Who's a Biostatistician?
Do you enjoy solving difficult mathematical problems? Or are you curious about treatments for various real-world issues? If so, you should think about becoming a biostatistician.
As a biostatistician, you will combine the best of maths and biology to solve a problem in medicine, public health, agriculture, and other health-related fields. You will be a highly trained expert who studies factors that affect people’s, plants’, and animals’ health and well-being in order to draw conclusions about various diseases and health risks. You will also use your skills to decode and interpret meaningful information from data to perform a particular task.
Curious to know how they do this? Browse through the biostatisticians’s section to know more!
What will you do?
Analysing clinical, genetic, or survey data using statistical methods.
As a biostatistician, you will be responsible to gather piles of data from medical researchers and biological scientists, and process it in order to obtain meaningful information about a disease. Your interpretation of data will be used to formulate new treatments or diagnostic procedures, as well as uncover previously unknown facts about it.
Example: You will be required to determine the growth rate of Alzheimer’s disease and assist scientists in measuring the effectiveness of a drug designed for the condition.
Designing surveys to assess health issues.
As a biostatistician, you will be required by governments and healthcare organisations to design large amounts of statistical data on various diseases, conditions, and disorders. You will be in charge of leading the scientific survey that gathers this data.
Example: Statistics like “40% of cancers detected in the U.S. have a link to tobacco use” are designed and analysed by biostatisticians.
Developing mathematical models to track epidemics and pandemics.
If there is a flu outbreak, you will be responsible to keep a track of it. Moreover, you will develop a database or a software that uses algorithms to determine whether a particular disease outbreak is an epidemic/pandemic.
For instance, a disease is spreading quickly and pushing the toll to hundreds. In this case, you will help scientists and other professionals to counter it.
Designing or maintaining biological or pharmaceutical databases.
As an employee in a scientific organisation, your role will involve developing, repairing, and safeguarding large databases that contain sensitive information about diseases, drugs, drug designs, and chemicals.
Example: You’ll create a database that includes information about a drug’s safety, as well as its side effects, reactions, and effectiveness.
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Where will you work?
As a biostatistician, you will spend most of your day working from the comfort of your office. You will be required to work in healthcare companies, government-funded research labs, private or public universities, etc. Regardless of the work setting, you will work for a fixed day-time schedule, so you won’t have to worry about long or irregular working hours.
You will occasionally work in laboratories as you will be required to collaborate with a team of scientists and researchers on various projects. However, working in a lab is pretty common for Biostatisticians in the field of education and agriculture. Here, you will be working according to the shift timings provided by the organisation you’re working in. In case of a deadline, you may have to work for long hours.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
As a marketer, you will work on different platforms to communicate with people. If you don’t understand how they work, you won’t be able to come up with the best strategy. You will also use various kinds of software like Google Adwords, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, etc., during your promotions. You need to know how they work, and how to use them to your advantage.build this skill
A logical mind can reason well, and reasoning before reaching any conclusions is very important in any scientific field. You must, therefore, have a scientific bent of mind along with an interest in life sciences.build this skill
Marketing strategies involve a lot of trial and error. You will come up with a lot of ideas that sound great on paper. When you analyse them, you might learn that they can’t be executed as per the budget. You should be able to look at an idea practically and see if it will serve its purpose.build this skill
Patients will be coming to you with different issues with fertility. You must be able to assess their problem, analyse the reason and work on coming up with a solution.build this skill
Communication and interpersonal skills are very important while dealing with patients. You will have to guide certain people about a procedure or treatment. You may need to provide them with some serious information about their fertility and treatment progress. Hence these issues would need to be handled sensitively.build this skill
How do you make it to the top ranks?
You can work under the supervision of a reputed biostatistician in an organisation to strengthen your abilities for a successful career in the field.
You will start your career as a junior or assistant biostatistician after obtaining the necessary qualifications in the field of biostatistics. Your major role as a Junior Biostatistician will be to conduct research and report to your seniors.
After attaining the necessary knowledge as a junior in the field, you will secure the position of a research biostatistician. As a research biostatistician, you’ll be responsible for doing research, analysing the study data, reporting to the senior biostatistician and supervising the junior scientists.
After adequate years of experience, you could get promoted to the position of a senior biostatistician. As a senior biostatistician, you’ll have more duties, such as managing multiple ongoing research studies and projects, monitoring your team’s performance and supervising your team members.
Pursuing your career locally VS abroad
The colleges in India that offer education in Biostatistics are located in almost every state. You can pursue a M.Sc in Biostatistics from top colleges/universities like Indian Statistical Institute (New Delhi), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi), Loyola College (Chennai), Manipal University (Karnataka), IIT (Kanpur), Symbiosis Statistical Institute (Pune), among other institutes that offer undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in Biostatistics. Fee ranges from INR 20,000 to INR 3 Lakhs.
You can pursue a degree in Biostatistics from top universities like Stanford University (United States), Yale University (United States), Harvard University (United States), University of Oxford (United Kingdom), University of Michigan (United States), University of Toronto (Canada), Duke University (United States), among others, who offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biostatistics. Fee ranges from USD 10,000 to USD 45,000.
How much would you get paid?
As a Biostatistician, your salary broadly depends on the area of your employment, the organisation you’re working with and your experience in the field.The annual payscale for this job ranges from INR 3,00,000 for an entry level Biostatistician to INR 15,00,000 and above for an experienced Biostatistician.
What are your career options?
Biostatistician in Healthcare
As a biostatistician, you can specialise in the field of healthcare to help the medical research industry to protect or improve public health at both small and large scales. For instance, you will design, manage and analyse trials for diseases to help identify their causes and characteristics. This will help develop public health initiatives and public policies.
Biostatistician in Environmental Health
The environment is complex. As a result, a biostatistician is required to carefully apply statistical theory to the research environment and its organisms to help make our world a safer place. As a biostatistician specialising in environmental health, you must possess excellent knowledge of ecology.
Biostatistician in Genetics
Biostatisticians working in the field of genetics play an important role in the final integration of the research data. They also develop statistical methods to analyse the basis of human genetics to better understand various diseases and traits. As a biostatistician working in the field of genetics, you must have a good grasp of genomic science.
Epidemiology is the study of health-related states or problems in specified populations. As an epidemiologist, you will specialise in the field of Epidemiology to draw mathematical conclusions about population health issues. You will also investigate the nature and history of a disease or disorder in populations.
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