Statistics: Exciting Career For Young Professionals?
Professional organization campaigns to boost the image of statisticians and draw more young people into the field.
There's a good chance that in every media market, an ad campaign by an industry group, a company, or an educational institution plays off the middle school career day. "This is my dad. He's a doctor." "This is my mom. She's a lawyer." "This is my uncle. He's looking for a job." (Sorry, reality bites).
It doesn't take a statistician to figure out that none of those campaigns open with, "This is my dad. He's a statistician." Face it: Stats don't score well on the glory scale.
Now, the American Statistical Association is working to put a fresh face on statistics as a career. Not only is ASA putting young professionals front and center in the campaign, it's also making a pitch that statistics can be exciting and crucial to an organization. The association is pitching stats as a career to students and their parents.
Honesty first. I love statistics, whether they reflect sports performances, weather patterns, or economic and social trends. But, like so many math-challenged, word-oriented people, I want someone else to compile the stats. Then I'll enjoy the numbers and sometimes employ them in my work. It's like making sausages: I don't need to know what goes on beyond the closed doors, just that they taste right.
Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As Executive Managing Editor of InformationWeek, he oversees the day-to-day planning and editing on the site. Most recently he has been editor of UBM's ... View Full Bio
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