We begin this introductory chapter with a brief examination of what is statistics, who is a statistician, and who employs statisticians. We then comment on the statistical thought process and what makes it special, the many skills required to be a successful statistician, and the role of statistics beyond the workplace. We provide “equal time” to presenting some downsides of a career in statistics and counter this with a brief summary of the excitement of such a career. We then indicate some alternative paths for embarking on a career in statistics, comment on ongoing efforts for accreditation, and review professional societies for statisticians. We conclude the chapter with a preview of what is to follow.
The rational basis for change is data. Data means statistical methods.
Some informal definitions of statistics, provided by various well-known statisticians, are
We prefer the preceding over the more formal definitions found online,1 such as statistics is “the science that deals with the collection, classification, analysis, and interpretation ...