Tag Archives: Human side of statistics

Why secondary data analysis takes a lot longer

Someone posted a question noting that most of the statistical consulting projects that they worked on finished in a reasonable time frame, a few were outliers. They took a lot longer and required a lot more effort by the statisticians. Were there any common features to these outliers they wondered. So they asked if anyone else had identified methodological features of projects that went overtime. I only had a subjective impression, but thought it was still worth sharing. Continue reading

Recommended: Practical advice for analysis of large, complex data sets

This is a nice compilation of issues that you should be concerned. The examples are mostly from things that interest Google, but you will find this advice itself is useful no matter what type of data you work with. The advice is split into three broad categories: technical (e.g., look at your distributions), process (e.g., separate validation, description, and evaluation), and communication (e.g., data analysis starts with questions, not data or a technique). Continue reading

PMean: Independent consulting and the cold call

There’s been some more discussion about getting started as an independent statistical consultant. One person is ready to hang their shingle and proposes to “find a niche I can serve, contact companies in that niche, etc.” but didn’t know what that niche might be. I had one cautionary comment and then discussed finding your niche. Continue reading

PMean: What do you hate most about independent consulting

Someone on the Statistical Consulting forum mentioned that she is going to become an independent consultant when she graduates and wanted to find out from people who are currently in that position what the one thing is that they hate most. This email drew a lot of responses including several people who cautioned this women about the difficulties for a young person to become an independent consultant. Here are the thoughts I shared on the thing I hate most and what the issues are with embarking out on your own as an independent consulting early in your career. Continue reading

PMean: Never consult by email if you can help it

Consulting is always a back and forth process and often you will find yourself re-working things because of communication problems. That’s okay, but keep in mind that communication problems are even worse when they are done solely through email. Sometimes you have to consult this way, but it greatly increases the amount of rework needed. Here’s an example. Continue reading

Recommended: Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center job opening for a GS-14 Statistician

I get a lot of emails mentioning job openings and I normally delete them unread. This one caught my eye, not because I wanted to apply for it, but because it illustrates how statisticians get to work on very interesting jobs. This is a Senior Statistician job at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. If you got this job, you’d be providing assistance on “a wide range of biomedical and technical areas in support of space exploration.” How cool is that!

The other interesting thing is that they say that “accreditation by the American Statistical Association is highly desired.” I’m not accredited by the ASA and don’t plan on it anytime soon, but if you want to be the Buck Rogers of Statistics, maybe you should. Continue reading

PMean: What problems does introversion cause for a statistical consultant?

Someone posed an interesting question on the Statistics Consulting message board of the American Statistical Association. To paraphrase, her question was what sort of difficulties would an introvert have in statistical consulting and how do you teach those introverted consultants to overcome those problems. Here’s what I wrote. Continue reading