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What Does a Statistical Programmer Do?

By Jay Leone
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Statistical programmers work with statistics, which are the numbers that researchers and scientists gather by analyzing large pools of numerical data. They gather statistics and integrate them into user-friendly computer programs for people and businesses. There are many different types of statistical programmers and their job descriptions can vary widely between industries. Many people who hold statistical programmer positions possess statistics degrees or other degrees in related fields.

These programmers are in charge of designing computer programs geared towards better organizing a body of information. More importantly, a statistical programmer must create programs that meet all the needs of the client. Most often, statistical programmers work from information databases in an office-type setting. Examples of a database of information include catalogs of insurance claims, hospital databases, national surveys, and clinical medication trials.

To ensure that the final product works properly, these programmers run a full battery of testing and make the necessary adjustments on any programs created before presenting them to the client. Several tests are performed by the programmer at different stages of development to check for performance issues and other problems. Testing helps eliminate glitches and prevents programs from crashing in the future.

These programmers monitor productivity to ensure that programming complies with the government standards and the standards of the client. They can evaluate programming processes and suggest revisions geared toward increasing productivity. Writing programming instruction manuals and outlining standard operating procedures may also be tasks designated to statistical programmers. In certain cases, these programmers are employed to help train and manage a staff of programmers.

Statistical programmers must be very computer savvy. They must know how to properly write the coding needed to create computer programs for clients. Also, they should be familiar with most of the computer programs currently in use by people and businesses. Many programmers develop statistical programs that are accessible through the Internet. Writing Internet-based coding can be very different than writing coding for other types of programs.

A health care statistical programmer may be in charge of analyzing clinical data to identify certain trends. They may also design processing, receiving, and tracking data forms for hospitals or other health care centers. A senior statistical programmer may be in charge of all programming operations, which may include managing an entire staff of programmers. These senior-level positions are traditionally reserved for individuals who have an extensive background in the clinical statistical programming industry.

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