The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “statistics” as “a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data.” Applied statistics is therefore the application of statistics to problems across various fields. Today, applied statistics touches many things that the general public uses on a daily basis. But the field of statistics has undergone centuries of advancement – and continues to expand its impact.
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Michigan Technological University’s Master of Science in Applied Statistics.
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The Evolution of Applied Statistics
The technologies powering many of the products we buy, shows we watch, and devices we use today were developed and perfected through the efforts of mathematicians, demographers, and statisticians – long before tech companies entered the picture. Historically, governments have used censuses to track population size. For instance, English demographers John Graunt and William Petty applied mathematical techniques to estimate population changes. According to an article from The Guardian, Germany used stats to “map disparate customs, institutions and laws across an empire of hundreds of micro-states,” and these states tracked births, deaths, harvests, exports, and more on a national level. Back then, nations used statistics to answer questions like “Where is progress occurring, and at what rate?” Today, statistics tracking poverty, unemployment, the GDP, net migration, and inflation are used in political debates.
Real-World Industries and Daily Life Statistics Examples
Many fields use statistics for different purposes, such as safety, health improvement, and the advancement of people’s knowledge.
Statisticians are big participants in pharmacology, as they’re involved with the discovery, testing, approval and marketing of a drug. They may also work in public health for government agencies, where they help to educate public hygiene, develop preventative treatments and control. Additionally, statisticians may take on a role in epidemiology, as they may work in fields like nutrition and environmental science to help monitor and report on health-related. Finally, genetics-based statistics have helped improve breeding practices in animals and plants and have also identified indicators of genetic abnormalities in human genetics.
Politicians and campaign managers use statistics to target specific voter demographics, gauge rates of constituent approval, and predict election. Additionally, law enforcement agencies track data bout fraud and crime that’s then used to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies and tactics.
Statisticians may provide an expert testimony to court cases involving salary discrepancies, DNA testing, disease clusters, and consumer surveys. This can produce disparate results. In Harvard’s discrimination lawsuit, for instance, two statisticians created 700 pages of analysis and reached opposing conclusions.
Teachers teach high school and college statistics courses. Statisticians may also assist in analyzing teacher performance. Additionally, studies across all industries and topics use statistics to design surveys and present the results in research papers.
Banks use statistics to lower risk in their lending operations, analyze activity in the financial market, and predict the impact of economic crises. Investors also use stats to understand the risk and potential of certain stocks, which helps them make informed investing decisions.
Social media managers monitor organic and paid traffic to social media profiles and analyze data to grow followers, increase engagement, and drive conversions. Advertisers in the form of paid search managers monitor ad campaigns based on key performance indicator targets and baselines and analyze data to continually optimize a campaign’s performance. Additionally, SEO specialists must be certified in Google Analytics and understand how to read and interpret website analytics.
Who Collects Data?
Though stats are used across many fields, certain positions are open only to individuals with an education in mathematics or statistics. One of these jobs is that of a mathematician or statistician. Their job responsibilities include using statistics to solve problems in different fields like engineering or law, analyzing and interpreting data, and developing mathematical and statistical theories. Those that earn a Master’s in Applied Statistics degree can gain a deeper understanding on how statistical solutions are applied in organizational context and can build skills to work in a host of industries. Another job is a computer and information research scientist, who aid scientists and engineers in resolving complex computing issues, develop computing languages, and test software systems with experiments. A Master’s in Applied Statistics can help professionals to integrate statistical tools into tech applications like machine learning, and they can gain advanced skills in statistical analysis and problem solving. Statistics can also play a key role for engineers. Their job responsibilities include reviewing engineering specifications and process flows for efficiency’s sake, formulating control systems, and developing management systems for efficient cost analysis and financial planning. Those armed with a Master’s in Applied Statistics can gain a deeper knowledge of statistical methods and technologies and can have a firmer grasp on effectively communicating the results of statistical analysis.
Further Your Education in Applied Statistics
The importance of data, data analysis, and applied statistics is relevant to nearly every area of our lives. Graduates of a master’s program in applied statistics will have many fields to choose from when pursuing employment. As the field of applied statistics continues to evolve, those qualified to lead organizations and governments with insight gleaned from data will make a significant impact on the lives of generations to come.