Learning that a master’s in statistics is one of the highest paying master’s degrees may make your decision about going to graduate school in this field easier, but choosing a program is still challenging. There are a lot of things to look for in a graduate program in statistics, and they aren’t necessarily the things you would expect. While students may be tempted to focus on the prestige and name recognition of a school, they are far from the only factors that count. Students would be better off looking for a master’s in statistics degree program, even one from a less widely known school, that provides plenty of potential for students to apply statistics to real situations, develop an array of marketable skills, pursue an area of specialized study that fits their career plans and get help with job placement.
Opportunities for Real-Life Applications
Most jobs in the field of statistics focus on applied, rather than theoretical, statistics. The sooner you have the chance to work with real-life data and apply statistical methods to solving actual problems, the better you will be prepared for a future statistics career in any area. Rather than waiting until your first job after graduate school, students should strive to find a master’s degree program that integrates real-world data analysis directly into the statistics curriculum, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The kind of real-world data you might analyze as a graduate student of statistics can range from energy data to financial data and from housing market data to the reports provided by high-tech virtual reality job training programs.
The Chance to Gain a Variety of Skills
Working in the field of statistics also requires you to cultivate an assortment of different skills, particularly since different job roles in statistics come with different responsibilities. The statistics students who are best prepared are the ones who have an opportunity to gain skills in each area of statistics. Ideally, a master’s in statistics program should encompass learning opportunities in every area from computer programming in multiple languages to the creation of data visualizations like diagrams, plots and graphs, according to U.S. News & World Report.
When learning computing skills and programming skills in a statistics program, the goal shouldn’t be only to grasp the use of one programming language or statistical analysis software program. It’s also important to learn the basics of programming and statistical software usage so that you are primed to be able to learn new technologies in the future.
The technology used in the field of statistics, including software programs and programming languages, is constantly advancing. Programming languages like Python, R, SQL, Java and C++ are some of the most important languages in data science right now.
Areas of Specialization That Fit Your Interests
The concepts and methods of statistics can be applied to just about any field, from business and entertainment to healthcare, the life sciences and the social sciences. If you think you may want to work in a certain area of specialization, choosing a degree program that supports this aspiration is a smart move.
For example, if you wanted to focus on data science, a master’s in statistics program with a specialized track in this area. Besides your core coursework in statistics, you may take classes in areas like statistical data science fundamentals, algorithm design and analysis, database systems, artificial intelligence, optimization for big data analytics and machine learning. Students focusing on biostatistics will likely complete a sequence of courses in advanced statistical methods for biostatistics as well as classes in survival analysis and experimental design.
Other popular concentrations in a master’s in statistics program include financial statistics, environmental statistics, statistical genetics, econometrics and the more general track of applied statistics.
Job Placement Programs
Although there are many reasons students decide to go to graduate school, improving their career prospects in some fashion is at least part of the rationale for most students. If that’s the case for you, then choosing a master’s in statistics program that goes above and beyond to help students land the jobs they want can be beneficial.
All in all, graduates from a master’s in statistics program have an excellent job placement rate, according to a 2019 survey by the American Statistical Association. Researchers found that 66.7 percent of respondents – all graduates from a master’s in statistics or similar graduate program – were employed full-time, 1.7 percent employed part-time, and 25.5 percent were students in a Ph.D. or other graduate program. Still, choosing a master’s in statistics program with an exceptional job placement rate and assistance in recruiting, resume writing and networking can put you in a better position to land the kind of job you want fresh out of graduate school.
Just 3.6 percent of respondents were unemployed and seeking work, while others identified as not seeking work or “other,” according to the American Statistical Association’s survey data.