There is no substitute for knowledge.
—W. Edwards Deming
We stress throughout this book that successful statisticians require competencies that stretch far beyond technical knowledge of statistics. That, however, in no way detracts from the need for them to have sound in-depth understanding of their subject. Competence in statistics is, after all, the key added value that statisticians provide.
Our nonstatistical colleagues, as a consequence of the democratization of statistics, have become increasingly familiar with statistical concepts and methods, and are building self-confidence in performing their own statistical analyses. When they turn to professional statisticians, they expect them to be more knowledgeable than ever.
You need to plan in advance to ensure that you acquire the right education so that—when the time comes—you will be in a position to put together an attractive résumé and embark on a rewarding career. Needless to say, this calls for such basics as working hard and striving to get top grades. But it also requires you to make good decisions on a variety of matters—such as selecting the courses that are best for you, building evidence that you possess broad personal and leadership skills, and, if possible, gaining relevant job experience.
In this chapter, we provide guidance to help you acquire the educational foundation that best meets your needs for a successful career in statistics. We consider