How I Got into a Career in Statistics

May 13, 2013

in At Work With Statisticians, Uncategorized

By Kylie Maxwell, Statistics New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand is one of the more than 1,900 organisations supporting Statistics2013. I’ve been working in Statistics NZ’s Statistical Methods department for a year now. I didn’t always see myself working in statistics.

I originally wanted a career in Science and undertook a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Marine Biology in 2007.

However, as part of my BSc in Marine Biology, statistics was compulsory. Having done no mathematics or statistics past the age of 15, this wasn’t something I was overly excited about. However, I soon realised that you can’t do research without statistics, and luckily for me I enjoyed it.

I majored in Marine Biology and Applied Statistics at Victoria University of Wellington, and continued on at Victoria University to do my Master of Science (MSc) in Applied Statistics. I made the decision to carry on with statistics as when I thought about eventually looking for work, I knew there would be more opportunities to work with statistics as the work and opportunities are so varied in that field.

I was lucky to be offered a position at Statistics NZ straight after I finished my thesis, and I was excited to start to use all of the things I learnt during my five years at university in the ‘real world’. My work includes a number of really interesting things including sample design, weighting, and estimation, editing and imputation, data-quality checking, as well as day-to-day problem solving.

I also am the Young Statistician representative for the New Zealand Statistical Association and am currently working to build a strong network of young statisticians across New Zealand.

Statistics is a field I would recommend to anyone who likes to solve problems and wants a career where they can constantly be challenged. You can work in so many interesting areas with statistics, for example official statistics, fisheries, health, engineering, and research (just to name a few), so there is plenty of variety to keep you enthusiastic about your career.