Forget the nerdy image: In today’s digital world, statisticians are hot, the New York Times reports. Big firms like Google need number-crunchers to parse piles of data, and they’re willing to pay for it—a statistician with a PhD can rake in $125,000 in his or her first year on the job. “I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians,” says Google’s chief economist.
With the Web turning everything from presidential campaign chatter to public records into data, notes a computer scientist, “we’re rapidly entering a world where everything can be monitored and measured,” says an economist. “But the big problem is going to be the ability of humans to use, analyze and make sense of the data.” That’s where statisticians—and their robust computers and mathematical models—come in, in an attempt to understand and improve everything from online advertising to food shipments.