Let’s face it, the Life Science sector has a wide range of routes you can go down. So, the next question is: which route is the best one for me?
Have you considered biostatistics? If you’re a fan of mathematics, statistics and data, then this could be the route for you to take.
So, what does a Biostatistician do?
A biostatistician is responsible for the collection and analysis of biological or health data using statistical methods. They may also design studies, decide which data to collect, analyse data from medical experiments, interpret the results of the analysis, and work together in writing articles to communicate research results. In their daily work, they use quantitative tools of mathematics, statistics and computing.
In addition to collecting and analysing the results, some may be present during the execution of a study to ensure that the integrity of the results is not compromised by monitoring how they are conducted.
Getting into the world of biostatistics will take a lot of study and hard work. The first step is to get yourself a bachelor’s degree in either statistics, mathematics, data analytics, regression analysis, statistical computing, epidemiology, biology or chemistry, this will give you the foundations to kick start your career. There will also be the opportunity to go to take a master’s degree in Biostatistics or Bioinformatics once your bachelor’s degree is completed. Some employers may have this as a requirement for their position.
Once you have completed your degree(s) and the necessary education, an internship can be a great way to gain valuable experience that can help you work within this field. Not only will you get the hands-on experience of working on the job, but you will also show potential future employers that you have a genuine interest in the specialism. Where is the best place to look for internships? A research institute or pharmaceutical company are great places to look for an internship if you are interested in a career in biostatistics.
If you have decided not to go down the internship route and you have completed your education it is time to start applying for positions. Consider looking into entry-level opportunities in research labs, pharmaceutical companies and other clinical settings. You have two options: either apply for a junior biostatistician position or gain relevant experience by working as a research assistant or clinical laboratory technician.
Are there any other relevant skills required to be a biostatistician? Yes, as well as the technical skills and qualifications, a biostatistician will also require additional skills to carry out their work:
- Communication skills – you will be presenting your findings and must be able to articulate them in a clear and concise manner.
- Teamwork skills – there will be a lot of collaboration with other researchers and scientists involved.
- Time management & prioritisation skills – strict deadlines must be adhered to.
- Computer science skills – you will work a lot with complex databases and data analysis programmes.
- Writing skills – as well as presenting your findings vocally, you will need to produce research proposals and reports.
Career progression – for an experienced biostatistician there are many options to progress in your career. Working with in the development for the pharmaceutical industry, you can gain knowledge within product development and connected regulatory and strategic matters. With this experience you can progress into a lead position for specific drug or treatment development. If you choose to work within clinical research, there are more opportunities to engage in project management. This avenue involves managing the budget and timelines for biostatistics tasks, there is also the chance to get involved in business development.
Experienced biostatisticians can be engaged in training more junior professionals in both forms of organisations. Working in biostatistics also offers the opportunity to get involved in teaching more formally, particularly when you work at a university. There are also opportunities to work with enhancing methods and decision-making for certain projects. There may also be more chances to present research results outside, for example at scientific conferences or meetings.
So, there you have it. Is Biostatistics something you can see yourself progressing a career in? Contact one of our team at Focus On LifeScience today to find out more about the opportunities we currently have to offer.