The New York Times has an article today about the emergence of Statistics as a discipline at the forefront of today's data-laden world. The article details how statisticians are in hot demand at companies like Google, Netflix and IBM, and claims that statisticians can earn $125,000 at top companies after completing a PhD. The reason:
In field after field, computing and the Web are creating new realms of data to explore — sensor signals, surveillance tapes, social network chatter, public records and more. And the digital data surge only promises to accelerate, rising fivefold by 2012, according to a projection by IDC, a research firm.
I've long lamented that statisticians lack a hero to make the field seem exciting -- Indiana Jones made archaeologists into action heroes, for Pete's sake! -- but the role of statistician seems to have progressed beyond "nerdish wonk" even if it isn't quite yet to rock-star status. In the article, Hal Varian of Google reprises his now-famous quote, "The sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians”. Statistical analysis is even recognized as game-changing at the highest levels of power: the article points to a speech by Peter Orzag, Federal budget director, on using Statistics to drive sound policy. How many other stats wonks have been guests on The Daily Show, anyway? It may not quite be Indiana Jones, but it's a welcome sign.
New York Times: For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics (with thanks to reader US for the tip)