When we first encounter statistics, we often see them applied in theory through hypothetical issues in a math class. This can lead to an assumption that statistics are only needed in theory, which makes them interesting to students of mathematics or statistics but gives them little real-world relevance.
However, the opposite is true. Statistics have myriad uses in everyday life and are used across many different industries. Earning a degree in statistics can therefore set you up to work in many different sectors.
Studying real-word statistics
While statistical theory is interesting and valuable for budding statisticians to learn, an effective statistics course should also include statistics in the real world. When choosing a course, it is essential to check the course content to ensure that it meets your needs. A good example can be found at Michigan Tech, which offers an online Master’s in Applied Statistics that includes real-world problem solving as one of its areas of focus. Working with real databases, it can help you learn how to use statistics to form decisions and overcome challenges.
Businesses depend on accurately understanding statistics to boost profitability. They will need to analyze statistics to understand who their main demographics are, when they are most likely to use the service, and the best way to attract them.
They will also need to analyze the data around any decisions made to see how effective they are. For example, if a business runs a marketing campaign, they will need to analyze the data around this to see how successful it has been. Other uses for statistics in businesses relate to employee management and performance.
Science and medicine
It would be very difficult to measure the efficacy of new medicines, therapies or practices without the use of statistics. These will allow you to see not only if a treatment is successful, but whether there are any variables that affect its success, such as race, age or sex.
In education, statistics are gathered on student performance from the very beginning, covering areas such as achievement, attendance and behavior. These can be used on an individual level to monitor progress and set targets, but they can also be used by a school to assess progress as a whole, seeing which teaching methods are effective, teacher performance, educational results based on sex or race, and the implications for special educational needs. Without these statistics, a school will struggle to improve its methods and student progress may be slow.
Government statistics are used at both a local and national level to drive and monitor policy decisions. Every day, different departments will look at factors such as crime statistics, environmental statistics, wage levels, and employment numbers, to name just a few. In addition to using them to identify problems and implement positive changes, political parties will use them to keep the electorate informed on how their elected representatives are serving them.
Earning a degree in statistics will be useful no matter what sector you work in, enhancing your employability and opportunities for promotion. With so many real-life problems calling out for skilled statisticians, it is a qualification that will take you well beyond the classroom.