Career path to date:
After completing my BSc in Mathematics, I worked for a CRO while completing my part-time MSc in Statistics. I was able to train on-the-job as a statistician, whilst studying in my own time. As I gained experience, I took on the role of a lead statistician on trials which involved being the main client contact and organising a team to ensure that high-quality deliverables went out on time. After 5 years, I moved to a pharmaceutical company and saw the other side of the industry. I had the chance to work more closely with medics and follow a drug through each phase of development; from first-in-man through to regulatory submission. I enjoyed being involved in the planning and decision-making that I hadn’t previously seen, and gained experience of regulatory interactions. After another 6 years, I went back to the CRO world and become a manager within a statistics group.
A typical day at work:
In my current role, I manage career-young statisticians and statistical programmers who have been in the industry less than 3 to 4 years. I spend time supporting them through new tasks, reviewing their work and providing feedback. The aim is for them to learn and develop so that they can become statistical leads and mentor others. To help them reach this point, we run induction sessions when they first start which covers everything from good programming practice, to quality control exercises. We’re also in the process of developing a global mentoring program to ensure that career-young statisticians and statistical programmers within the company are offered the same training and support, regardless of geographical location.
Some of my spend time is also spent completing senior reviews of project work before it’s delivered to a client. For example, I’ll review a set of outputs from an outsider’s perspective; checking for accuracy, clarity, and consistency across outputs, whilst also considering the bigger picture. Will the client understand these results and do they have everything they need to make decisions on the future of the compound?
Another piece that I’m working on at the moment is some early engagement work with a client. The client is exploring a new development program, and has asked for some general advice and brain-storming sessions to support their decision-making.
The best part of the role:
I really enjoy being able to use a mix of technical and soft skills in this role. I enjoy training and developing career-young staff, and seeing them grow in confidence and ability. By working closely with them from the beginning, I can try to instil a methodical and organised way of working which I think is key to being successful as a statistician or statistical programmer within this industry.