Employment Opportunities, Advice the Focus of NISS Career Fair Series

Glenn Johnson, Christy Chuang-Stein, and James Rosenberger

Looking for advice about best advancing a statistics career? What types of job opportunities exist for statisticians/data scientists/analysts in various organizations? What are the skills and experiences that would best prepare someone who is about to begin a career as a statistician or data scientist? What are the current hiring prospects?

What better way to answer these questions than gather veteran statisticians who are willing to share their personal experiences? Over the past several months, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) has been doing just that. These experienced senior statisticians who represent a variety of research, business, health care, government, and other sectors have answered the questions above in a series of virtual career fairs that were recorded and are now available to the public. NISS is making the recordings available to help students consider their career options and advisers guide their students. The recordings are also of value to individuals who are considering a career change across different employment sectors.

The recordings, slides, and links can be found on the NISS website.

Recent NISS Virtual Career Fairs

On September 26, 2019, NISS held its first fair, “Virtual Career Fair for NISS Affiliates,” which featured a range of businesses both large and small. Tim Hesterberg (senior statistician at Google), Dan Holder (executive director of biostatistics and research decision sciences at Merck), Yanling Zuo (lead statistical designer of Minitab Statistical Software), Fang Chen (director of the advanced statistical methods department at SAS), and Steve Cohen (vice president of statistical and data sciences at RTI International) were all speakers.

A second career fair was held December 6, 2019, titled “Opportunities in Banking & Marketing Sectors Highlighted in Virtual Career Fair.” It featured career opportunities for statisticians/data scientists/analysts in non-health care industries and was moderated by Esra Kurum (University of California, Riverside). Speakers were Victor Lo (Fidelity Investments), Daniel Tu (Citizens Bank), and Danny Jin (Epsilon). ​

“NISS Government Career Fair Outlines Opportunities for Statisticians!” took place January 8 and featured senior statisticians who talked about the unique requirements and opportunities for statisticians and data analysts within government agencies. This fair featured Wendy Martinez (director of the Mathematical Statistics Research Center, Office of Survey Methods Research, Bureau of Labor Statistics), Jonah Wong (mathematical statistician, Methodology and Standards Council, Staff Recruitment and Retention, US Census Bureau), Jeff Bailey (branch chief of the Summary, Estimation, and Disclosure Methodology Branch at the National Agricultural Statistics Service), and Nathan Cruze (mathematical statistician at the National Agricultural Statistics Service).

After comments from each of the representatives, the moderators opened the floor to address the many questions from the attendees. This gave panelists a chance to weigh in on topics such as differing challenges and support for data scientists vs. statisticians, the importance of the ability to program and communicate effectively, and the benefit of networking.

A central goal of NISS is to help connect and support statisticians. While attending the live career fairs is a benefit for NISS affiliates only, the recordings are made available to the public one month after each event.

Up Next

NISS has plans for additional career fairs. A second government career fair is in the works for late March and will possibly include representatives from the Food and Drug Administration; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Cancer Institute; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, a spring career fair to focus on positions in academia is being planned.

Representatives from traditional, biostatistics, and small liberal arts colleges are being sought to provide insight into tenure-track positions, research positions, teaching positions, and analytic positions in statistical centers that support collaborative networks.

If your institution is interested in becoming a NISS affiliate, fill out the form.