Statisticians and statistical programmers generally start their careers working as parts of teams under more experienced statisticians but they soon take on key roles within important cross-functional project teams themselves:
- line management responsibility including developing more junior staff
- technical expert role, developing new approaches/thinking in key areas
- responsibility for a critically important business programme
These career paths are not mutually exclusive and senior level appointments would be expected to have experience in the range of these activities.
Progression is dependent upon the capabilities and impact demonstrated by the individual. A talented individual who is able to effectively utilise their skills may expect to rapidly increase the levels of responsibilities that they assume.
Companies have different career structures. These can allow you to further your career through higher-level statistical work or through management assignments. (Indeed, some pharmaceutical statisticians become very senior general managers of their companies.
Many companies are international, so there are opportunities for temporary or permanent employment abroad.
Some statisticians have also found that a background in statistics is an ideal background to develop their career in other areas, e.g. project management or regulatory affairs. An advantage of the large size of pharmaceutical companies is the increased opportunity to make this type of career development.