What Does a Career in Biostatistics Actually Look Like?

Biostatistician, Rafael Irizarry of Simply Statistics, was sent on a mission to recruit people for a graduate program, and “found that several [people] did not know about the existence of Departments of Biostatistics and most of the rest thought biostatistics was the study of clinical trials.”

So what is biostatistics then? Here are a few takeaways from the article:

What does a biostatistician do?

  •  With the need for data intensive research in so many disciplines, biostatistics is one way statistics has been adapted for a specific purpose. Biostatistics involves the development and application of statistical techniques to scientific research in health-related fields, such as genetics, genomics, and neuroscience (just to name a few).

What type of job does a biostatistician hold?

  • The most common path for a biostatistician is academia, industry or government. However, the majority of biostatistics departments prepare their students so that their education can be widely applied. Indeed, many biostatistics graduates end up in high tech. See for example this Hilary Parker profile.

How do you prepare for a masters or PhD in biostatistics?

  • The key to choosing the right continuing degree is all in the preparation. Irizarry suggests participating in a summer program to see if biostatistics is the right path. Research experience is a good way to find out where the passion lies for a career. There are multiple courses, such as introduction to statistics, introduction to statistical computing, and introduction to biostatistics, that introduce students to different programs used in biostatistics, as well as statistics in general.

For those who love math and science, there’s no need to have to choose one or the other. Biostatistics is a prime example of how the field of statistics is filled with a plethora of endless opportunities.

For more information about biostatistics, check out the article ‘Biostatistics: It’s not what you think it is.’

Here are a few additional biostatistics resources:

  • See biostatisticians talk about their careers and take a quiz to find out if biostatistics is for you.
  • See how biostatistics PhD Alyssa Frazee of Stripe addresses whether she is a statistician or data scientist in this YouTube Video.
  • See this humorous video by the UNC School of Public Health on demand for their biostatistics faculty and students, “Where are the Biostatisticians.”
  • See the lists of universities granting biostatistics graduate degrees.




Related Posts

what's going on in this graph

What’s Going on In This Graph?

ASA and The New York Times Learning Network have released March’s “What’s Going On In This Graph?” On Tuesday from 9 a.m. ­–2 p.m. ET, an ASA moderator will be in the comments section of the article to facilitate the discussion and answer any questions you may have. Each month of the academic year (September…

Statsketball Tournament

Are You Ready for the Statsketball Tournament 2018?

The 2018 Statsketball tournament is right around the corner. Are you ready for the competition? Statsketball 2018 is a statistical prediction contest to determine the stakes of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament using statistics. To help you prepare, we’ve rounded up everything you’ll need to predict the outcome of the basketball tournament using statistics rather…


Comments are closed.