As I get closer to graduating in December, I’ve been thinking about why I got into this program in the first place and what I’ve learned since then. I was wanting to report more accurate numbers on participation of our students in activities and trying to better understand the relationships between the areas of our office (events and student groups). I took a dip in and was able to do some analysis of the data I was collecting at work; I was hooked.
I learned about the basic tests that you might pick up in an undergrad program like t tests and anova. Then we got into multivariate analysis like hierarchical clustering, then time series analysis then non parametric analysis. I even did a project that lasted about a year on multivariate analysis using bootstrapping on oceanographic data.
It’s been a long strange journey, but I have realized a few things over that time:
- I still really get a kick out of working with data and have discovered an interest in coding programs.
- When you study a discipline like statistics, there almost seems to be an infinite depth at which you can engage. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. This discipline is an exciting challenge.
- Patience and persistence can enable you to accomplish almost anything.
- A lot of data analysis and statistics is actually cleaning the data not analyzing. The analysis, in comparison, at least time wise, is minimal if you know how to use a few programs like R and SAS. I spent a great many hours fighting R and SAS to get to the point where I’m certified in SAS and able to diagnose problems in R.
- One thing that hasn’t changed since I started the program is that I still have the same passion for collecting and analyzing data to make better decisions. I think any organization needs to be working in this way and needs people with these skills, particularly now that gathering, storing and analyzing this data has become so much easier.
I’m so excited for this next step on my journey and am thankful to those, particularly my wonderful wife, that made it possible.