Sunday, 2 February 2014

The “sexiest job of the 21st century”

Probability lies at the foundations of statistics. In today's Sunday Times (2 February, 2014) there is an article entitled "Mystic Nate Silver bets on making statistics 100% sexy". Here are a few quotes from it
    NATE SILVER, an American mathematician who predicts elections and sport results with uncanny accuracy, is poised to do what fellow number-crunchers would have thought 101% impossible: make the application of statistics “cool”.

    Silver, who made his name by predicting the precise results of both of Barack Obama’s presidential wins, is turning his FiveThirtyEight blog into a fully fledged online magazine this month with backing from two of America’s biggest broadcasters.

    The Harvard Business Review recently described data scientists as having the “sexiest job of the 21st century” — not bad for a subject once derided as a profession for people without the personality to become accountants. “Their sudden appearance on the business scene reflects the fact that companies are now wrestling with information that comes in varieties and volumes never encountered before,” it said.

    The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a 14% surge in demand for statisticians over the next eight years.

    The starting salary for a graduate statistician at Google is $125,000. Hal Varian, the internet giant’s chief economist, said: “I keep saying the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would have thought computer engineering would have been the sexy job of the 1990s?”

    John Harlow, Los Angeles, Published: 2 February 2014