What is Statistics?

Statistics is the science of learning from data. Statistical analysis is used to support intelligent decision making, whether by humans or machines, in face of uncertainty. An appropriate use of statistics leads to evidence-based valuable actions.

Statistics is concerned with all types of data – big data, small data, structured or unstructured, numerical data, images, videos and text, ‘online’ or ‘offline’. Moreover, using statistics one can also control the generation of data via ‘design of experiments’, a methodology used in a variety of domains such as clinical trials, manufacturing, and digital advertising.

Statistical methods are widely used throughout the physical, social, and biomedical sciences. For example, hydraulic engineers use statistical methods for constructing bridges that will survive unusual floods. Clinicians and Biostatisticians use statistical methods to design clinical trials in which new therapies are tested and without which they cannot be approved. Educators use statistics to figure out the best policies for enhancing education in schools. Modern web-based tools such as search engines and recommendation systems are also powered by statistics.

What do Statisticians do?

Statisticians draw valuable insights from data. Statisticians develop models and methods for answering scientific, public policy and commercial questions arising in a wide variety of contexts. An important aspect of a statisticians’ job is to report and effectively communicate the results to other scientists, business managers, policy makers or the general public.

As noted on the webpage of the American Statistical Association Career Center:

“The world is becoming quantitative. More and more professions, from the everyday to the exotic, depend on data and numerical reasoning. Data are not just numbers, but numbers that carry information about a specific setting and need to be interpreted in that setting. With the growth in the use of data comes a growing demand for the services of statisticians, who are experts in the following: producing trustworthy data; analyzing data to make their meaning clear; drawing practical conclusions from data.”

Statisticians work in many interesting fields:

  • Medicine and Health  where they develop effective clinical trials for new medicines and devices and help medical researchers understand the prevalence of deceases among different populations.
  • Business and Finance where they identify and model financial risks and help to improve efficiency in business processes.
  • Environmental Sciences where they develop models for environmental risks and conduct analyses that lead to better management of natural resources.
  • Computing and its applications where they contribute to developments of novel algorithms for machine learning, speech recognition and artificial intelligence.

As noted by the renowned mathematician and statistician John Tukey (Bell Labs & Princeton University):

“The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone else’s backyard.”

Why study Statistics?

Statistics is a fulfilling and rewarding profession. It is both intellectually stimulating yet widely useful and broadly applicable. The effective practice of statistics requires a deep understanding of mathematics, modern computing and, of course, a host of inferential methods developed over the last century. In addition, statisticians develop a good grasp of the subject specific knowledge. This diversity is what makes a statisticians every day job varied and interesting.

If you are interested in a career in which quantitative methods are applied you are likely to find a satisfying one within the broad tent of statistics.

According to  “This is Statistics”:

“Statisticians contribute to society in many ways, from protecting endangered species and managing the impacts of climate change to making medicines more effective and reducing hunger and disease. The ways in which statisticians make the world a better place are vast and varied. With a career in Statistics you can make a difference, have fun, satisfy your curiosity, and make money… The demand for statisticians is growing, and so are their salaries.”

Why study Statistics with us?

Our department offers comprehensive and up-to-date academic programs. Our graduates work as statisticians, data analysts/scientists and actuaries in leading high-tech and insurance companies.

We aspire to be a department that:

(a) produces high-quality methodological and applied research;

(b) helps to solve problems of practical importance through statistical consulting services;

(c) teaches up-to-date courses that are useful to all students;

(d) has strong links with leading industrial partners.

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