expect.

I'm gearing more and more towards statistics - what do you find boring about it? Is it to do with the type of work or the company you're in? Is the Statistical Analyst much different to the Data Analyst job?

ida and gemma, if you guys go to the royal statistical society you can find their mailing list... Tons of job offers and some statistical discussion.

I'd join, but it's a waste of time for me as I live in Canada. In Canada/US you realistically can't get a job as a statistician without a M.Sc in math/stats. I know because I've just the BSC in Math/stats and am SOL when it comes to getting jobs.

There are TONS of jobs I apply to where they want a masters, and I bet it's the same in england, but can't be sure.
Hi IronMan

Thanks for the recommendation. I've emailed their editor as they don't seem to have a non-members option and I can't afford to join them yet.

I might sign up to a job search if I don't get their mag to see what employers are looking for so I can see how important the full-on masters is to them. I think that I will probably go for the masters in the end but it'll take a few years to get there, so it'd be good to know what I can get in the meantime.

So, if you have the time, can you let us know what your career path was/is like? What opportunities opened up for you and all that?

Idamonster, there is a UK stats mailing list with tons of job offers that while I found it through the RSS, doesn't require RSS membership. (I'm a member of the SSC and ASA, the canadian and american organizations respectively.)

It could be worthwhile to do a google search on stats mailing lists, as unfortunately Managed to delete that favourite off my list.


TS Contributor

Most jobs that are purely statistical or titled as "statistician" will most likely require at least a masters or doctorate.

Another thing you may consider is starting out in a field that requires good stats knowledge, but not necessarily a grad degree (such as Market Research or Quality Assurance). While you're working, you could go for your masters at night, plus you'd be gaining valuable experience.....
IronMan - thanks, that's what I did after I read your post :) The only problem with the search word 'statistics' is that the results tend to be statistics related to some field, rather than for statisticians, if you get me. Still, I've found a few and I can keep on searching. Thanks for your tip, very useful.

JohnM - Yes, that's what I've been finding and though I will probably go for the Masters eventually, it'll be a few years. In the meantime, my current job is set to incorporate a lot more data analysis (marketing) so that's cool. For the job searches, I think if I use the terms data and analysis, I should find some that I'm qualified for so that I can keep an eye on the field while I study.