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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014
Lord of numbers
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 02, 2013
First Published: 17:00 IST(2/4/2013)
Last Updated: 17:03 IST(2/4/2013)
One for all: Statistics is a subject used almost everywhere — academics, insurance, software development, market research and pharmaceuticals

The lowdown

Statistics is the science of applying mathematical principles to gather, analyse and present numerical data in a usable manner. This 17th century science finds use in diverse fields such as agriculture, medicine, drug testing, economics, insurance and finance, software development, market research and sport. Statisticians basically harvest, analyse and explain data in ways that help decision-making in government, industry and research. The Central government recruits postgraduates in statistics, mathematical statistics and applied statistics for the Indian Statistical Service. “Pursuing a career in this field provides exciting opportunities to work independently on projects,” said Lovi Sharma, business analyst for advanced research and analytics division, UnitedHealth Group, a company based in the United States of America


Clockwork
9am: Reach office. Start creating data sets for which tables and listings have to be made
11am: Analyse the data which has come from the data management team. After creating the displays, start writing the reports
12.30pm: Lunch
1.30pm: Send the reports to a senior
5pm: Leave for the day

The payoff
At the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, the highest pay package is more than R10 lakh per annum

Skills/TRAITS
* Good background in maths
* Strong analytical aptitude 
* Infotech skills

Getting there
Study maths in Class 12. Opt for a bachelor’s in statistics. A postgraduate degree in statistics helps in professional growth. The Union Public Service Commission conducts a recruitment exam for the Indian Statistical Service. This exam is open only to postgraduates in stats and allied disciplines

Institutes and URLs
* University of Delhi, www.du.ac.in
* Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata  www.isical.ac.in
* Indian Institutes of Technology, Kanpur and Mumbai, www.iitk.ac.in, www.iitb.ac.in

Pros and cons
* Intellectually stimulating work
* You have to keep learning

Statistics is increasingly being seen as a hallmark of good governance and an essential component of effective decision making. It has ample career opportunities... -- Rakesh Kumar, joint director, National Academy of Statistical Administration, Noida


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