Scope in biostatistics

Q.. I have heard from my uncle that the Biostatistics is an enormous field of study, with opportunities in Genomics, Epidemiology and so on. Are there any graduate and postgraduate courses in the concerned areas? Is PhD a must in these fields? How can I start my career as biostatistician?

Angelica Joey Dey, New Chandigarh

A. Living beings are the most studied species of all times and because of this Biostatisticians are always kept on a higher pedestal. Biostatistics as a discipline is an emerging field and it involves collecting and examining data related to living things at all times. The field is also concerned with applying statistical methods and mathematical principles to analyze and evaluate research data in public health, medicine, environmental science and biology and by using statistical concepts, biostatistics interprets experimental results and collected data and then provides explanations and recommendations as a result of their research.

The skills for biostatisticians generally include analytical, mathematical, scientific, communication and management skills among others.

You will normally start with a bachelor’s degree with an aggregate of 50% is a minimum requirement for getting into this field. Generally, a bachelor’s degree in science, mathematics and statistics is preferred. Add on courses on algebra, differential calculus and linear algebra should be taken in order to increase scope.

Master’s and PhD courses are also sought after in this field.

The Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard Chan School offers an unparalleled environment to pursue research and education in statistical science while being at the forefront of efforts to benefit the health of populations worldwide.

There are certain degrees which the Biostatisticians may delve deep into according to their own interest area such as Environmental Microbiology, Forensic Anthropology and Environmental Psychology etc.

The colleges which offer this course include several top notch Colleges of University of Delhi (Ramjas, Gargi, Hansraj and Miranda etc.), Loyola College, Chennai, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Fergusson College, Pune and Manipal University

The prospects of biostatisticians are very promising because of the ever growing demand of them in the blooming pharmaceuticals industry. Biostatisticians are required to carry our research and draw conclusions based on the clinical trial data. Biostatisticians are today in great demand in both government and private sector which accrues them a decent lifestyle along with some other perks.

An experienced Biostatistician can earn anywhere between Rs 30,000- 45,000 on a monthly basis. Generally, a fresher earns less but gets to experience a lot of new things which is often helpful in their further research.

In short, it is very fulfilling field with a lot of opportunities.

Sanjay Arora is a Career Coach based at Panchkula.

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