Biotech In-Demand Jobs: Statisticians and Mathematicians

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As the first part of a six-part series describing the hottest careers in the biopharma industry, we discussed the rewarding career of genetic counselor. Now, let’s take a look at the high in demand biopharma careers of biostatistician and biometrician.

Biostatistician

Combining biological research and statistical analysis, a pharma biostatistician assists in the development of new drugs. Typically employed by pharmaceutical companies, biostatisticians work on a team of researchers, which means the highly coveted professionals need to possess outstanding interpersonal skills.

Here is an overview of a biostatistician career:

Minimum Education Requirement: Master’s degree

Median Annual Salary (2018): $87,780

Expected Job Growth until 2028: 31%

There is a direct connection between years of experience and the median annual income of a biostatistician.

Job Description of a Biostatistician

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Biostatisticians work closely with chemists, biologists, physicians, and government regulators by providing statistical modeling that depends mostly on the use of computer databases. The primary objective of a biostatistician is to ensure a pharmaceutical company spends time and money on the research and production of a drug in the most efficient manner. This career must adhere to the regulations placed on drug research by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Using statistical modeling, biostatisticians calculate the accurate size and duration for testing each drug that begins in a drug manufacturer’s pipeline. Statistical software helps complete tests that include logistic regressions, binomial comparisons, and longitudinal analysis. After conducting statistical research, biostatisticians must then interpret the results before presenting detailed reports to the FDA and the company that requested the statistical analysis.

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Compensation and Job Growth

With the latest salary figures coming out in 2018, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average yearly salary of $92,600. Biostatisticians employed by drug companies can expect to earn a higher annual salary of nearly $113,000. The median salary for this profession is lower than the average salary. With a projected growth rate of 31%, a career as a biostatistician is expected to grow much more than most other types of careers.

Biometrician

Biometricians take statistical analysis to the next level by incorporating advanced applied mathematical principles to consult with organizations in regards to health care and life sciences issues. The use of advanced applied mathematics allows biometricians to discover the risk factors for a large number of illnesses and diseases. Biometricians are also asked to explain difficult to understand health-related topics, as well as describe the scientific principles implemented to reach a wide variety of conclusions.

Here is an overview of a biometrician career:

Minimum Education Requirement: Master’s degree

Median Annual Salary: $72,610

Expected Job Growth until 2018: 13%

Job Description of a Biometrician

Many biometricians collaborate with other science and health care professionals by conducting clinical trials that test the efficacy of the drugs planned to be released for general public treatment regimens. Because of the requirement to explain clinical drug trials, biometricians must be able to communicate effectively with government regulators, as well as the pharma companies that utilize their professional skills.

Biometricians are involved at the start of a clinical trial with determining the type of statistical and mathematical methods that will be used to deliver accurate testing data. The key is to deliver bias-free clinical trials that do not skew testing results. Additional duties for a biometrician include developing RAPs and choosing the correct software to use for storing clinical trial data.

Compensation and Job Growth

Although the mean wage for a biometrician is $76,070, professionals in this field that perform scientific research and development can expect to earn more than the mean wage. Compensation can vary for biometricians working on the same clinical trial because of experience and the degree of responsibility assumed during the same clinical trial. With more than 10 years of experience in a biometrician job that demands a high degree of responsibility, annual compensation can exceed $120,000. The BLS predicts job growth for biometricians should increase by 13% until 2028.

Crucial Skills for Mathematicians and Statisticians

Despite the perception that biostatisticians and biometricians must master the complexity of advanced statistical modeling and applied mathematics principles, the two careers also require the use of several interpersonal skills. Yes, biostatisticians and biometricians use complex mathematical models and techniques to analyze huge amounts of raw data. The two careers also require razor sharp communication, teamwork, and persuasion skills.

Communication

Both careers require efficient communication skills to explain highly complex technical topics. Short, concise sentences in both oral and written form must convey the primary conclusion of a clinical trial. Biostatisticians and biometricians that get bog down in highly technical explanations of difficult topics can find themselves having trouble communicating with both government regulators and pharm company executives.

Teamwork

Let’s clear up one major misconception of both careers: Biometricians and biostatisticians are not loners that lock themselves into a laboratory to perform detailed research. Both pharma professionals can expect to work closely with a wide variety of other biopharma professionals. Playing well with others is an essential part of a biostatistician and biometrician job description.

Persuasion

Communication is one thing; getting other professionals in the biopharma industry to see things your way is quite another thing. Biometricians and biostatisticians must be able to convince other professionals in the biopharma industry to sign off on clinical trial conclusions for drugs tested in the manufacturing pipeline.

What was once two careers solely dependent on the ability to crunch numbers has morphed into two careers that require a complete set of interpersonal skills as well.

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