Today we will talk about Statistics, a very interesting career related to Applied Mathematics.
Statistics means Data, but not the computer data that we all talk about. Data existed long before computers came into the picture. Data is nothing but a numerical indicator of something. Computers became popular because they made data capturing easier. But statistics and data existed long before computers. Faster computers have provided us the power to collect humongous amounts of data and process them using statistical software.
So what is statistics? To explain this career we will start with an example. Iam sure everyone is familiar with a blood report. It lists all the vital parameters of our body with an indicator of what is normal and abnormal. Anything outside normal raises a red flag which prompts us to see a doctor. This report has worked wonders and prevented several health problems such as strokes and heart attacks?
But have we every thought how the blood report has been prepared? Around 40-50 years back there were no blood reports. Though there were lesser ailments at that time there was no way to proactively address an ailment. So medical specialists went to statisticians for a solution.
A sample of around 1 lakh persons of various age groups and genders were used to collect data regarding key parameters in the body (cholestrol, sugar, lipids etc). In this sample there were a few patients who reported health problems ranging from heart attacks to blood pressure etc. This is the data i refer to. Statisticians now ran their calculations on this sample and were able to group the data into specific groups. Inspite of not knowing which samples were the healthy ones and which were not, the statistics could clearly pinpoint groups of healthy people separately from groups of unhealthy people based solely on data. This includes the key statistics that we learned at school such as mean, median, mode, min value, max value, range etc. All these statistics are used to group the sample.
Using the results statisticians could build an acceptable range for each vital statistic in the human blood based on healthy people ranges.
As you can see, the job of a statistician is to create a representative sample of the whole population that reasonably reflects the population in terms of normal behaviour and abnormal behaviour. Typically abnormal behaviour is within 5-10% of the whole sample. Statistics uses the data to group the sample based on behaviour. Since grouping is based on numbers only (data) there is no bias.
Hence statistics is a tool used in all industries from healthcare to manufacturing to isolate abnormal behaviour not only to rectify it but also use the pattern of abnormal behaviour to predict a future occurence and fix it before it happens.
This career is also called Data Science is great for people who like to work with numbers. Here are a few careers in data science
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