Succeeding as a Home-Based Statistician

written by: N Nayab•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/13/2010

The increasing reliance on quantitative data places statisticians in good demand. Success as a home based statistician however depends on an understanding of the niches suitable for home based work and possessing the required qualifications.

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Scope for Home Based Statistician in Market Research

One major source of employment for a home based statistician is in market research. Businesses require statisticians to interpret and analyze data, and thereby make informed decisions, and many businesses employ work from home market research professionals for this purpose.

The scope of statistical analysis in business is infinite. Some examples of practical applications include:

• Changes in consumer tastes in television programs
• Promising locations for a new retail outlet
• Change in teenage clothing style preferences
• The extent of health consciousness among patrons of fast food outlets
• The extent of environmental consciousness to determine success of green technology as a marketing pitch

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Finance and Insurance Related Sectors

A major application of statistics relates to the area of finance. Home based statisticians can aspire to find work in various financial related services such as

• Loan approvals. Statisticians mine data to make mathematical guesses about an individual’s future payment behavior. Statistical models estimate the value of collateral offered in commercial loans.
• Insurance. Statistics plays a major role in probability analysis to fix pricing and product design.
• Actuaries. Closely related to insurance is actuaries, where statisticians assess the risk of events occurring and help create policies that minimize the cost of such risks.
• Financial analysis. Many work from home financial analysts assess the financial needs of individuals and businesses, helping them with financial planning, tax laws, and insurance decisions. Such work from home financial analysts apply statistics to perform financial analysis of performance of stocks, bonds, commodities, and other types of investments and thereby guide investment decisions. If considering this area, you may want to check into obtaining a financial planner degree online.
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Computer Science Applications

Another major area of application of statistics is in computer sciences. A home based statistician can find work in the following areas related to computer sciences

• Data Mining, or analysis of information in a database to find trends or irregularities.
• Data Compression or coding of data using algorithms and utilities to save storage space or transmission time.
• Speech Recognition or turning the spoken word into a sequence of numbers matched against coded dictionaries.
• Network or Traffic Modeling to avoid network congestion when exploiting available bandwidth.

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Basic Qualifications and Skills Required for Home Based Statisticians

Statistics is a profession that requires a background in mathematics, science, and computers, combined with knowledge in a specific field of interest such as business or computers.

Companies looking to employ statisticians usually look for a major in applied mathematics or a closely related field, or a minor in mathematics or statistics. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a master's degree in statistics or mathematics as the minimum educational requirement for most jobs.

Thirty percent of all statisticians in the USA work for Federal, state, and local governments. Private-industry employers of statisticians include scientific research and development services, insurance carriers, business and economic analysis firms, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies.

A statistician wanting to make a home based career would do well to take up internships and fellowships initially and gain hands-on experience in a particular niche.

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Job Hunt Resources for Home Based Statisticians

Some good resources to identify home based opportunities for statisticians include

• Advertising through the local chamber of commerce trade publications or direct emails is a good way to secure local statistical jobs.
• Traditional job portals and freelance bidding sites usually contain work for home based statisticians, both on a regular and freelance basis.
• ASA JobWeb, run by the American Statistical Association, is a good resource to identify opportunities in the field.
• JSM Career Placement Service, related to the American Statistical Association, offers a full-service recruiting facility for employers and job seekers.
• University of Washington, Department of Statistics has a good site listing various job openings available to statisticians.

Statistics, being a specialized profession, has plenty of opportunities, but home based opportunities come only to those who know where to look for it.

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References

American Statistical Association. Which Industry Employs Statisticians?

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

Image Credit: Caius, flickr.com