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Getting a job with a masters in statistics

  1. Jun 22, 2014 #1
    I recently got into UCSB to get me masters in statistics, but now i'm wondering if a master's degree is enough to land me a job( partly funded). UCSB offers two tracks in their statistics program which is the applied track and the other is much more theoretical. I've chosen the applied track although there is quite a bit of overlap between both tracks. From the looks of it, I really like their program and I think it would prepare me skill wise, but not sure about job wise. I've been reading on other forums and people say that you should go all the way to your PHD which I do not want to do (too long and I do not have all that much time to devote). Right now I am interning at a business which involves statistical work. I know that statistics is a very wide and open field, but I would like to primarily focus on getting into data analytics primarily in the financial/business sector. I know that a master's alone is not enough to cut it, so I would like to do everything possible to ensure I get employed somewhere. First of all have I made the correct decision to get my masters or will have I have to further it to get my PHD? Have I chosen the correct track since a job is what I want to do afterwards? What skills should I focus on to make me more employable? Is it better to focus on one economic sector for employment or should I just focus more on applying statistical methods in a more general setting? Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2014 #2


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    Education Advisor

    To the OP:

    First of all, congratulations on being admitted to UCSB!

    Now on to your question:

    The advantage of a PhD in statistics is that the years you spend pursuing research in the field often count as work experience (i.e. a PhD is often counted as worth 2 years of work experience when applying for employment), and also opens doors to positions involving research in statistical methodology (e.g. academia, research labs like Google Labs or Bell Labs).

    However, from my experience as a statistician with a little over 13 years of experience working in various industries, most recently in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology sectors (and with a Masters in statistics) and knowing my fellow statisticians, I can say that a Masters degree should be more than sufficient in landing a job in the field, especially if you have previous work experience, such as an internship.

    As far as your other questions -- since your interest is primarily in seeking employment immediately upon graduation, the applied track sounds like the correct decision for you (the theoretical track sounds like it's more geared for people who intend to pursue further graduate work in statistical research). I would definitely recommend applying statistical methods in a more general setting, since you may be interested in the financial/business sector, but there are many other sectors with opportunities for statisticians and you don't want to ignore those either.

    I wanted to wish you all the best on your studies and future endeavours!
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  4. Jun 22, 2014 #3
    I really like your advice and now I think i'm definitely on the right track. Thanks.
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