# What are the most important computer programs to know for success in the field of statistics?

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## What is Statistics?

Statistics are ubiquitous. By definition, it is a collection of mathematical techniques or methodologies used to analyze data. It applies to current events and as a means to predict the likelihood of future events based upon historical data. Statistics exits in various disciplines such as psychology, business, physical and social sciences, humanities, government, medicine, and manufacturing.

The purpose of statistical analysis is to form a conclusion to a degree of accuracy. In business, the analyst may be able to make informed decisions through the examination and scrutiny of data pertaining to the matter. In medicine, statistics is a vital part of pharmaceutical trials to determine the beneficial effects and side effects of a drug.

There is a symbiosis between computer science and statistics – meaning there is a cooperation or association between the two disciplines. For example, there can be a symbiotic relationship between land or pastures and livestock. In computer science, statistics is evident in programs like Google Translate, which changes the typed word into a sequence of numbers that match it to the appropriate dictionary. Another example is data mining that uses statistical functions to find irregularities or inconsistencies within data.

As pointed out above, computer science has an association with statistics, but is statistics associated with computer software? The answer is yes – there are numerous programs under the banner of Statistical Analysis Software. Analysts enter statistics in the form of data into a program to gain insight visually. From the multiple views of the data, the company makes informed business decisions and solutions. The best way to perform this task is through the application of statistical software.

A sampling of statistical software is:

JMP Statistical Software:  A program used by engineers, scientists, government, and industry to reveal data visually from sets of tables of numbers and statistics.

Looker:  Businesses use this software as a data analytics tool used by companies to see data graphically on the computer screen.

OpenText Magellan:  An analytics software advertised to process large amounts of data to identify patterns and trends within the business, viewed as data visualizations and interactive dashboards.

There are too many software programs to list. The website, Predictive Analytics Today, contains their Top 48 Statistical Software used to collect, organize, interpret, and present data.

## Master’s Degree in Statistics

We will explore some of the college programs at this level to see if computer science or programming is part of the curricula. As reported above, statistics involves data mining techniques. Therefore, students should anticipate coursework related to the modeling and analysis of complex data. For example, the Department of Mathematics at the University of Houston offers a Master of Science in Statistics and Data Science. The curriculum includes a course titled – Probability Models and Statistical Computing. Applicants to this program will benefit from proficiency in a programming language, such as SAS or Python.

The Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University has a Master’s in Statistical Science. There is a choice of six areas of specialization, one of which is Data Science and Analytics. The study plan emphasizes modeling and computation, which develops programming skills in different languages, namely Python, R, and SQL. Computer science and statistics have a direct link to this program.

Learning R programming appears to be crucial to graduate programs in statistics and data science. Statisticians and data scientists widely use the language for data analysis and statistical inference. It is a program for mathematical computation traditionally used between statisticians intended for producing analytical applications as well as graphics.

Wall Street traders, biologists, Silicon Valley developers, as well as Google, Facebook, and Bank of America rely on R language.

Python is another essential language due to its flexibility, as it is used to do statistical data analysis, develop games, or create entire websites. It is easier to learn than R, according to computer scientists, and another favorite of the Bank of America to crunch financial data.

The University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) includes a course titled – Advanced Programming and Data Management in SAS in its Statistics and Data Science Master of Science. SAS or Statistical Analysis System programming applies to statistical analysis by deciphering raw data from various sources, creating data files in different formats, modifying SAS datasets, and using numeric functions. The language is necessary for individuals entering the analytics industry.