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REVIEW – Statistical Showcase: Exploring Careers in Statistics on 15 Nov 2013


[Reviewed by Robert Brown, an attendee.]

I really enjoyed the Young Statisticians’ Statistical Showcase event on Friday afternoon. It captured the broad array of options on offer to career-young statisticians and the skills that are involved – ranging from the focus on quantitative accuracy and programming within finance, to the careful technique required for academic research, through to the statistical communication vital to consultancy and governmental jobs. For some of us, the skill will be in finding simple ways to explain complex relationships to senior managers. For others, there will be a need to develop detailed models to extract signal from the noisy variations in the financial world.

Anybody that had to sneak out early missed the keynote speech from RSS President John Pullinger. This was the highlight of the event – and not just because it signalled that it was nearly time for wine and canapés! We are in tremendous company as statisticians: John pulled out some highlights of previous presidents and their impact on society. The idea that ‘it is our turn to make a difference’ may be a cliché, but as data becomes an increasingly important part of modern life, we have an unprecedented opportunity to be at the forefront of change. John explained that we should do this by:

1. Being proactive in making ourselves useful;

2. Being realistic about the constraints we work under and adapting our approach accordingly;

3. Investing in ourselves and playing to our strengths by developing what we are good at.

I’ve come away from the showcase with plenty of ideas and inspiration, but the thing that stood out was the importance of collaboration: wherever we end up, the networks we build now will be vital in the years to come.