Data geeks, rejoice! There has never been a better time to be a statistician.
Consider the 10 jobs that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects to grow fastest from 2016 to 2026, shown in the chart below. This is based on a recently released report and only includes jobs that more than 20,000 people currently perform. For context, jobs overall are projected to grow by only 7.4% over this time period.
Two of these things are not like the others. Of the 10 jobs the BLS expects to grow the fastest in the next decade, only statistician and software application developer are not in the healthcare/elder-care industry.
The BLS estimates that jobs for statisticians will jump by 33.4%, from 33,000 in 2016 to 49,000 in 2026. That would make it the fifth-fastest growing job over the next decade, and the most rapidly growing profession that is not related to the aging of the US population. If the BLS is right, the US economy will create more statistician jobs over the next decade than new jobs in much more common fields like bakers, flight attendants, and—eek—writers/authors. Yet this rate of growth would actually be a downgrade from the previous decade, when statistician jobs grew by about 70%.
The rise is a result of the increasing availability of data—all those numbers don’t crunch themselves. Thanks to the internet and ever-increasing computing power, every year the world produces more data that can mined for business and scientific insights. Research firm IDC projects that by 2025, the amount of data created each year will be 10 times greater than it was in 2016 (pdf). As a result, LinkedIn lists “statistical analysis and data mining” as the second-most important skill companies are looking for in 2018.
Another occupation dealing with data—”Computer and information research scientist”—is expected to be one of the fastest growing in the coming decade, expanding by almost 20%. Statisticians and computer and informational research scientists make up a large share people who do the computational work often called “data science.”
The median statistician made more than $80,000 a year in 2016, and students are noticing. The number of undergraduates in the US majoring in statistics grew by 19% from 2015 to 2016, yet the American Statistical Association says that will probably still not be enough to meet demand from employers.