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What Does a Biostatistician Do?

What Does a Biostatistician Do?


What Does a Biostatistician Do? The Job of a Biostatistician
Last Updated: 26-Oct-2015

What is the Job of a Biostatistician?
A Biostatistician must have a strong grasp of computing and mathematics and be capable of making logical decisions and deductions because their job is to combine math, statistics and science to provide relevant data monitoring for disease trends, preventive medicine, experimental treatments and many others. Biostatisticians must also be skilled interpreters because they must offer advice to clients or colleagues based on their data analysis.

Job Responsibilities of a Biostatistician:

  • Works with project team to decide on the appropriate study design and statistical methodology for routine designs
  • Assists in the implementation of protocol methodology and statistical analysis plans
  • Is responsible for assuring that data for statistical analyses are accurate
  • Is responsible for the accuracy of reports text and consistency between summary tables in the body of a report and the corresponding statistical tables and listings
  • Assists in the development of alternative analysis strategies when changes to planned analyses are needed
  • Provides accurate answers to routine questions from clients
  • Must be capable to clearly communicate basic statistical concepts to scientists and non-scientists and must mentor non-statistical peers with regard to basic statistical methodology
  • Collaborates with peers to develop quality protocols and reports per agreed timelines as well as assists in the development of the Statistical Methods section

Qualifications/Experience Needed to Start a Career as a Biostatistician

  • A bachelor’s degree in statistics, mathematics or other relevant field (with high statistic content) is enough to get you started but more advanced jobs will require a Master’s degree or a Doctorate’s degree in statistics (and having it is a big bonus for hiring companies)
  • Most companies require previous experience (2 years, minimum) working with a Contract Research Organisation or Pharmaceutical company
  • High degree of technical competence
  • Strong experience working with SAS
  • Sound knowledge of statistical methodology and experience in international pharmaceutical development
  • Expertise in specific statistical methodology as well as experience in regulatory interaction and negotiations, represents an advantage
  • Ability to be flexible and positive in order to work well in a cross functional team
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Career Progression for a Biostatistician
Biostatisticians must have a solid learning background in order to be good at their jobs. They require a statistical way of thinking that can only be developed through learning and by practice. A good Biostatistician will have solid knowledge of everything statistics can do for the project at hand and will know how to communicate with non-statisticians in order for them to gather data that will yield both the fastest and the best results. With enough experience and a good working record, Biostatisticians can obtain senior positions and can become a very important part of the clinical research mechanism.

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