Mathematician & Statistician
Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. Typically, they work with individuals in other occupations to solve these problems. For example, they may work with chemists, materials scientists, and chemical engineers to analyze the effectiveness of new drugs. Others may work with industrial designers to study the aerodynamic characteristics of new automobiles. Statisticians design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls to collect the data they need. After the data are collected, statisticians use specialized statistical software to analyze data. In their analyses, statisticians identify trends and relationships within the data. They also conduct tests to determine the data’s validity and to account for high survey nonresponse rates or sampling error. Some may help create new software to analyze data more accurately and efficiently. Mathematicians and statisticians present the findings from their analyses and discuss the data’s limitations to prevent inaccurate conclusions from being drawn. They may present written reports, tables, charts, and graphs to other team members and to clients.
Mathematicians and statisticians work in many fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, or any other field that requires the collection and analysis of data. In particular, government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ many statisticians. The mathematician occupation is a relatively small one, and many people with a degree in mathematics or who develop mathematical theories and models may not be formally known as mathematicians. Instead, they work in related fields and professions. In the computer systems design and related services industries, for example, they may be known as computer programmers or systems analysts. In finance, they may be known as quantitative analysts. Other industries may refer to them as data scientists or data analysts. Computer and information research scientists, physicists and astronomers, economists, actuaries, operations research analysts, engineers, and many other occupations also use mathematics extensively. Many people with a Ph.D. in mathematics, particularly theoretical mathematics, work as postsecondary teachers in education institutions.
Mathematicians and statisticians need geographic skills. Often, the statistical or mathematical analyses involve data that is collected and varies by location, and they will likely use geographic information systems (GIS), modeling software, and other computer programs to understand it. Geographic information science is a multi-disciplinary field that integrates geography with mathematical and statistical analyses and data science.
Geographers at work: Geographic information scientists, statistical geographers
Recommended College Courses: Geographic information science, spatial statistics, spatial analysis, agent-based modeling, human geography, physical geography
Skills: Geographic information systems, spatial analysis and statistics, map reading and interpretation
Occupation Group: Math
Learn more about Mathematicians and Statisticians from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson