Career Progression

If you’ve already made the choice to work as a statistician or statistical programmer within medical research, then you might be wondering what career paths will be open to you in the future. The area of medical research offers excellent career progression due to the wide range of routes that you can take; you could choose to focus on your technical skills and become a methodology expert for example, or you may prefer to develop your soft skills and become a manager.

The list below has been included to give you an idea of some of the routes you can take once you’re working within medical research. The information is intended to be a guide only, and will vary from company to company. We couldn’t include all roles as there are so many possibilities – but here are a few good examples. Click on each role for an in-depth profile, written by someone within the industry.


Biostatistician / Statistical programmer


Experience level:

0 - 3 years

Key responsibilities: 

  • Programming/QCing outputs, drafting statistical analysis plans including dataset specifications and output shells.
  • Could specialise in non-clinical or clinical development, or early or late phase of development.

Senior biostatistician / Senior statistical programmer


Experience level:

2 - 5 years

Key responsibilities: 

  • Lead role on projects, communication with client, medics, project leads, etc., review clinical study reports and publications.
  • Could specialise in particular therapeutic areas, or statistical methodologies.

Principal biostatistician / Principal statistical programmer


Experience level:

5 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Oversight role on projects, supporting more junior staff, reviewing work prepared by others, budgeting and resource management.
  • Could be the compound or account lead for a set of trials.

Specialist


Experience level:

Varies

Examples: 

  • Real world evidence or epidemiology, pharmacometrics, health economics

Freelance / Contract statistician


Experience level:

5 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Depending on experience level, contractors may be hired to offer specialist support on particular tasks (e.g. submissions) or projects, or may be hired to share the workload during busy spells.
  • Work on short to medium-term temporary contracts.

Expert


Experience level:

8 years +

Examples: 

  • Expert in statistical methodologies, therapeutic areas or tasks (e.g. submissions). Statistical programmers may be experts in creating business solutions tools (e.g. standardisation tools). 

Team Manager


Experience level:

8 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Supporting induction of new starters, and training/progressing existing staff, resource management, performance management, project oversight, process review and improvement.

Director


Experience level:

15 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Strategic leadership within a department and across departments, process review and improvement, business management and performance.

Consultant


Experience level:

10 years +

Examples: 

  • Self-employed experts who can offer advice and support to clients.

EventsFuture Events


  • A PSI Training Course on Improving Influence and Increasing Impact: Communication Skills for Industry Statisticians - Dates: 16 – 16 Sep, 2019

    This 1-day course will lead participants, in a non-threatening and encouraging atmosphere through steps to focus on improving the key skills of making impactful verbal and written communications.
  • PSI Webinar: Adaptive design: updated draft FDA guidance and its implications - Dates: 04 – 04 Jul, 2019

    In September 2018 the FDA published a guidance on adaptive design for clinical trials of drugs and biologics, updating (not finalizing) its initial draft from February 2010. The main focus of the webinar will be to provide an overview of its main contents, which will be presented by Jürgen Hummel (PPD). In addition, Kaspar Rufibach (Roche) will introduce an open-source statistical software for adaptive designs, RPACT (an R package that enables the design and analysis of confirmatory adaptive clinical trials). Kit Roes will also comment on the guidance from a European Regulatory perspective, which will be followed by a brief panel discussion.
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Statistics and Statistical Programming Opportunities at MSD

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Statistics at Costello Medical

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Pharm Research Associates

Principal Biostatistician

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Autolus Therapeutics

Head of Statistical and Data Innovation as Head of Biometrics

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Statistician Opportunities in the UK

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